Directors talk 'Madagascar' sequel

Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath at the film's premiere

Co-directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath discussed the travel plans of Alex the lion and his friends during the Los Angeles premiere of Dreamworks Animation's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," the sequel to the studios' 2005 animated hit.

"After five years in the making of the first movie, we fell in love with these characters," Darnell said Sunday at the Mann Village Theatre in Westwood. "It was clear that there were stories we could tell that could be as funny as the first movie, but maybe take them to a richer place, maybe more emotionally charged situations. That's what we've done with this film. It's a richer experience, I hope."

With at least one more sequel anticipated, McGrath said: "We'd like to see the characters get back to New York -- that's where they started. But there are great opportunities for stops around the world."

With a smile, he added, "We took a field trip to Africa for this one. So we're thinking ... where would we like to go?"

"Maybe Tahiti or Bora Bora," Darnell joked.

Joining the duo on the green carpet, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said: "They took what was a fantastic movie and topped themselves. There is nothing harder in the world than to do that."

He added: "It's the right movie at the right time. I think people right now can use a little laughter. For families right now to be able to go to a movie, and have a nice time, and see a great film. That's very special."

McGrath voices Skipper -- the leader of penguins, known for barking orders.

What would Skipper have to say if he was on the carpet? Getting into character, McGrath joked, "Outta my way, this is MY movie."