A/V Room









Madagascar - Jada Pinkett Smith interview

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. How did you prepare to play the hippo? Was there any special preparation required?
The great thing is that basically we’re chosen to play these particular characters because there are certain characteristics that we have, that match the characteristics of the character that we’re playing. It wasn’t difficult.

Q. Were the kids amused to see Mum as a hippo?
After seeing Dad as a fish........ anything’s possible.

Q. I guess playing a hippo at least meant that you never have a bad hair day?
I didn’t have any thoughts about the look of the character, I thought how they designed Gloria was great, she’s such a sexy, full-figured girl. With really great attitude, I’m all about attitude. I was very happy how body and attitude worked together.

Q. Did you observe animals as part of your preparation? And if you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would it be?
I’ve seen a lot of hippos, I kind of got the gist of what was needed.
And I think if I came back as an animal I’d love to be a black panther.

Q. When you saw the video of yourself doing the vocals, were you ever surprised to see how animated your vocal performances were?
I’m just very animated by nature. I didn’t have a problem, I felt like I needed as much animation coming from my hands and body as I could conjure to help me with the role. It was very challenging for me, because I’m so used to having other actors to interact with. So any tools I had, I was going to go for it. Whatever they wanted to take from that they could, but I was going to do my thing.
And that was actually an aspect I really enjoyed, because when you’re on the film when you do a live action, you really do have to be careful, being as animated. Depending on what role you’re playing. So that was actually fun to do.

Q. Do you find that your own kids are your hardest audience?
My oldest son, who will be 13 later this year, is probably the harshest critic in the house.
He saw Madagascar before I did, and he came home and said he loved it, that he wanted to screen it for his friends. That made me really excited, because it’s really hard to impress Trey, so I knew from then on that we had a hit.
Katzenberg: He was pretty tough on Will after Shark Tale.
Pinkett Smith: Trey and Jaden were. My kids, I don’t know what they’re becoming, but they’re like these experts on movies telling us what we needed to do.

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