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
Not only is he currently starring in the world premiere of Neil
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
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
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
Read the full interview
Ben Stiller interview
Chris Rock interview
Girl(s) - David Schwimmer in the West End - review
Friends - Final season