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SPACE CHIMPS

The Space Chimps Roundtable
From two of "Saturday Night Live's” hottest young performers, to an Emmy® Award nominated alumna of the renowned Groundlings comedy troupe, to a singer trained in opera, each of the cast members brought his or her distinct gifts to the project. Space Chimps is the story of Ham III, the grandson of the original Ham who went to space and became a national hero. The concept of astronaut primates exerted a strong gravitational pull on the film's voice cast. Andy Samberg, who has established himself as a cutting-edge comedian through his edgy and off-kilter "SNL Digital Shorts,” plays Ham, the circus performer turned space traveler. His fellow astronaut and love interest Lieutenant Luna is played by Cheryl Hines, an Emmy Award® nominee for her work on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Commander Titan, the third space chimp, is voiced by Patrick Warburton, who stars on the CBS sitcom "Rules of Engagement.”

Kristin Chenoweth, a bona fide Broadway star with two Tony Awards® to prove it, provides the voice of the brave alien Kilowatt and Kenan Thompson, another "SNL" cast member, plays the ringmaster of the circus where Ham III performs as a human, er, chimp cannonball.

We caught up with the cast members during the voice sessions of Space Chimps for a freewheeling discussion, starting off with a surprising revelation from Samberg... What interested you about this project?

Andy Samberg: What I liked most about the script was probably the space part. And the chimp part. I would say of my many totem spirits, chimp is definitely one of them, so I'm pretty much interested in any project that involves chimps, whether that means actually working with real chimps in the forest or pretending to be one with my voice. I also am a big fan of space. And if you put the two together, I mean, that's like, two full fans' worth of person.

Kenan Thompson: It's true. For some reason, I love to see animals controlling spacecrafts and going to different places. It's kind of like pigs in space. You gotta love it. And it's about monkeys. I always love stuff about monkeys.

Andy Samberg: And I just love comedy and there's plenty of comedy in the film, as there almost always is with an animated movie. It's not exactly like what I do normally. It's a little more for everybody. But they were great about incorporating my ideas and allowing my sense of humor to sort of influence the character, which was important to me. I think it translates well.

Cheryl Hines: Well, I got involved in Space Chimps through Barry Sonnenfeld. He sent me the script, and I read it and I thought it was a cute story. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what the movie's about. The title alone kind of says it. I mean, my first reaction was, am I one of the chimps? Because if it's titled Space Chimps, you at least want to be one of the chimps that goes into space. And did you like how I worked in rocket science with Space Chimps? Thank you. And good night.

Kristin Chenoweth: Like Cheryl, I had done RV with Barry Sonnenfeld. And he called me and said, "I have something that I want you to read, no pressure. Please don't feel pressure. I'm just really thinking of you for it.” I read it and I then read it twice. I liked it. And so I called Barry and said "I want to do it.”

Kenan Thompson: I think it's a great script. And it's got a great cast. You know what I'm saying? It's energetic. It's funny. Nice people are involved. And it's about monkeys.

Kristin Chenoweth: I'm also one of those freaky women who love the Alien movies, who love anything that has like four heads and 10 arms. So the fact that this kind of thing has been put into an animated feature is right up my alley.

Patrick Warburton: I thought it was time for the subject to be dealt with on the big screen. I've always felt like chimps were t

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