Behind the Scenes of ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS: Each Time Is a Little Bit Easier for the Voice Actors

By Tom Snyder, Editor

DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS is the third ICE AGE movie made by 20th Century Fox. And, MOVIEGUIDE® got a chance to visit recently with three of the main actors in the new animated adventure comedy, Ray Romano, Queen Latifah and John Leguizamo.

Each time they do the voices for these characters, it gets easier and easier, all three actors said.

“For me this go around was a lot easier,” Queen Latifah said. “It was hard at first. Sometimes I’m coming in and my voice is kind of hoarse (from signing the night before). Ellie [her character] is sweet. She’s fun, and she’s nurturing. She grows so much between the last film and this one. She’s a little more mature. She’s always trying to push people together.”

That doesn’t mean that doing the voices was a bed of roses.

All three actors said the physical scenes were the hardest to create in the recording studio because you can’t move around a lot and make noises with your own body, or else the recording is ruined.

A laughing scene was particularly hard for him to do, said Romano, the star of TV’s EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.

“It would be great if we could move around more,” he said.

Queen Latifah, whose character is pregnant during most of the movie, said, “The most difficult thing was trying to be pregnant and in labor but hide it from these guys.”

Leguizamo said he had another problem in trying to re-create the constant goofy lisp that his character, Sid the Sloth, has.

“It’s really hard to make that voice really pop on the screen,” he said.

He joked that it’s also hard to stop doing the voice when he leaves for the day.

For the next movie, Queen Latifah said she’d like to see her character confront the teenage years of her mastodon children.

“Kids grow up so fast,” she said wistfully.

Director Carlos Saldanha defined the theme of the movie:  “No matter who you are or where you come from, you’re part of the family.”

Saldanha said the next ICE AGE movie probably would be in 3-D also. He said 3-D is “the next big thing” and “it looks like that’s the way to go.”

He added, “It was a lot of fun to pursue that technology for DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS.”

But, weren’t dinosaurs extinct by the time the Ice Age rolled around?

Saldanha admitted they took some “creative liberty,” but noted that, in their movie, the dinosaurs are part of a lost, forgotten world where the dinosaurs have become Ice Age versions of their former selves.

“Animals don’t really talk either,” Romano jokingly pointed out.

In response, Co-director Michael Thurmeier said, “The thing I liked about this movie was that it was sort of like KING KONG.”

In KING KONG, human filmmakers discover a lost world of dinosaurs along with a giant gorilla.

Saldanha said the 3-D process is done mostly after the movie is shot and edited, but that the filmmakers do have to be aware while making the movie that it is going to be in 3-D, not just 2-D.

“It’s just a new way of thinking,” Thurmeier added.

Saldanha said they did about 10 sessions with the actors, lasting about three to four hours each. Then, at the end, they did a big session to wrap everything up. Not counting some minor clean-up sessions, of course.

One of the things he enjoys most are all the discoveries that happen while the crew and the actors are modeling, testing and performing the characters in the story.

“I welcome that quite a bit,” he said.

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