By Fred Topel | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
Ben Stiller is known to adults for his R-rated comedies like Tropic Thunder and There's Something About Mary and to kids for his family films like Madagascar and Night at the Museum. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa balances out this summer's Tropic Thunder.
Ben Stiller King of the Jungle in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
"I think its important to do whatever interests you and I’ve always been interested in different kinds of things," said Stiller. "It just depends on what projects are in what stage when you make them, what’s ready to go. It just happened that for me this year, like with Tropic Thunder, an R-rated movie, I’ve been working on that for a few years. Madagascar we’ve known for the last three years that it was going to come out now so I think its great to be able to go in and out of different kinds of things because it keeps it interesting."
Being a father himself helps Stiller keep in mind the young perspective. "My kids keep me connected to what kids like because you see what they respond to. They like silliness and fun. It keeps it sort of loose when you realize they like kind of crazy stuff. My son is obsessed with Thomas trains. Oh my God, he's like every train, he knows them each: James and Gordon. He knows every single one of them by name. The Useful Engine and Sir Top 'Em Hat. It's like a crazy cult."
Madagascar: Escape to Africa
Little Quinlan Stiller actually has a cameo role in Madagascar 2. "In the beginning sequence which shows the young Alex, both of my kids came in and did a little bit of voice work. They did about 45 seconds worth of air time there, but in terms of the actual recording session, I couldn’t get them to work. They really weren’t that into the confines of being in a recording studio."
That's fine, because Stiller doesn't need to be a stage parent. "I’d never force them to do anything they didn’t want to do in terms of that. I don’t understand how kids can do it at a young age, get out there. You have to really want it, I think. I would keep them out of the acting arena until they’re old enough to have had a little bit more life experience. I think for fun, like in school plays or camp type things, but nothing professional. For me, that would be my hope, but I think its every parent’s choice, really. I know, having grown up around it, I’d like them to not have the pressure of having to audition for something and the rejection of that and all that stuff. I think it would be good for them to not have them deal with that at a young age."
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa opens to theaters November 7th.