24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Chris Rock

CinemaCon: Chris Rock on 'Madagascar 3' and 'Think Like a Man'

April 24, 2012 |  9:47 am

Chris Rock talks about "Think Like a Man" and his new film "Madagascar 3" at CinemaCon in Las Vegas
After "Think Like a Man" debuted with a surprisingly strong $33.6 million at the box office last weekend, many in Hollywood said the film's success signified the need for more films aimed at African American moviegoers.

But comedian Chris Rock, who showed up at a movie theater in New Jersey at 9:50 a.m. last Friday to catch the ensemble comedy, said he thinks the film's resonance has little to do the race of its cast.

"That's a big number. That's not an only-black-people number," Rock said, referring to the film's opening weekend gross. "The black audience is looking for movies, but this movie is really good. ... You can put anybody in a good movie. And this movie happened to have some black people in it."

Rock was in Las Vegas this week at the CinemaCon convention of theater owners to help promote "Madagascar 3," the third in the DreamWorks Animation franchise that the actor has been a part of for nearly 12 years. (He is the voice of Marty the zebra.) At the Oscars this year, Rock joked before presenting the best animated film award that doing voice work is an easy gig. He shows up, steps in a booth, recites a few lines and "then they give me a million dollars," he kidded. 

"There's work to be done [to prepare for voicing]. But not compared to jobs," Rock said Monday. "Somebody set up this table and had to vacuum this floor and set up these curtains and what-not. Any day I don't lift things for a living is a great day for me."

On stage in front of an auditorium full of theater owners, Rock did his best to sell the upcoming film:

"There are lots of movies coming out this summer -- Spider-Man and Batman and all this crap coming out. But I believe the biggest movie of the summer will be 'Madagascar 3.'"

He compared the movie, out in June, to "Toy Story 3," saying he thought that movie was better than the previous installments in the franchise as well.
"I didn't think it could get no better. I got ice cream -- how could it get better? But then I got sprinkles."


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-- Amy Kaufman in Las Vegas

Photo: Chris Rock talks to theater owners at CinemaCon. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press


Cannes 2012: Watch trailers of six films playing the festival

April 19, 2012 | 12:19 pm


Bruce Willis, Wes Anderson, Josh Hutcherson, Marion Cotillard, Lee Daniels and Nicole Kidman are among the talents bringing films to the Cannes Film Festival, whose lineup was announced Thursday. The prestigious festival kicks off in the southeast France town on May 16. Check out the trailers below to get familiarized with some up this year’s films.

“Moonrise Kingdom,” directed by Wes Anderson
Opening the festival is the Edward Norton-starring comedy by Wes Anderson. It’s his first film to appear at Cannes. Set in the 1960s, "Kingdom" centers on two young lovers who run away from their New England town, prompting a search party to go after them. Focus Features will distribute the film in the U.S. starting May 25. Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand round out the cast.

“On the Road,” directed by Walter Salles
Starring Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley, this long-gestating adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 Beat novel will be in competition at the festival. Executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola, the film also features Viggo Mortensen, Terrance Howard and Amy Adams.

Continue reading »

Could Chris Rock and Melissa McCarthy end up together?

February 2, 2012 |  7:31 pm

Chris Rock at Sundance.
Chris Rock has had some notable on-screen romantic partners over the years. He engaged in an affair with a slinky Kerry Washington ("I Think I Love My Wife") and was dumped by Robin Givens ("Head of State"). Last week at Sundance, he tried to co-parent with Julie Delpy amid a chaotic visit by her family in "Two Days in New York," the actress-director's sequel to her 2007 indie hit "Two Days in Paris."

But none of those colorful characters compare to the woman Rock next hopes to make his on-screen wife: Melissa McCarthy.

"I'm trying to romance her," Rock said, taking a break last week at a Park City, Utah. The comedian is writing a new untitled script, he said, in which he envisions the "Bridesmaids" breakout playing his wife as the pair indulge in some boisterous dysfunction -- a "Jerry Springer couple," as Rock put it. He said he hopes to persuade the comedic actress to come aboard, and has made some inroads.

It's one of several projects Rock said he is working on as a writer, including new material for a stand-up tour as well as a screenplay in which he'd play, well, a stand-up comedian.

Rock has a small part in this May's "What to Expect when You're Expecting" and will be heard but not seen a few weeks later in "Madagascar 3," the talking-animal toon in which the gang runs amok in Europe. He's also get his moment as a lead in  "Two Days," which Magnolia bought at Sundance and probably will release this year.

The film has Rock trying to make things work with his partner, stepping into the Delpy boyfriend role that Adam Goldberg played in "Two Days in Paris." Rock stars as Mingus, an intellectual radio host who often plays the straight man to the loopiness around him (which includes plenty of misunderstanding with Delpy's on screen father, played by real life dad Albert).

"I probably stole a little Nelson George meets Elvis Mitchell," Rock said of his character. "But they're not married and I am, so I combined it with elements of my life, all the relatives coming over, and dealing with the kids."

Perhaps Rock's most high-profile turn at Sundance may have come in a movie he had nothing to do with,  Spike Lee's provocative "Red Hook Summer." Rock was sitting in the audience during its premiere and asked the question that prompted the infamous rant from Lee that the studios "know nothing about black people."

Rock said he saw Lee afterward but came away as puzzled as everyone else about why the director went in that direction.  "Maybe the altitude got to him," he said, shrugging perplexedly.


Spike Lee: Studios "know nothing about black people"

Spike Lee's co-writer joins the race conversation

Sundance 2012: Julie Delpy's latest sequel

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Chris Rock at the Sundance Film Festival last week. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Associated Press


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