About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Studios Home
November 2008
MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA | An Interview with Chris Rock

An Interview with Chris Rock
by Wilson Morales

November 3, 2008

Doing animation work never gets old for Chris Rock. With ‘Osmosis Jones’, ‘Madagascar’, and ‘Bee Movie’ to his credit, and with some time available in his schedule, it was a no brainer for Rock to come back and reprise his role as Marty the Zebra in the sequel, ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’. Along with trusted pals, Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, and Sasha Baron Cohen, the gang’s all back as their plane heading back to the states crashes in Africa and where each animal finds his and her own family. Rock gets the chance to voice as many zebras than he can think of.

In speaking with blackfilm.com, Rock talks about working with Stiller, missing Bernie Mac and his upcoming projects.

How much fun was it coming back to this film?

Chris Rock: It was lots of fun. I had a good time. Me and Ben (Stiller) made it a point to do some of our scenes together this time figuring it would be a lot funnier. Not that the first one wasn’t funny enough, but if we are in the same room we could bounce off each other and it would work different. It worked when I did ‘Bee Movie’ with Jerry Seinfeld. We did all of our scenes together and I wanted to do the same with Ben.

Is this get any easier for you, the animation work?

CR: I wouldn’t say easier. You have to address it like an acting job. You don’t have to worry about what you will look like in the morning. You don’t have to get with your trainer. Other than that, you still have to break down scenes and figure out where the character is going and whatnot.

Are you making more money with this film?

CR: I’m doing okay in spite of what’s happening with the economy.

Was the stuff you did with Ben on the script?

CR: Some of it was and then you get to play tennis and go back and forth. It’s playful competition and leads to more improvising.

From seeing the film, one can see that you’re not the center of attention.

CR: The first movie is all me, right? Just kidding. This film is center around Ben and Bernie Mac and their relationship. That’s the big relationship in the movie.

What can you say about Bernie Mac?

CR: When you are show business, you can envy a lot of people because this guy has this and this guy has that. I envy the person Bernie was. He was such a god husband and father. This guy was a really dedicated family guy. He was a no nonsense throwback guy. You will never meet another guy like Bernie Mac.

What would you say is the biggest lesson you learned from him?

CR: Watch what you eat and you have to take care of yourself.

Does this make this reflect on your career?

CR: I work like I’m dying anyway. I always work like that. I work like it’s the last movie, or last standup. I don’t look ahead.

How come we haven’t seen you in a lot of movies?

CR: Because there are not a lot of good movies out there. I’m somewhat picky. There’s just a lot of crap, especially comedies. All the comedies are made by the guy who is starring in them. There’s not a lot of casting going on in comedies.

If your next film were to be your last, how would you envision the script to be?

CR: My next film is actually a weird documentary I just shot. It’s about black people and hair. There’s a thing called The Bonner Brothers Hair Show in Atlanta and I shot a hair competition. It’s like a ‘Hoop Dreams’ of hairdressers and I shot that and interspersed it with the business of black hair, with weaves and relaxers and all that stuff. I went to India where they get all the weaves. I did a Michael Moore expose on black hair. Hopefully, we can get that into Sundance for next year. The title of it is called ‘Good Hair’.

With this film, you are voicing all of the zebras. Did you do anything differently?

CR: You know what? Some of it was-- it was weird. Some of them I definitely had to change voices. But some it was the mics. So we made a conscious effort. Okay, this one's mic-ed this way. This one's mic-ed that way. This one has an old mic. This one has a little reverb. This one-- you know what I mean? Like, to do that

Who do you listen to when you want to laugh?

CR: I put on some old Richard Pryor stuff, or Dave Chappelle show, season 2. Not much funnier than that.

How much fun was doing your latest show, ‘Kill The Messenger’?

CR: Very special. I recorded it in three different countries, and cut it as one film. We shot in Johannesburg, London, and at the Apollo Theater, but it’s one continuous show.

What's been your favorite dad moment in the last few months where you've been really proud to just be a dad?

CR: Every day I'm proud to be a dad. Every morning. She's off from camp this week. And when I get back, we're gonna go to the car wash. (Laughter) That's the thing when you have kids. There's no such thing as quality time when you're a parent. "We're gonna spend quality time." Those are bad parents.

It's just time. (Laughter) There's just time. It's all good. It's all good. There's no, "Ooh, his graduation's better than going to the mall." It's all kind of equal. It's all-- it's all kind of equal if you're really into parenting and-- you know, so it's all-- there's no-- changing a diaper and, you know, walking-- and-- and-- and her winning a contest or, like, all right, whatever. (Laughter) It's all-- it's all good. I don't really-- there's no bad parts about it.

What do you think about this love between Gloria and a giraffe?

CR: Let's hope it works out. (Laughter) You get old enough, hey, all love's good. You know, you're young, you dissect love. I don't know if that's gonna work. You get a little older. You're like, "Whatever works." You're a giraffe, you're a hippo. Fine. Fine.

Have you been to the Central Park Zoo with your kids?

CR: Thousand times. (Laughter) Thousand times. And I gotta get a membership, you know? I still don't have a membership. So I end up waiting on this long line. And I'm, like, "Hey, I'm Marty." (Laughter) I'm Marty, I should be getting right in here.

Do you think there's any parenting advice to be taken from Madagascar 2?

CR: Parenting advice. You know, let your kids be who they're gonna be. Accept them for who they are. You know, that's-- I guess that would be the biggest-- I'm trying to-- I haven't seen the movie in a month. But that would be really, really good.



Terms of Use | Privacy Policy