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EXCLUSIVE: Frances McDormand Gets Animated, and Evil, for 'Madagascar 3'

Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand

Frances McDormand has been cast to voice the villain in Madagascar 3, DreamWorks Animation’s latest installment of the zoo animal-based franchise.

Eric Darnell, who co-directed the previous two movies and was a writer on them as well, is helming solo with this new venture. Noah Baumbach wrote the script with Mireille Soria and Mark Swift producing.

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith are slated to reprise their roles as big-game animals who escaped a New York zoo and end up on the island off the African coast. The new story sees the animals reunite to try to find their way home by joining a traveling circus.  

A host of new characters will be introduced, expanding the ethnic flavor of the group. Among the new additions are an Italian sea lion, a Russian tiger and a Latina jaguar. Due to the rather fluid nature of the animation, however, the nationalities could change.

McDormand will voice a calculating and goal-oriented animal control officer who leads her team to capture the animals. The movie will mark the first time that WME and D/F Management-repped McDormand, mostly known for her indie work, is lending her pipes for an animated feature.

The Madagascar movies have been a huge moneymaker for DWA. The 2005 original grossed $532.6 million worldwide while the second movie, 2008’s Escape 2 Africa, made $603.9 million. The franchise also gave birth to a TV spin-off titled The Penguins of Madagascar.

Madagascar 3 is slated for release on May 25, 2012.