A Chat With John Leguizamo About Ice Age: Continental Drift, And More!NEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | July 12, 2012 at 8:46 am
Earlier I was invited to a press event with John Leguizamo and Queen Latifah in LA. It happened to be the day before I was hosting a joint birthday party for my kids. I said yes at first (sucker for the Queen – and the only Queen I am a fan of) and even had the nod of a wonderfully supportive husband who naturally thinks I am crazy and loves me anyway . Then after doing the logistics of a red-eye flight and , the fact that cooking would be tough (yes I cook for the huge crowd) I said no. My kids were ecstatic and although it felt right I knew I may have to boycott the Facebook because I would be downright jealous of who went instead. Later I found out that the trip fell-through but I would get to interview John Leguizamo over the phone. After doing a happy dance I said yes. Then I realized I knew little who he was. This is no reflection on the actor but of my head buried in the sand status.
Then I mentioned this over Skype to my sister who is in South Africa. She was so ecstatic I began to worry about what other stuff I have been missing. Ironically she was about to watch the same movie which was this interview was set in conjunction with: Ice Age: Continental Drift. Firstly I was surprised about this trend about other countries getting to see these movies before they are launched in the USA (and more annoyed that this trend was not in South Africa when I was there), typical right? And secondly I told her to get herself in front of the tv and watch it already, I mean she has no kids so I could live vicariously through her single life which gets to indulge in movies much more than I could. And when I asked her to think of questions to ask the girl’s joy doubled.
Then I also reached out to my Twitter and Facebook (private and page) to see if they had any questions. Boy did they have some. Sadly the timing of the interview was 30 minutes before my kids were done with camp so I sat outside a Panera (to get the wifi) in a hot car (the airconditioner would be noisy) so I could be there for as much as I could before leaving. And you thought my life was so rosy? He was later than expected which meant I left before the interview was up but I got to ask a few questions.
I was the first to ask a question and of course I had to start with a heavy one, but when I saw Lori Nash’s question I had to ask it.
Niri: Hi, John. I’d like to ask you about the limited availability of on-camera roles. It seems like the voice over world is more open to diversified casting that on camera work. How do you feel about this as an actor and as a parent?
Mr. John Leguizamo: That’s true. I mean, there is a little less opportunity for on camera–but things have certainly improved a lot and they continue to improve. Things are still far behind considering our percentages in this country. And it should be equal. If we’re 15 percent or let’s even say the total Black and Latin community would be approximately 30 percent of the population, let’s be 30 percent on-air and in front of the camera.
Personally I love that he did not dodge or blanket the question. John is definitely becoming an actor I am liking more and more by the minute.
The next question is from my baby sis Jennisha and have to say I love her more for being smart with her question (she had a ton and if mom duties did not interfere I may have asked more)
Niri: Sid has an obvious lisp. How hard was that for you to keep in character? I believe, unless I’m wrong, that you came up with that idea for it. Is that true?
Mr. John Leguizamo: Yes. Well, I came up with about 50 voices for the director, Chris Wedge, because a sloth is slow. I was talking with a southern drawl and he didn’t like that. I tried something exotic from India snd he didn’t like anything.
So I found some footage on the Discovery Channel of sloths, and a guy with a British’s accent is narrating, saying that sloths store their food in their check pouches until it ferments and the animals fall off the tree. And I thought, well, let me put some food in my mouth, and I started walking around with a sandwich going, how am I going to come up with a voice for a sloth, I have no idea what the voice is, oh, my gosh, THIS is the voice! I called the director immediately, and I said, Chris, guess who this is. He goes, I have no idea. I said, it’s Sid the Sloth, I found myself. And that’s how I found the voice, just doing research.
And although I meant to ask the question about how has Sid matured through the movie releases, Silvia beat me to it.
Here was his response
Mr. John Leguizamo: Sid definitely has had a journey. In the first one, he was abandoned by his family, Uncle Fungus and the rest, during the Ice Age. And then, he adopted a new family, Manny the Mammoth and Diego the Saber Tooth.And as the years go by, the guys ended up trusting him more & more which gave Sid more confidence. And finally, in Ice Age: Continental Drift, the latest film, Sid gets his family back. Of course his grandma is kind of abrasive, but that’s what makes it fun. They end up loving each other at the end of the story.
And if that does not make you tempted to watch the movie, I’m not sure what will. I am planning to watch it on Saturday morning with a bunch of kids.
About the film:
In ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, Scrat’s nutty pursuit of the cursed acorn, which he’s been after since the dawn of time, has world-changing consequences – a continental cataclysm that triggers the greatest adventure of all for Manny, Diego and Sid. In the wake of these upheavals, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny, and the herd encounters a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates determined to stop them from returning home.
The film features the voice talents of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, with Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah. Peter Dinklage, Wanda Sykes, Aziz Ansari, Keke Palmer, Drake, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk, Nick Frost, Joy Behar.
Rated PG – IN THEATERS JULY 13th
Disclosure: Yeah, I got the opportunity to chat with John Leguizamo but that was all, and it was worth it!