Rosario Dawson talks “Zookeeper” – HollywoodNews Interview

By Sean O’Connell When Kevin James needs help in the romance department, he talks to the animals. The odd part about Sony’s latest comedy, “Zookeeper,” though is that the animals talk back.

James surrounds himself with the voices of Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Maya Rudolph and Cher in Frank Coraci’s family comedy. But when he needs a little human interaction, he turns to beautiful co-star Rosario Dawson.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Dawson in New York City to talk with her about over-the-top reactions, physical comedy and a film her godchildren can see. My boys, who are seven and three, are going to eat this film up.

Rosario Dawson: I know. I have godchildren, and I always feel bad that the movie I do tend to be very dark and sad and depressing. This is the first movie that I feel like I have done in a long time where my godchildren can actually watch in the theaters and not have to wait until they are 18! And a live-action family film, which can be harder to pull off when so many studios fall back on animation.

Right. Plus it just has this authenticity that I think is so great for kids to be able to watch. And also, for the parents, it’s not just totally fantastical. You know, you are trying to take something that is fantastical in nature and try to ground it in some form of reality. That helps make it watchable, something that you can enjoy. Watching this, you come off again as the girl we want our hero to end up with, a dynamic you started in “Clerks 2.” Are you getting comfortable with that role?

I like that. But for me, I just look to make a connection with a character in a script, and this one just made me smile. I thought it was super sweet, and when I heard that Cher was doing a voice, I thought, “I have to be in that!” [Laughs] Sometimes it can be arbitrary which roles I choose, and with this one, it was just the inherent challenge of it. I don’t get to do comedy very often, and to see what I would have to do physically to get into the role was kind of amazing. It wasn’t the obvious feminine wiles of wearing the high heels and playing this girl. I’m playing the stinky zoo girl and the wing woman! I loved that. You mention the physical comedy. Having sampled it here, is it something you’d like to try more of?

The physical comedy stuff was actually the best stuff for me. I’m a pretty goofy person who can be very demonstrative, so that was great for me to not have to sell every emotion with just a look, being super subtle and burying the context in one line. This was a well-rounded arc that I had to create, and we didn’t have to pour everything into that one moment where they just happen to look at each other. It was about whole scenes, having that much fun where you can really disappear into a moment and have a great time. It was just fantastic to have that many moments in one film. Your line, “Soar with me,” it going to break a few hearts.

“Soar with me!” I know, I loved saying that so much, it was ridiculous! And yet, one of my favorite moments was my reaction shot to seeing Kevin hit the ice sculpture. It’s just like so big. And to be able to do that and not have it seem over the top in context was so great for me.

Rosario Dawson and Kevin James are in “Zookeeper,” which is in theaters now.

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