Two of the new cast members of the Ice Age franchise, both named Jesse, make their animated movie debuts in the new comedy adventure Collision Course, joining returning cast members Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo and company.
Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays Shangri Llama, the leader of a groovy, rainbow-coloured place called Geotopia. Voicing an animated character was something new to him, but he loved the experience. "Animation is very freeing," he says. "It's a collaborative process - the directors and the animators and the actors all sort of feed off of one another."
He also really enjoyed the silliness of his character. "It has been a lot of fun finding the voice for the Shangri Llama," Ferguson says. "He has this air of being very secure with who he is but then when things start to crumble around him he begins to lose that zen calmness that he's so proud of. That's been a really fun juxtaposition to play."
Another new character in Zootopia is the hippie chick sloth Brooke, who of course becomes a potential love interest for Leguizamo's Sid. Brooke is voiced by British singer Jesse J, who also provided a theme song for the movie.
"I am so excited to be a part of such an amazing film," she says. "I have been amazed about being part of the journey since the drawings and seeing the creation and how much hard work goes into it."
And she loved the challenge of doing something she'd never done before. "I was definitely out of my comfort zone, which is my favourite place to be," she says. "But I didn't feel pressure to get it wrong or right, because there is no wrong or right. It's just, 'Make it great!'"
Jesse J especially enjoyed the camaraderie between the crew. "There's a family vibe," she says. "The understanding, the support, the honesty, the work to make it better - just the calibre of people that work on films like this, which you don't get to work with every day, you don't get advice from every day. I kind of imagine that I'm a big sponge, and I'm just sponging all the information and experience up. I've been doing this Jesse J thing for a long time, but this is my first step into the world of movies. I feel like it's the right time, you know?"
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