By Fred Topel | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
Chris Rock plays multiple roles in Madagascar: Escape to Africa. When the New York zoo animals crash land in Africa, Marty the Zebra finds a whole herd to run with. Somehow, they all sound a little like Chris Rock.
Chris Rock Striped for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
"I didn't really differentiate the zebra voices," said Rock. "I did consult and they mixed them different. So they were like different mics and stuff, some had reverb, some didn't have reverb, to give them a little, like I used to love this rapper Slick Rick. The guy used to rap to himself in the records. 'Here's a little story…' Anyway, he used to rap to himself and they would basically have two different mics and he'd kind of answer his own questions so I told them to do it like that."
Being a comedy resource, Rock is not restricted by the scripted lines. "You're encouraged to ad lib as long as you're not cursing. I think we're encouraged to ad lib. I don't know if everybody is. I've directed. Some people you want to ad lib and some people, 'Hey, stick to the script.' Kobe can shoot whenever he wants. You pass the ball."
Finding a group of zebras only complicates matters for Marty. Since they all look and sound alike, his friend Alex the lion can't even tell Marty apart from the herd.
Madagascar: Escape to Africa
"Marty is a zebra. He’s black and white and like anybody that’s from a mixed race family, they overcompensate so sometimes he’s really black and sometimes he’s really white. Ever meet mixed-race people? Sometimes they’re really black, really f*cking black!"
While Marty runs with the herd, Alex meets his biological lion parents. The metaphor was not lost on Rock. "Its weird, when I watched the movie, its almost like all these characters are adopted and they go to Africa to meet their real parents. And they go through that thing that adopted kids do and then they realize that the people that raised them are their parents. Does that make sense? That’s my take on it."
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa opens to theaters November 7th.