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Madagascar - David Schwimmer talks life after Friends



Feature by: Jack Foley

IT'S been a little over a year since David Schwimmer was last there for us as one of TV's Friends (Ross Geller), but the actor is clearly enjoying life outside the sitcom.

Not only is he currently starring in the world premiere of Neil LaBute's Some Girl(s) in the West End, but he is also providing the voice for new animated hit, Madagascar, alongside the likes of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Schwimmer provides the distinctive vocals for Melman, the hypochondriac giraffe, who has to re-adjust to life in the wild following a botched escape attempt from New York's Central Park Zoo.

Madagascar is the latest film from Dreamworks Animation, the team behind past hits such as Shrek 2 and Shark Tale, and has already been a huge hit in America.

For Schwimmer, though, the part offered the opportunity to explore another medium - animation - having already enjoyed success on TV, radio, stage and film.

"It wasn’t without it’s challenges, because none of us were in the same room at the same time," he explained.

"So instead of being able to respond off another actor you had to really use your imagination - like you would as a kid, when you build a fort in the backyard or whatever.

"A lot of the work for me at least was trying to give the directors as much to choose from as possible. I would do the line 20 different ways, knowing that eventually they would cut it together depending on everyone else’s performance.

"But it was really freeing not having to worry about how you look."

Although he took his role seriously, however, Schwimmer did not feel the need to spend too much time with giraffes as part of his research for playing the role.

"I knew what giraffes were like, I’d seen a lot of them, I did a little bit more research on the web. But I didn’t make a special trip to the zoo to study them," he chuckled.

Outside of Madagascar, Schwimmer is also realising another lifelong ambition - namely appearing on the London stage.

And he is enjoying the UK lifestyle, popping out for a quick pint whenever the opportunity affords and basking in the glowing reviews he has thus far received for Some Girl(s).

"I’m having a blast," he maintained, when asked how things were going.

"The pub life here is definitely the way to go. I had a great time in a pub for seven hours one Sunday. Coldplay showed up, and bought a round for everyone. That was cool."

Indeed, such is his passion for theatre, he would even choose it as the medium to stay in if he had to choose one for the rest of his career.

Not that Schwimmer suffers from any lack of ambition, as his final answer at the press conference revealed.

"If I could only perform in one thing it would probably be live theatre.

"But I feel really fortunate that I can do all of them. I’ve done radio plays before, but to be able to do this is a different experience, just another opportunity to grow as an actor and try something I’ve never tried before.

"I hope that I’ll be able to continue doing all of those things."

Read the full interview

Madagascar: Review

Ben Stiller interview

Chris Rock interview

Some Girl(s) - David Schwimmer in the West End - review

Friends - Final season reviewed

 

 

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