New Fur Power in Madagascar 3
All images Copyright © 2012 PARAMOUNT PICTURES, INC.
In Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, the four zoosters -- Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria -- are no longer fighting amongst themselves to get back home to New York. This time they have a dangerous adversary, Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), to overcome as they go undercover in a circus that has seen better days. It's pretty expansive to watch in 3-D as well with the Swiss Alps and the Coliseum in Rome and the trippy circus routines inspired by Dumbo's "Pink Elephants on Parade."
And there are three directors to juggle so many characters and so much action: Conrad Vernon, Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath. "We were able to divide and work more closely with the 600 artists on the movie," says McGrath. "We've known each other so long and so well that it was an agreed marriage."
They even used the India studio for the first time on the franchise. While the bulk of the animation was performed at PDI in Redwood City, they used around 25% of the talent in India and 15% at the Glendale campus as well.
"We were flying to Norway and we were looking at a map and trying to figure out how they get back to New York and Jeffrey [Katzenberg] threw out the circus idea, which then got the gears turning," continues McGrath. "It feels more like the third act of this series."
"Our guys are in this weird gray zone where they see themselves fitting into the human world and yet they're out of it at the same time," adds Darnell. "But to put these guys in Monte Carlo and Rome gives us the chance to explore that stuff. It's now the four musketeers with this shared goal of trying to get back home and they really embrace that. Even the sidekicks share this vision for where this movie needs to be before it's over."
"We take our animals and we throw them right back into the human world more clandestinely and that gives us more opportunity for crazy car chases, comedy and character exploration, and that puts them in more jeopardy," adds Vernon.
Having screenwriter Noah Baumbach (Fantastic Mr. Fox) also provided a fresh New York sensibility and an outsider's perspective that instilled an extra dimension to the characters.