Belfast Telegraph

Cumberbatch: More than just a voice

Benedict Cumberbatch has admitted he puts a lot more into his role in animation Penguins Of Madagascar than simply just his voice.

The Sherlock star plays Classified the wolf, the super spy head of a covert protective force of animals, in the Madagascar spin-off, which sees the penguins on a mission to save their species.

Benedict revealed at the film's premiere in New York: "I'm sure they've got footage... I just think it's important to inhabit what you're saying. You can't just be a neck-up voice. It doesn't work, it doesn't translate.

"You need to give it the energy that the animators then give on screen, otherwise the two things don't match.

"I thought that with Smaug (the CGI dragon he plays in The Hobbit), I thought that with Shere Khan as well, that I did for Andy Serkis (the voice of the tiger in the upcoming Jungle Book: Origins).

"Even though this wasn't motion capture, it wasn't live action, it was filmed whilst we were doing our performances in the booth, so of course it was important to me to be physical."

But the British actor's co-star Ken Jeong, who voices demolitions expert seal Short Fuse, admitted he had a very different way of working - and didn't find he needed to move like a seal in the recording booth to get into character.

Ken joked: "I'm not waddling around. I mean I've been known to waddle anyway, just the way I normally walk, according to my wife and kids, but no, I don't think too much like that."

The Americans' star Annet Mahendru voices Eva the owl in the animated movie and revealed how she got into character.

Annet explained: "Outside my apartment I have this huge, I don't know what kind of tree it is, but it's huge and there's all kinds of birds and I hear birds - so that was my research, I was hooting with the owl in my tree!"

Skipper the Penguin and his crew - voiced by Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, John DiMaggio and Christopher Knights - take starring roles in the fourth Madagascar movie, following the success of the 2005 movie about a group of animals who escaped from New York Zoo.

The film also features the voice of John Malkovich as villainous octopus Octavius Brine and Madagascar stars Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer and Chris Rock.

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