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David Schwimmer on Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Published November 3, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
Melman, David Schwimmer's character in the Madagascar films, is a giraffe. David Schwimmer is a human being. Still, he continues to marvel at how much the giraffe looks like him, particularly in a scene from the sequel Madagascar: Escape to Africa.

David Schwimmer Goes Giraffe for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


"I've seen a rough cut of it many months ago, but it was early in the movie when the plane is going down, and the crash, and I blurt out, 'I love you Gloria,'" Schwimmer recalled. "Then the other two guys turn around and just look at me, and I just kind of froze with, 'I love the beach, or good book, or, the beach.' When I saw that, I was like, how did they get my face? Just because, that was my timing, I think. I remember that distinctly."

Schwimmer welcomed a reunion with Melman in the sequel. "I love this character, Melman. I think he's a sweetheart. Really, my heart goes out to how awkward he feels. I mean, it must be awkward being in that body. I think I related to that when I was a certain age, and his neuroses. I'm not a hypochondriac, but I don't know, I just really feel for him, and this unrequited kind of love he has for Gloria, where he finally summons the courage to do something about it. So it's a big story for him, I think a big thing."


Madagascar: Escape to Africa Madagascar: Escape to Africa


Madagascar: Escape to Africa Madagascar: Escape to Africa

As an on screen actor, Schwimmer is quite well known. He was on a TV show that was fairly popular, and continues to air in syndication. Still, the Madagascar films hit a demographic that Friends did not.

"There are all these kids that are totally unfamiliar with my previous work that suddenly I've got five, six, seven-year-olds that are just dying to have me do the voice and to introduce their friends to Melman. So it's really a pleasure."

Directing has offered Schwimmer a chance to explore a career behind the scenes too. Perhaps it also enhanced his performance as Melman.

"Having been a director, it informed what I did as an actor in this film, which was trying to help the directors as much as possible, because we're never in sync together in the recording studio. I was thinking, okay, well for every single line, I would give the directors ten different alternatives so they would have as many options as possible when they get to editing the film and editing all our dialogue together. I guess because as a director, that's what I would want. I would want choice."

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa opens to theaters November 7th.

For stills, trailers, posters and more movie info, go to the Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Movie Page.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of DreamWorks Animation
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