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Jada Pinkett Smith on Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Published November 6, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the New York zoo animals crash land in Africa after trying to fly back home. Jada Pinkett Smith, who provides the voice of Gloria the hippo, has actually been to Africa, so she vouches for the film's authenticity.

Jada Pinkett Smith on Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


"They actually did a fabulous job and the aesthetics of recreating the aesthetics of Africa," she said. "Africa's a huge continent, but they definitely captured the beauty of it."

Gloria was Pinkett Smith's first original animated character. She provided the English language voice of Toki in Princess Mononoke, but Gloria was her own creation.

"It's a lot easier the second go round, because you know who the character is, so you're basically putting this character in whatever new circumstances being presented with the material. So for me, in the first Madagascar, I had a really difficult time trying to figure out this whole animation world and what I was supposed to do, and it's difficult for me, it's really challenging. This time I was like, okay, I knew about the process, I knew what it took, and Gloria's a lot of fun and it was easy for me."


Madagascar: Escape to Africa Madagascar: Escape to Africa


The big, curvaceous hippopotamus is actually close to Pinkett Smith's own heart too. Though she is petite, Gloria is her big boned fantasy. "I've been that girl that's always wanted more body, so this was a great opportunity for me. I got a character, my dream came true. I got a lady that's got a lot of body, and she's very proud of it, and I think that's a really wonderful message for adults as well as children, that your body is what you have, and you got to be happy within your own skin. Happiness comes from within. Self love comes from within. If you can truly, authentically love yourself, that will exude and permeate through the physical universe, and you will attract people that will love you. That's who Gloria is. She's a lovable, hefty mamma."

The Madagascar films are also some of the only Jada Pinkett Smith films that her kids can see. "It's very rare that I get to participate in a film that my children can actually watch, that I don't have to worry about okay, close your ears, cover your eyes at this part. So for me, that's refreshing and also grabbing some new fans, that are like three on up."

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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