David Schwimmer Talks about 'Madagascar 3'

By Lovece, Frank | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

David Schwimmer Talks about 'Madagascar 3'


Lovece, Frank, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Melman's in Monte Carlo -- as are Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo and the "psychotic" penguins.

Following the animated "Madagascar" (2005) and "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" (2008), Melman the hypochondriac giraffe and friends are hiding in a circus as they continue trying to return to the Central Park Zoo in "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," opening Friday.

David Schwimmer, who voices the hangdog giraffe, knows from New York. He was born in Flushing, one of two children of lawyers Arthur Schwimmer and Arlene Colman-Schwimmer, and felt like an outer- borough outsider when his family relocated to California and he attended Beverly Hills High.

Going on to a theater degree from Northwestern, he co-founded Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company in 1988 and made his screen debut the following year in the ABC telefilm "A Deadly Silence."

Eventually, of course, he hit it big as Ross Geller on the 1994- 2004 NBC comedy "Friends."

Schwimmer, 45, co-stars with Amy Ryan in playwright Lisa D'Amour's off-Broadway production "Detroit" in August.

Question: How does one find one's inner giraffe?

Answer: I don't know. When (DreamWorks Animation chief executive) Jeffrey Katzenberg first approached me and told me the story about these four "zoo-sters," I was wondering which one he had in mind for me. When he told me it was the giraffe, I was really relieved, because I've always honestly had an affinity toward giraffes. And I think it's because I feel they're so vulnerable. Even though they're often very graceful and majestic, I think they're just big, easy targets in the animal kingdom.

Q: I don't even know how they run on those legs.

A: Yeah. They just seem so easy to take down. And what is their defense? They have no defense mechanism.

Q: And yet, it's always the gazelles getting eaten. Now, with animated films, the cast generally doesn't record at the same time. And yet, acting is reacting, as they say. How do you compensate for that when you're alone in an audio booth?

A. It's challenging, because you're completely alone, so you're really using your imagination to create the whole scene -- how would Chris or Jada (Pinkett Smith) or Ben say this line? …

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