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MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED

Under The Big Top
After a frenetic chase through the streets of Monte Carlo, the Zoosters and the rest of the gang narrowly escape DuBois. Their one goal is to find a place to hide quick, or Alex will become a wall ornament. With mere seconds to spare, they stumble upon a traveling circus train. Could there possibly be a better place to hide and move, undetected, through Europe?

Just as Alex is the de facto leader of the Zoosters, Vitaly, the tiger, is the top cat in the Circus Zaragosa. Unlike Alex, however, Vitaly is bitter, irritable and depressed, half the tiger he used to be after an accident during one of his breathtaking signature performances.

Bryan Cranston explains how he approached portraying the tiger that lost his roar: "Vitaly's not a bad guy. In fact, he's got a great heart. He's just had a rough time of it lately. It was important for me to capture and convey both his aggression and his 'humanity,' if you will. Working with the three directors was great fun because even though we started with the script, they gave me the freedom to go off script, to throw out a couple of different versions of the scene - and they did that with all the actors. They made us feel that we could do no wrong."

Also on board the train are two others circus stars, Stefano, an Italian sea lion and Gia, an exotic Italian Jaguar. The kind-hearted Stefano wants to help the Zoosters right away.

Actor Martin Short portrays the sea lion: "What I love about Stefano is that he's a compassionate and lovely fellow, very Bernini-esque. He speaks with a passion. When you're playing a character - let alone an animated one - with a wide range of emotions such as Stefano has, there's a lot of improvising and for me, that's always fun. I did work with a dialogue coach, though. I wanted to get the accent just right."

Gia, a bit wary of the Zoosters at first, is won over when Alex and the gang convince them that they, too, are "circus."

Academy Award-nominated actress Jessica Chastain brings Gia to life: "I liked playing Gia because she has a very big heart but at the same time she's also fiercely protective of her circus family."

She adds, "Working in animation has been a completely new experience for me. There's something so freeing about being in front of a microphone and thinking, 'I'm playing an Italian jaguar.' Where in my life would I ever transform enough to play an Italian jaguar?"

As the train pulls out of the station, making its way to Rome, the Zoosters jump on board and learn that the circus is ultimately headed to New York - their dream come true! - provided the performers can impress an American promoter in London. But it doesn't take long for Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria to discover that…the Circus Zaragosa needs lots of help.

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