- Notes provided by 20th Century Fox -
In ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, Scrat's nutty pursuit of the cursed acorn, which he's been after since the dawn of time, has world-changing consequences - a continental cataclysm that triggers the greatest adventure of all for Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo). In the wake of these upheavals, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny, and the herd encounters a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates determined to stop them from returning home.
This all-new chapter in one of the most successful film franchises of all time brings together the visually epic and the emotionally powerful; the humorous and the heartfelt - plus the world's most beloved prehistoric squirrel-rat and the ultimate unconventional herd of this or any Age.
Joining our familiar ``Ice Age friends and family (Romano, Leguizamo, Leary, and Queen Latifah) for the new film are some of the entertainment world's brightest talents, including hip hop sensations Nicki Minaj and Drake, and global crossover star Jennifer Lopez.
The magical ingredient of the franchise is its focus on family. This provides the stories' rich emotional underpinnings, as well as much of their comedy and adventure. ``'Ice Age' has always been about family, says Lori Forte, who has produced the entire series and co-wrote the story for ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT. ``No matter what the plot is of a given 'Ice Age' film, it still comes down to family - and about how Manny, Diego, Sid and the now-extended clan look out for one another. That kind of storytelling and humor appeals to everyone, everywhere.
``From the very beginning this was a franchise defined by its heroes - three animals from different species, with different experiences. They are strangers when they meet and family when we leave them, adds co-screenwriter Jason Fuchs. ``Each film explores what it really means to be a family. Is it just something you're born into? I think all our characters grapple with that question. And I think it's Diego who has sort of the essential line of the film when he's asked, kind of dismissively, what's the difference between a pack and a family? Diego replies, 'We have each other's backs.' And that's what it means to be a family, and that's the heart of this movie and of this franchise.
Interwoven with these epic tales of family exploits are the continuing adventures of Scrat, whose sole purpose in life - whose very existence - revolves around an acorn as elusive as it is cherished. Scrat's quest for the nut has had consequences; in the first ``Ice Age Scrat's obsession triggered the Ice Age itself. In ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, Scrat and the object of his pursuits are nothing less than the catalyst for a cataclysm. Forget what you've learned in geology about the continents forming as a result of massive tectonic turbulence and volcanic eruptions tearing land masses apart. ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT reveals that these seismic shifts came about from Scrat's misadventures.
The film reunites us with Scrat as he's going about his usual business: he has grabbed the acorn, set it down on the ground - and suddenly a mountain is torn apart and the earth itself opens up, separating land masses into the seven continents. Scrat hurtles toward the earth's core, triggering massive earthquakes, which in turn isolates Manny, Diego and Sid from the rest of the herd.
From his introduction as a breakout character in ``Ice Age to becoming a celebrated movie icon, Scrat has brought joy to countless moviegoers - and to the filmmakers who bring him to life. ``There's no better or more enjoyable character to animate than Scrat, says director Steve Martino. ``Who else can you knock around, smash around - and he just keeps going after that nut?! Adds supervising animator Nick Bruno: ``Scrat is why I'm in animation. His adventure in this movie is like a classic tale, where he sees his goal, goes after it, and gets his butt kicked. But this time, the stakes for him and for the herd couldn't be higher.
Scrat's continental crack-up has cast adrift Manny, Diego and Sid from the rest of the herd, including Manny's beloved wife Ellie and their teenaged daughter Peaches (who was born in 2009's ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs). Prior to the calamity, Manny and the headstrong Peaches have been quarreling, as dads and their teenaged kids tend to do. Their disagreements are relatable to any parent or teen, or everyone who knows a parent or teen. ``Manny's the prototypical overprotective dad, says director Steve Martino. ``He's longing to hold onto those days when Peaches was a little girl, but now she's at that age when she wants to step up and be on her own.
``The Pleistocene world is pretty tough for a dad, jokes screenwriter Michael Berg, who has also written or co-written two earlier ``Ice Age films. ``There's a lot of danger out there - and a lot of teenage boys.
Ray Romano again voices the much put-upon wooly mammoth. ``Ray is the best at what he does, says Martino. ``He gives a natural performance that plays to his formidable comedic strengths. For Romano, returning to Manny was like visiting an old friend, though the beloved actor-comedian has unconventional methods of getting back into character. ``Before he starts recording, he repeats one of Manny's lines from the first 'Ice Age' - 'I'm not going!'-and for some reason, that line turns him into Manny, explains director Michael Thurmeier.
Romano's reel life (as Manny) and real life (as dad to a daughter approaching adulthood) came together in unexpected ways. He explains: ``Just as Manny has to deal with Peaches becoming her own person --- or mammoth, that is - I'm kind of living the same thing, because my daughter just graduated from college. That's a big thing for me, because I still think of her as a kid with a runny nose. The good news is, I've never been stuck on an iceberg.
Manny's better half, Ellie, is an oasis of stability amid Manny's frantic parenting. (Ellie's calm remains unruffled by her two trouble-prone ``brothers, possums Crash and Eddie, again voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck.) ``Ellie and Manny balance each other, says Queen Latifah, who returns as Ellie, having previously voiced the role in ``Ice Age: The Meltdown and ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. ``Manny is overprotective; Ellie is a little more relaxed and nurturing because she understands what Peaches is going through, especially with her crush on boys. As a teenager, everything seems like it's the end of the world, and I don't think that's ever going to change.
Despite her mom's best efforts, Peaches, voiced by actress-singer Keke Palmer, rebels against Manny's strict rules. ``Peaches is going through some pretty mammoth stuff, puns Palmer. ``She's ready to get out there and experience new things - and discover boys. According to producer John C. Donkin, ``Keke has her own attitude, along with some of the sass of Queen Latifah, and the warmth you find with Ray Romano.
Peaches' biggest conflict with her dad stems from the increasing amount of time she's spending with her teenage friends, especially Ethan, the Big Mammoth on Campus, voiced by hip hop sensation Drake. For Drake, working on ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT was akin to joining a new family, and, as he puts it, ``being on a big emotional roller coaster ride. I am thrilled to be part of it.
No dad - two-legged or four-legged - will be surprised that Manny thinks Ethan isn't good enough for Peaches. ``You know, says Romano, ``when your daughter brings home a boy mammoth, you're only going to think bad things and not like him. Still, Romano admits that sharing the screen with Drake gives him ``some major street cred, as does working with rapper Nicki Minaj, who plays Steffie, one of the mammoth ``It Girls, and Peaches' romantic rival for Ethan's affections; and ``Glee's Heather Morris, who portrays another teen mammoth, Katie.
Minaj, one of today's brightest musical talents, notes that Steffie will do anything to hold on to her mammoth. ``When she finds out that Peaches is after Ethan, she does what any stand-up woman would do - be really jealous and nasty, says Minaj.
Heather Morris' Katie, another cool, Ice Age teen, has a distinctive look. ``She is blond-haired and wears flowers in her hair, says the ``Glee star. ``And she gets to hang out with Steffie/Nicki Minaj!
Outside this teenage in-crowd is Peaches' closest friend, a mole hog (a kind of prehistoric meerkat) named Louis, voiced by Josh Gad, who stars in the smash Broadway hit ``Book of Mormon. Louis is a loyal pal to Peaches - he wishes it were more that friendship - but as Gad notes, ``In the hierarchy of this high school-like environment, Louis would be the one everyone bullies. Even Manny belittles the poor guy, calling him ``Wiener, which, adds Gad, ``I think is derogatory even in mammoth-speak. But Louis' inner courage could change everything...
As Manny deals with his parenting challenges, his best pals Diego and Sid are experiencing their own challenges. At first glance, Diego seems to be at the top of his game. He remains a confirmed bachelor and, having battled dinosaurs in the previous ``Ice Age adventure, has reaffirmed his place as the herd's tough guy. Diego scoffs at the notion that hanging out with Manny's family has softened him. ``I happen to be a relentless assassin! he roars.
But it wouldn't be an ``Ice Age film if big changes weren't in store for our three heroes, including Diego, who meets his match - and maybe more - in a female sabre named Shira, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, one of today's biggest cross-over stars. Given this important new figure in Diego's life, it's not surprising that when asked about the story for ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, Denis Leary, who returns as Diego, jokes: ``The story? Diego gets a love interest, played by J-Lo. I think there's a more intricate plot, but basically that's the most important thing.
Leary insists it's about time Diego found someone to share his life with. ``It took only four 'Ice Age' movies for me to get a love interest. Believe me, when making the first 'Ice Age', I didn't look down the road and think, you know, Diego's going to get a girlfriend and it's going to be J-Lo. I would have put that in my contract back then if I thought I could have gotten away with it!
Love is never simple, especially for sabre-toothed tigers. Shira is a member of a pirate crew that has taken Diego, Manny and Sid hostage, so Shira and Diego's initial encounters are as foes who go toe-to-toe - and sabre-to-sabre - against one another. They are equally matched. ``Diego has never encountered anyone like her before, says Michael Berg. Adds Steve Martino: ``Shira is a femme fatale; she's sharp, fast and intelligent. But they're more alike one another than either tiger would admit, and from their hostility and attempts at one-upmanship comes a shared point of view and ultimately a relationship.
According to Jennifer Lopez, who joins the ``Ice Age family as Shira, Diego and Shira are destined to join forces. ``The two characters have a similar backstory, she explains. ``Diego left his pack of sabre-toothed tigers in the first film, and Shira had left hers because she didn't like the pack mentality. Shira felt like she didn't belong anywhere until she joined the pirates. Eventually she realizes the pirates are out for themselves, and she must make a choice between staying with them or starting a new life with Diego. And as we all know, Diego can be very convincing.
Lopez was excited about joining the ``Ice Age team, especially as an empowered figure. ``ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT is a poignant, fun, exciting and sweet story, and I love playing strong female characters like Shira, she explains.
The filmmakers were thrilled to get the multi-talented actress-singer-``American Idol judge onboard. ``Playing a character in an animated film is about more than just the actor's voice, says producer Lori Forte. ``It's about the attitude, and Jennifer really brings it. The film also makes use of Lopez's singing talents, as she joins her fellow pirates (including Peter Dinklage, Nick Frost, Aziz Ansari, and Alain Chabat) in a sea shanty, ``Master of the Seas, written by Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne); and accompanies Nicki Minaj, Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Queen Latifah) in the closing song, ``We Are (Theme from ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT), written by Ester Dean.
The third member of the heroic trio, Sid the Sloth, has family problems very different from Manny's. His long-lost clan - including his mom, dad, brother, and hygiene-challenged Uncle Fungus (the name says it all) - have suddenly re-entered his life, and they have Sid's aged Granny in tow. But the visiting Sloths have an agenda that makes the family reunion short-lived: they leave with Sid the impossible-to-live-with Granny, and then once again desert the beleaguered sloth. ``When you meet Sid's family, you understand why Sid is Sid, says Berg. ``They are a very dysfunctional group. But Sid has a big heart, and he makes the relationship work with his cantankerous Granny.
``Sid's a lovable guy and always wants to do things his way, which often leads to catastrophe, says John Leguizamo, who once again brings his unique vocalizations and performance to the character. This time the catastrophe - his Granny - has come to him. ``Sid has long wanted to be reunited with his family because everyone seems to have a family but him, adds Leguizamo. ``And all of a sudden, here they are. They're with him, and then they're not -- leaving him with Granny.
As conceived by character designer Peter de Sève, whose work has unified the entire ``Ice Age universe since its inception, Granny has long, stinky fur, no teeth, wrinkly skin, and an unseen pet named Precious. In short, there's never been a figure quite like Granny, who, says Thurmeier, ``provides wonderful and unexpected punctuations of comedy throughout the herd's adventure. ``You never know what she's going to say.
``Granny's comments are always a little off-target, a little off-point, but always on the funny, says actress-comedian Wanda Sykes (``Curb Your Enthusiasm), who voices the aged sloth. ``I love playing characters who speak their mind, and Granny...oh my goodness, she is just out there, you know? There are no apologies with Granny. Adds supervising animator Nick Bruno: ``Granny always seems a little bit out of it, but then she can turn on a dime and be this sharp old lady.
OUT TO SEA
Granny is a surprise castaway when Manny, Diego and Sid are swept out to sea on an iceberg following Scrat's continental crack-up. But her addled antics are the least of the boys' problems. They've been captured by a band of pirates, led by the fearsome orangutan Captain Gutt, voiced by Emmy(R)-winner Peter Dinklage (``Game of Thrones). A self-styled king of the ocean and pirate of all pirates, Gutt loves being a brigand and living by the strict code of the sea. He's earned the name ``Gutt from having big claws that he's not afraid to use. As Gutt proudly boasts, he can turn your innards into your ``outards. You don't want to mess with him.
That is, unless you're Manny, who must challenge Gutt because the pirate captain is standing in the way of the mammoth's return to his family. They are formidable, evenly matched foes. ``Manny and the herd beat the dinosaurs in their last adventure, so we knew we had to come up with a bigger-than-life adversary for Manny, says producer John C. Donkin. Adds Thurmeier: ``Gutt doesn't like being told 'No,' and Manny, being a strong personality, isn't afraid to take him on.
Gutt is voiced by Peter Dinklage, whose role as Tyrion Lannister in the series ``Game of Thrones has earned superstardom and accolades. The actor's rich, deep voice conveys Gutt's power and gravitas, and Dinklage's comedic and acting skills bring to life the humor and fun. ``What appealed to me about Gutt was that I had never before played a pirate orangutan, and I'm not sure I'll get such an opportunity again, so when these jobs come up, you grab them, he jokes about making his animated feature film debut. ``I enjoyed playing Gutt's anger management issues. He's quick to remind everyone who's in charge.
Gutt is a dark version of Manny, especially in their views about family. Manny has become the ultimate family guy - married, with a teen daughter, and a father figure to his extended clan, including Diego and Sid. He believes that family gives you strength. Gutt thinks family holds you back and makes you weak, though as Dinklage observes, his ``mates and crew are a version of a family. So let's meet Gutt's crew/family:
SHIRA (Jennifer Lopez) is the aforementioned beautiful and dangerous sabre-toothed tiger who battles Diego - only to lose her heart to him.
FLYNN (``Hot Fuzz's and ``Shaun of the Dead's Nick Frost) is Gutt's first mate, a jiggly, gelatinous, 4,000-pound elephant seal. When he comes waddling into a scene, and then stops, his belly continues moving forward! He's easily the biggest member of the crew, but, says Martino, ``he's also like a kid. Flynn has the enthusiasm of a young child, wrapped in an enormous frame. Adds Nick Frost: ``Flynn always sees the best in people, even Gutt, which is quite a difficult thing to do.
SQUINT (``Parks and Recreation's Aziz Ansari) is the pirate crew's smallest but scrappiest member -- an over-caffeinated bunny with a Napoleon Complex. ``Squint can't help it that he's got a cute little bunny nose, tail and ears, says Thurmeier. Adds Ansari: ``Squint's always ready to fight, but never gets to chop it up with anybody.
GUPTA (``The Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar) is a prehistoric badger whose back is patterned with a skull and crossbones - the iconic pirate flag, the Jolly Roger. So he makes for a perfect ship's pennant. Unfortunately for Gupta, his underbelly is white, the color of surrender, which angers Gutt. ``Gupta always wants to fly his white side, and nothing ticks off Gutt more than surrendering, says Nayyar.
RAZ (``Bridesmaids' Rebel Wilson) is an enormous prehistoric kangaroo and the crew's weapons master. She's tall, tough, and despite her gender, the epitome of a burly pirate.
SILAS (``Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian's Alain Chabat) is an aristocratic French seagull - prim, proper, and possessing a strong posture.
DOBSON is a silent, salty and curmudgeonly seaman - and a mumbling and grumbling complainer. He's the polar opposite of the cheerful Flynn.
Peter de Sève's ingenious character designs style the buccaneers to look like they're wearing classic pirate garb or facial hair (Gutt's craggly beard, Dobson's mutton chop sideburns, Flynn's wily whiskers), all of which is actually fur that is groomed, colored and shaped to create the ``costumes and scruff.
This menagerie of pirates, in addition to taking prisoner Manny, Sid and Diego, has forced into servitude guinea pig-like creatures called the Hyrax - cute balls of squishy love that ``could very well become the film's breakout characters, says Martino. Realizing that the enemies (the Hyrax) of their enemies (Gutt & Co.) could make for formidable allies, Manny, Diego and Sid make a deal with the Hyrax: if they help steal Gutt's ship, which Manny hopes will return him to his family, the herd will free the Hyrax from the pirate's clutches. Helping to seal the deal is the fact that only Sid can communicate with the Hyrax, who have a unique language. Says Leguizamo: ``Sid and the Hyrax speak through a bit of mime and 'click-clack' talk, referencing the creatures' tongue-clicking speech.
Also taking center stage in ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT is Mother Nature herself, via the filmmakers' depictions of: the Scrat-induced continental cataclysm, the ocean upon which the herd is swept away, a vicious storm that puts our three heroes at great risk, and the looming threat of the palisades - an 800-foot wall chasing, and threatening to crush Ellie, Peaches and the other creatures remaining on land.
The word ``epic was at the top of everyone's mind in the design of these environments and natural disasters. ``It is epic when you see a mammoth, Manny, look like a tiny dot atop an iceberg being hurtled through an oceanic storm, says Thurmeier. ``With each new 'Ice Age' movie, we take major steps forward in putting our characters in larger, more elaborate, and more thrilling environments.
Chief among those environments is the vast and unforgiving ocean. To maximize the scale of the characters' peril - and to sweep audiences along for the ride - the filmmakers employed newly developed technologies. They were successful beyond their expectations: when the voice cast saw some early footage of the storm scene, they thought the filmmakers had filmed an actual ocean, which, they assumed was blended with the animated characters.
The ocean is no less compelling when it's becalmed. Its rich atmospherics - the mist and mystery of being at sea - are an extension of the characters, especially the pirates, as are the vast, open skies punctuated by cloud formations. To capture the environments, the filmmakers, for the first time in the ``Ice Age franchise, shot in the widescreen aspect ratio of 2:35: 1, which enhances the feeling of the characters being dwarfed by their surroundings.
The ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT research and development team also developed new technologies for some spectacular land-based locales, including a cave where trees hang from the ceiling, literally turning the earth under the characters upside-down; the ubiquitous threat of crumbling earth and rocks; and the icebergs serving as the ships, each possessing a unique ``personality and color.
Another key filmmaking tool was 3D. Notes Martino: ``Our story takes audiences on an adventure, and 3D further immerses them in the story. When Manny, Diego and Sid ride some giant waves during a storm, 3D allows us to place the audience with the characters on the waves, and have them feel like they're part of the action.
``We were always looking for new ways to give the audience a really interesting experience, to bring them into the world of 'Ice Age,' adds Thurmeier. ``You will feel like you're experiencing everything with the characters, whether they are swashbuckling aboard a ship, or triggering massive seismic shifts from the center of the Earth.
As the animation neared completion, the film's post-production team began its critical work. ``Ice Age veteran and Academy Award(R) winning sound designer Randy Thom created the thunderous sounds of the Earth shearing apart, the concussive force of truck-sized ice chunks slamming into the water, the menacing palisades wall pushing toward the animals, Scrat rattling around inside the Earth's core, and the charmingly incomprehensible vocalizations of the Hyrax.
John Powell composed the film's score, reprising some of the themes from the previous ``Ice Age films, as well as creating beautiful new music highlighting the Manny-Peaches emotional dynamic and Manny's longing to be reunited with his family. Concurrently, finishing touches were put on the songs, including ``Chasing the Sun, performed by the U.K. pop sensation band The Wanted; the aforementioned Gutt-centric sea shanty ``Master of the Seas, and ``We Are (Theme from ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT). Ester Dean, who wrote the latter and who made a dual appearance on the soundtrack for ``Rio, notes that the song ``sheds a light on the fact that a family doesn't have to be blood-related or look perfect. But family is family - and that is perfect.
Indeed, the ``Ice Age extended family is far from conventional, and it's certainly a distant relative of perfection, but the fact that it is a family is nothing less than ideal. ``The message of the importance of family is integral to the 'Ice Age' movies, says Martino. ``Audiences around the world enjoy stories about families that work well together. Even though our characters are imperfect, and very different from one another, they always work things out and they're the better for it.
So what began in ``Ice Age as the world's most unexpected herd/family - a prehistoric wooly mammoth, a sloth, and a sabre-toothed tiger - has grown and changed as new members, including a wife, daughter, a pair of ``brothers and a Granny joined the clan. Moreover, Manny, Sid, Diego and the members of their burgeoning group are changing. ``They're all evolving, and we're along with them for the ride, physically and emotionally, says Lori Forte. ``But however much they change, they're still the characters we know and love.
But what of Scrat, whose only family seems to be the cursed nut he's been after since... forever? ``It's always fun to see how he screws up, says Steve Martino. ``And his screw-ups in ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, of which the global crack-up is only the first, are truly epic.
ABOUT THE CAST
RAY ROMANO (Manny), as Ray Barone on the CBS hit series, Everybody Loves Raymond, was the star of one of the most respected sitcoms in television history and won numerous awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2002. He also received two additional Emmys in 2003 and 2005 for Outstanding Comedy Series as one of the show's executive producers, and shared a 2003 Screen Actors Guild Award(tm) for Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series with the rest of the cast.
He also won People's Choice Awards in 2000, 2001 and 2003 as Favorite Male TV Performer. In 2006, Ray earned his fourth People's Choice Award when the show was named Favorite Television Comedy.
Ray admits that while he always knew he could make his friends laugh, he never gave stand-up comedy any serious thought until one fateful open mic night at a New York comedy club in 1984. Positive response from the audience spurred him to pursue stand-up full time. He performed regularly at comedy clubs across the country, which led to appearances on ``The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and later with Jay Leno, as well as ``Late Night with David Letterman. Letterman recognized something unique in Ray's persona and offered him a development deal with his production company, Worldwide Pants. That association led to ``Everybody Loves Raymond.
Ray made his big screen debut in 2002 as the voice of Manny the wooly mammoth in the 20th Century Fox hit ``Ice Age, and reprised the role in the wildly successful sequels ``Ice Age: The Meltdown and ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Other films include ``Eulogy, ``Welcome To Mooseport (with Gene Hackman), ``Grilled (with Kevin James and Burt Reynolds) and ``The Last Word (with Winona Ryder and Wes Bentley). In 2006, he was the subject of ``95 Miles to Go, a documentary of his life on tour.
He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Everything and a Kite, which was inspired by his comedy. With his brothers Bobby and Rich Romano, Ray wrote the children's book ``Raymie, Dickie, and The Bean: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers, which was nominated for a Grammy(R) in 2006 for Best Spoken Word album. His comedy album ``Live at Carnegie Hall was nominated for a Grammy in 2002.
In 2009, Ray teamed with Mike Royce, a fellow stand-up from New York and writer for ``Everybody Loves Raymond, to create and star in the one-hour series ``Men of a Certain Age for TNT. The series, which also starred Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula, ran for two seasons and won the Peabody Award in 2011.
Ray resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Anna, and their four children.
JOHN LEGUIZAMO (Sid), a multi-faceted performer and Emmy Award winner, has established a career that defies categorization. With boundless energy and creativity, his work in film, theatre, television, and literature covers a variety of genres, continually threatening to create a few of its own.
In 2011, Leguizamo returned to Broadway with his new solo play ``Ghetto Klown, the next chapter in his hugely popular personal and professional story. Directed by Academy Award(R) winner Fisher Stevens, ``Ghetto Klown follows in the unabashed, uncensored, and uninhibited tradition of Leguizamo's ``Mambo Mouth, ``Spic-O-Rama, ``Freak, and ``Sexaholix... a Love Story.
In 2011, Leguizamo also starred in ``Fugly, opposite Rosie Perez and Rhada Mitchell, which he also wrote and produced. ``Fugly stars Leguizamo as a New York comedian whose near death experience forces him to make difficult life choices.
Other recent film credits include ``Vanishing on 7th Street, ``The Lincoln Lawyer, ``Love in Time of Cholera, ``The Happening, ``Righteous Kill, ``The Babysitters, ``The Take and ``Where God Left His Shoes. In addition, Leguizamo appeared in the films ``Miracle at St. Anna, ``Land of the Dead, ``Assault on Precinct 13, ``Sueno, ``Spun, ``Summer of Sam, ``King of the Jungle, ``Spawn, ``William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, ``Dr. Dolittle, ``Carlito's Way and ``Casualties of War - and of course ``Ice Age, ``Ice Age: The Meltdown and ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
For his performance as a sensitive drag queen in ``To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, Leguizamo garnered a Golden Globe(R) nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Leguizamo picked up ALMA Award nominations for his roles in ``Moulin Rouge (Best Supporting Actor) and ``King of the Jungle (Best Lead Actor). He was the recipient of the 2002 ALMA Award for Entertainer of the Year.
In the summer of 2007, Leguizamo returned to television in Spike TV's limited series ``The Kill Point, in which he played the leader of a gang of bank robbers that had recently returned from serving in Iraq. Leguizamo appeared as a guest star in twelve episodes of NBC's cornerstone drama ``ER during the 2005/2006 season, and in 2006 did a guest starring arc on the NBC hit ``My Name is Earl.
In 1991, Leguizamo created an off-Broadway sensation as the writer and performer of his one-man show ``Mambo Mouth, in which he portrayed seven different characters. He received Obie(R), Outer Critics Circle and Vanguardia awards for his performance.
Leguizamo's second one-man show, ``Spic-O-Rama, had an extended sold-out run in Chicago at the Goodman and Briar Street theaters before opening in New York. The play received numerous accolades including the Dramatists' Guild Hull-Warriner Award for Best American Play and the Lucille Lortel Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Broadway Performance. Leguizamo received the Theatre World Award for Outstanding New Talent, as well as a Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance. ``Spic-O-Rama aired on HBO, receiving four CableACE Awards.
``Freak, Leguizamo's third one-man show, ended a successful run on Broadway in 1998. Billed as a Semi-Demi-Quasi-Pseudo Autobiography, ``Freak was described as ``scathingly funny by The New York Times. Along with the Tony(R) Award nominations for Best Play and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, Leguizamo won the Drama Desk and the Outer Critic's Circle Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance. A special presentation of ``Freak, directed by Spike Lee, aired on HBO and earned Leguizamo the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program, as well as a nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.
In fall of 2001 Leguizamo returned to Broadway with ``Sexaholix...a Love Story. Directed by Peter Askin, the play is based on the sold-out national tour, ``John Leguizamo Live! Leguizamo was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and the show received a Tony nomination for Best Special Theatrical Performance. ``Sexaholix aired as an HBO Special in spring 2002 and also toured the country. Additional stage credits include ``A Midsummer Night's Dream and ``La Puta Vida at the New York Shakespeare Festival and Parting Gestures at INTAR.
Leguizamo is also an accomplished author. He recently penned his autobiography Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends, which was released by Harper Collins in October 2006. The New York Times called the book ``brutally funny, while USA Today coined Leguizamo as "one of the most exciting talents to come along in some time."
Leguizamo currently resides in New York City with his wife and two children.
DENIS LEARY (Diego) is a five-time loser at the Academy Of Television Arts And Sciences' annual Emmy Awards. Most recently he lost in the category of Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role as Michael Whouley in HBO's
``Recount. Denis has previously lost four times for Best Actor in a Drama and once for Best Writing in a Drama -- Emmy nominations emanating from his work on FX's critically acclaimed ``Rescue Me. He was also nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe(R) by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the drama, which follows New York City firefighters. Once again - he lost.
Mr. Leary hopes to one day get nominated for - and more than likely not win - an
Oscar, Grammy and Tony Award. In his long and storied entertainment career Denis has also never won The Stanley Cup, The Nobel Peace Prize or an argument with his wife.
JENNIFER LOPEZ (Shira) is an actress, singer, producer and entrepreneur. She has sold over 60 million records worldwide and starred in multiple box office hits, including ``Monster-In-Law and ``The Wedding Planner. In 2001, ``The Wedding Planner opened as the nation's top-grossing film, while her album, ``J.Lo, was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. The two simultaneous No. 1 honors made Lopez the first woman to have a No. 1 movie and album in the same week.
Lopez made her feature debut in the highly acclaimed ``Mi Familia, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her role as the young mother Maria Sanchez. Lopez won widespread acclaim for her work in the title role of ``Selena, which brought her a Golden Globe Award nomination. In 2002, Lopez was awarded ShoWest Female Star of the Year, and in 2006 she received the Women in Film's Crystal Award. Additionally, the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino advocacy group in the nation, named her Entertainer of the Year at the American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards.
Lopez has enjoyed successes in front of and behind the camera, including the feature films ``El Cantante, a drama about the life of salsa legend Hector Lavoe, and ``Bordertown, opposite Antonio Banderas - both of which she produced. Other film credits include Lasse Hallström's ``An Unfinished Life, with Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman; Oliver Stone's ``U-Turn; ``Maid In Manhattan; ``Money Train; Francis Ford Coppola's ``Jack, with Robin Williams; ``Blood and Wine opposite Jack Nicholson; Luis Mandoki's ``Angel Eyes; ``The Cell; Steven Soderbergh's ``Out of Sight, with George Clooney; Michael Apted's ``Enough; and ``Anaconda.
Nuyorican Productions is the Los Angeles-based film, television, and New Media division of Jennifer Lopez Enterprises. Founded by Lopez and her business partner Simon Fields, the production company began as a result of their successful collaboration on the film ``Shall We Dance, which grossed over $200 million worldwide. Presently, Nuyorican has an overall film and television deal at Fox, where the company is developing, with ``Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta, the hour-long dramedy ``The Family Arias.
Nuyorican is in development on an untitled half-hour comedy with writer Grace Parra at MTV, a one-hour drama ``The Fosters with writers Peter Paige and Brad Bredeweg at ABC Family, and ``Whateverland, a half-hour comedy based on the book by Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt, at ABC Studios. Nuyorican is about to start production on a TV adaptation of the hit Scholastic book series Amigas at MTV TRES, the network's first hour-long drama series.
In the non-scripted space, Nuyorican's Lopez-starring bilingual Latin-America talent-search show Q Viva! recently aired on Fox after breaking ratings records on Univision. The company's hit series ``South Beach Tow premiered its second season on February 15th on TruTV, and a crime procedural ``Big Easy Justice began airing in April on Spike. Nuyorican is also in production on the pilot ``Code Enforcers for TruTV.
This fall will see the launch of TBE, an entertainment show and digital extension of the Tiger Beat brand platformed via the highly successful youth-skewing AOL/Cambio online community. Nuyorican is producing in conjunction with Believe Entertainment.
Later this year, Nuyorican will begin production on a big-budget adaptation of ``Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? for Walden Media and Fox, with Lopez starring in the title role. The company is also developing a remake of ``Overboard in conjunction with Sony Pictures, GK Films, and Will Smith's Overbrook Pictures.
Jennifer Lopez partnered with Coty and produced 18 successful fragrances over the past 10 years and was awarded with the ACE Fashion Icon of the Year award in 2006 for her contribution to accessories and the fashion industry.
QUEEN LATIFAH (Ellie) is a musician, television and film actress, label president, author and entrepreneur. Blessed with style and substance, Queen Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. Heralded by the press and the industry as a force to be reckoned with, Latifah has quite simply done it all and shows no sign of slowing down.
Latifah has had amazing success in Hollywood in recent years, and became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award(tm) nomination, all for for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax's ``Chicago. Latifah starred in Disney's box office hit ``Bringing Down the House, on which she also was an executive producer.
In the TV movie ``Life Support, Latifah was both the star and executive producer, in the true-life drama, in which she plays a mother who overcomes an addiction to crack and becomes a positive role model and an AIDS activist in the black community. Latifah received rave reviews as well as an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win. She starred in Neil Meron and Craig Zadan's ``Hairspray, playing Motormouth Maybelle, and was also seen in the film ``Mad Money, opposite Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes.
In Fox Searchlight Pictures' ``The Secret Life of Bees, Latifah starred alongside Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, ``The Secret Life of Bees won the Hollywood Film Award at the Hollywood Film Festival and a People's Choice Award for Favorite Independent Movie in 2009. Queen Latifah starred in the romantic comedy ``Just Wright, which she produced as well. She starred alongside Vince Vaughn and Kevin James in ``The Dilemma, directed by Ron Howard. Recently, she starred in Warner Bros.' ``Joyful Noise, alongside Dolly Parton. Currently, Latifah is filming Lifetime's adaptation of ``Steel Magnolias, on which she is also an executive producer; she takes on the role of M'Lynn starring alongside Alfre Woodward, Phylicia Rashad, and Jill Scott.
Latifah was seen in Wayne Wang's ``The Last Holiday, and starred in MGM's ``Beauty Shop (a spin-off of the hit film ``Barbershop), which she also produced. She also appeared in Marc Forster's ``Stranger than Fiction, opposite Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, and was the voice of the wooly mammoth Ellie, in ``Ice Age: The Meltdown and ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
To most people releasing multiple movies would be enough, but Queen Latifah wasn't satisfied. On September 25, 2007 Latifah released her album titled ``Trav'lin Light, for which she was nominated for a Grammy. Co-produced by three time Grammy winner, Tommy LiPuma, this album was the long awaited follow up to Latifah's highly received and Grammy nominated ``The Dana Owens Album. The latter, a platinum-selling album, was a collection of timeless classics chosen and covered by the Queen herself. As Latifah demonstrated both in ``Living Out Loud (1998) and her Oscar-nominated performance in ``Chicago (2002), her vocal talent is as impressive as her acting. In August 2009 her latest album ``Persona was released. Executive produced by Cool and Dre, Persona brings together the two worlds of Hip Hop and Pop creating a new sound for the Queen.
Queen Latifah is also one of music's most well respected rappers. From her ground breaking 1989 debut ``All Hail the Queen, which set the visual and contextual standard for female rappers, to her bold foray into R&B, Latifah continues to define what a woman in the music industry should be. She has earned six Grammy nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994. In 2004, she was nominated for Best Female Rap Solo Performance for Go Head. In 2005, she was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for ``The Dana Owens Album and in 2008 she was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for ``Trav'lin Light.
And then there's Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner Shakim Compere. Based in New Jersey, it is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing the box office hit ``Bringing Down the House and then continued with ``Beauty Shop and ``The Perfect Holiday. They are also co-producing the action-comedy ``Bad Girls at Paramount with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Overbrook. They have also produced ``The Cookout with Lionsgate, as well as ``Just Wright with Fox Searchlight Pictures. On the small screen, they executive produced HBO's critically acclaimed film ``Life Support.
Flavor Unit Entertainment made a multi-year deal with BET to create original programming including the original movie ``The Cookout 2 and its first-ever scripted romantic comedy, ``Let's Stay Together. Most recently it was announced that Flavor Unit Entertainment's original film ``Single Ladies, which was exec produced by Queen Latifah, would be expanded it into a weekly scripted dramedy series on VH1, the network's first. Recently, Flavor Unit produced Latifah's film ``Joyful Noise. Flavor Unit will produce an untitled female cop drama on CBS alongside ``Criminal Minds producer Charles Murray, as well as a syndicated talk show in 2013, which Latifah will host. Flavor Unit is producing the thriller ``House of Bodies, starring Latifah, Terrence Howard and Peter Fonda.
Latifah made her screen debut in Spike Lee's 1991 film Jungle Fever. She starred in ``Set it Off, which earned her a nomination for a Spirit Award in the Best Actress category, and co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the critically acclaimed ``Living Out Loud. In 1999, she was seen in Universal's ``The Bone Collector, directed by Philip Noyce, starring Denzel Washington.
Latifah's first television series, ``Living Single, was a huge success and is currently in syndication.
In addition to music, film and television, Queen Latifah has also written a book on self-esteem, entitled Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman. Queen Latifah's book Put on Your Crown: Life Lessons from the Queen, was released in May 2010.
Queen Latifah is diligent in her pursuit of excellence, as is evident by the awards she has received for her work in film and music. Her sincere concern for others is revealed by the generous amount of time and money that she donates to worthwhile charitable organizations. Every year, Queen Latifah serves as co-chairman for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Established by her mother Rita Owens to perpetuate the memory of a loving son and brother, the foundations provides scholarships to students who excel scholastically, but are limited in financial resources.
SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT (Crash), a native of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, was discovered at a talent competition in Los Angeles and has become one of Hollywood's most prolific actors, starring in blockbuster comedies such as Universal's ``American Pie quadrilogy, the feature film version of the popular 1980s television series ``The Dukes of Hazzard, ``Road Trip, and the smash comedy hit ``Dude, Where's My Car. opposite Ashton Kutcher.
Scott stars in the independent feature ``Goon, where he plays an outcast who overcomes long odds to lead a team of underperforming misfits to semi-pro hockey glory...beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way. Before that, Scott was seen in the Warner Bros. comedy ``Cop Out for director Kevin Smith, starring opposite Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan; in Universal's ``Role Models; and in TriStar's ``Planet 51, where he was the voice of the alien Skiff.
Scott's other film credits include Richard Kelly's ``Southland Tales, opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar and The Rock; Universal's hit action/adventure film ``The Rundown, where he starred opposite The Rock; MGM's ``Bulletproof Mon, with Chow Yun-Fat; New Line Cinema's thriller ``Final Destination; the DreamWorks sci-fi comedy ``Evolution, directed by Ivan Reitman and also starring Julianne Moore, David Duchovny and Orlando Jones; and unforgettable cameos in Miramax's ``Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and the hit comedy ``Old School, opposite Will Ferrell. Other film credits include ``The Promotion, opposite John C. Reilly; and ``Mr. Woodcock, opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Susan Sarandon. He also lent his voice to the animated films ``Ice Age: The Meltdown and ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Scott currently lives in both Los Angeles and New York.
JOSH PECK (Eddie) began his career as a child actor in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His talents range from acting, comedy, directing and voice over. He is best known for playing Josh Nichols in the Nickelodeon live-action sitcom ``Drake & Josh. Peck is also known for his outstanding performance in as the lead in ``The Wackness, a coming-of-age urban drama with Ben Kingsley, Mary Kate-Olsen, Olivia Thirlby and Method Man.
Peck stars in Screen Gems' upcoming film ``Planet B-Boy, opposite Josh Holloway and Chris Brown, in which Peck portrays a member of a legendary breakdancing team seeking to reclaim its world title. Peck headed to Romania to star in the independent thriller ``The Timber, and before that he filmed the remake of the thriller ``Red Dawn, opposite Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, as well as ``ATM, opposite Brian Geraghty and Alice Eve.
At the age of 14, Peck was offered a role on Nickelodeon's ``The Amanda Show and, at his mother's suggestion, accepted the part and moved to Los Angeles to further pursue an acting career. He appeared on the show regularly.
Peck made his film debut in the 2000 film ``Snow Day, and followed that by starring opposite Alex D. Linz and Zena Grey in the film ``Max Keeble's Big Move. Peck appeared in several independent films, including ``Spun and ``Mean Creek, the latter winning him critical praise. The independent film ``Special
premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Peck was cast as Josh Nichols, opposite Drake Bell, as Drake Parker, in ``Drake & Josh, which began airing in 2004 and gained Peck recognition among young audiences once again. He went on to star in three ``Drake & Josh films, which led to a nomination for Favorite Television Actor at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
NICKI MINAJ (Steffie) knows how female rappers electrify fans; after all she used to be a fan herself. ``I know I was always excited by whatever female was hot at the time, Nicki says.
Today, millions of music fans are now saying the same thing about Nicki Minaj, part comic, part sex symbol and all-the-way lyrical assassin. She has everyone talking about her fiery verse on Kanye West's ``Monster, which also features Jay-Z, as well as her infectious, standout appearances alongside Lil Wayne (``Knockout), Usher (``Lil Freak), Trey Songz (``Bottoms Up), Robin Thicke (``Shakin' It 4 Daddy,), Sean Kingston (``Letting Go), Christina Aguilera (``WooHoo), and as a member of Young Money. All this has catapulted Minaj to the forefront of the music industry.
Her appeal is undeniably intoxicating, which is why her first single ``Your Love, from her debut album ``Pink Friday, hit number one on the Billboard rap charts, a feat last achieved by a female hip-hop artist in 2003. ``Pink Friday features production from the heavy-hitters Will.i.am and Swizz Beatz, among others.
Born in Trinidad and raised in Queens, New York, Nicki had to deal with life-threatening attacks during her childhood. Her father was in the borough's drug scene. He would have violent outbursts and punch holes in walls. Her mother would leave him, only to return after relocating the family multiple times and putting Nicki in an almost untenable position. ``It was just really, really volatile and it made me kind of have a lot of anger issues because I wanted to be able to stop it, to be able to protect my family, but unfortunately I was just a child and I couldn't do anything, she says. ``That always bothered me.
Nicki was able to draw strength from her chaotic home life. ``It gave me this undying drive, she explains. ``Out of everyone that wanted success, I always felt like I wanted it more because my reason for wanting this was never about money or fame. Since I was five years old, I would pray and ask God to make me a successful entertainer, so I could help my mother. It made me just go above and beyond.
Instead, Nicki found herself in a string of dead-end jobs. After becoming disenchanted with her employment opportunities, she decided to pursue her dreams. She began writing raps and was dared by her then-manager to write three freestyles over other people's beats. He was floored. ``From then on, I just always remember having a goal to accomplish, whether it was shooting my first DVD video, putting out my next mix-tape or getting an original song done, Nicki recalls. (Her singles ``Itty Bitty Piggy and ``Still I Rise showcased, respectively, her braggadocio and introspective sides, endearing her to millions of fans around the world.)
Soon after Nicki made a DVD of her songs, Lil Wayne flew her to North Carolina for a meeting. ``I just remember it being the best moment of my life because I never really even knew if I would get mainstream, or if I would ever be recognized by a mainstream person and I'd always been a Lil Wayne fan, so it was like a double whammy, she says.
Lil Wayne was impressed. Though no paperwork was signed at this point, Wayne named-dropped Nicki on his freestyle over Beyonce's ``Upgrade and appeared for the first time with Nicki on ``Can't Stop Won't Stop, the standout selection from her ``Playtime Is Over mix-tape. ``Once I heard Nicki, I knew I had to meet her and once we talked I knew she had to be a part of Young Money, with her skills and her personality, says Lil Wayne.
As Nicki's notoriety began to rise, her vivid personalities began to catch on. Nicki Lewinsky, Nicki the Ninja, Nicki the Harajuku Barbie, and Nicki the Boss each hold their own place in Nicki Minaj's creative, ever-expanding mind. She refuses to be pigeon-holed because she uses people's preconceived notions about female entertainers to her advantage.
Another testament to her astounding cache: Nicki hosted BET's Rip the Runway 2010 and pulled in the highest ratings ever for the show, setting the stage for a performance on the 2010 BET Awards, where she took home trophies for Best New Artist and Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, and for Best Group as a key member of the super-group Young Money. At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards(tm), she stole the spotlight with a show-stealing performance of her duet ``Check It Out with will.i.am.
DRAKE (Ethan), known initially for his role as Jimmy Brooks on ``Degrassi: The Next Generation, was born Aubrey Drake Graham, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Drake stepped out as a rapper and singer with pop appeal in 2006, when he initiated a series of mixtapes. A year later, despite being unsigned, he scored major exposure when his cocky and laid-back track ``Replacement Girl, featuring Trey Songz, was featured on BET's ``106 & Park program as its ``Joint of the Day.
Drake raised his profile throughout the next several months by popping up on countless mixtapes and remixes, and as rumors swirled about contract offers from labels, he gradually became one of the most talked-about artists in the industry. It did not hurt that Drake had support from the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne. By the end of June 2009, ``Best I Ever Had, a promotional single, had climbed to number two on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. After a fierce bidding war, Drake signed with Universal Motown and released an EP (``So Far Gone) made up of songs from his popular ``So Far Gone mixtape. It peaked at number six on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and won a 2010 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year. ``Thank Me Later, featuring collaborations with the Kings of Leon, the-Dream, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne, was issued through Young Money the following year.
PETER DINKLAGE (Captain Gutt) won the 2011 Emmy and 2012 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Tyrion in the HBO series ``Game of Thrones. The acclaimed fantasy-adventure recently concluded its second season.
With his supporting role in Tom DeCillo's ``Living in Oblivion, Peter delivered an open rant to an entire generation of would-be filmmakers, refusing to be used as a gag or a prop - while honoring his craft with an unforgettable fierceness and dignity. Peter got his shot at redefining the concept of a leading man with his starring role in the Sundance Audience Award winner ``The Station Agent, which drew standing ovations at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and was immediately bought and released by Miramax.
After winning Sundance's Dramatic Audience Award, Peter was a SAG Award nominee for Best Actor 2004, an Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best Actor 2004, and was named one of the top five breakout stars of the year by Entertainment Weekly and was prominently featured in People's Sexiest Man Alive issue. He has been extremely busy ever since.
Other feature credits include Jon Favreau's ``Elf, Michel Gondry's ``Human Nature, written by Charlie Kaufman, ``Penelope, a leading role in ``The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, ``St. John of Las Vegas, ``Pete Smalls is Dead, which Dinklage also produced, and Sony's comedy ``Death at a Funeral.
Returning to his theatre roots, Peter starred in a Lincoln Center production on the life of painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for director Martha Clark; the title role in The Public Theatre's critically acclaimed ``Richard III; Charlie Kaufman's ``Theatre of the New Ear, also starring Meryl Streep and Hope Davis; and ``Knickerbocker, at Williamstown.
Peter's television credits include series for HBO, CBS, ABC, and for producers like David Heyman, David Goyer and David Benioff. Peter recurred on the hit show ``Nip/Tuck for F/X and did a guest spot written for him, opposite Tina Fey, on ``30 Rock.
KEKE PALMER (Peaches), at the age of 18, has already established herself as one of the fastest rising young stars of her generation. Her talents span film, television and music.
Palmer recently starred in the movie ``Joyful Noise, opposite Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. Palmer stars in the upcoming Nickelodeon original TV movie, ``Rags, for which she also serves as producer.
Palmer recently starred as the title character in the hit Nickelodeon comedy series ``True Jackson, VP, playing a high-school student tapped to head the youth division of a major fashion label. The series followed the character of True as she navigated through the grown-up corporate world, which had the same highs and lows as high school - complete with cliques, mean girls and crushes -- but with cool perks, like designing for international icons and casting super cute models.
Palmer was seen on the big screen in the Lionsgate drama ``Shrink, in which she starred alongside Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where Keke received rave reviews for her performance.
In 2008 Palmer starred in the Weinstein Co. feature, ``The Longshots. The film was based on the true story of a young female quarterback, played by Palmer, who makes Pop Warner Football history; she starred opposite Ice Cube for first time director and Limp Bizkit front man, Fred Durst. Keke starred opposite Sam Jackson and Eva Mendes in ``The Cleaner, which premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.
Palmer received acclaim when she starred as the title character in the Lionsgate Films/Starbucks Entertainment sleeper hit ``Akeelah and the Bee, opposite Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. In the movie, Palmer played Akeelah Anderson, an 11-year-old girl who participates in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Her breakthrough performance was praised by many film critics and organizations. ``Akeelah and the Bee was listed as one of the National Board of Review's 2006 Top Independent Films of the Year, and received four nominations from the NAACP Image Awards. Palmer won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, as well as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture by the Black Movie Awards. She also received nominations for Most Promising Newcomer from the Chicago Film Critics, Best Actress by the Black Reel Awards, and Best Young Actress from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
On the small screen, Palmer starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie ``Jump In! in January 2007. The premiere broke the network records for an original television movie premiere with 8.2 million viewers and was basic cable's most-watched program for the entire day. Palmer was also featured on the movie's soundtrack and is the only artist with two songs on the album. The soundtrack landed at the top of the charts as the third bestselling album in its first week of release and remained in the top 10 for over a month.
In 2007 Palmer's debut pop/R&B album ``So Uncool dropped for Atlantic Records. In support of the release, she embarked on a twelve city tour with the WNBA, where she performed songs from the album as the half-time special entertainment. She also headlined Disney's 2007 Jingle Jam Tour. Palmer signed a music publishing deal with Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc. in 2007. She is currently working on her sophomore album for Interscope Records.
Palmer began her career at age nine with a small role in the feature film ``Barbershop 2: Back in Business, opposite Queen Latifah. That role led to a series of guest-starring roles on television shows, including ``Strong Medicine, ``Cold Case, ``ER and ``Law & Order. Palmer went on to star in the Emmy-nominated made for TV movie, ``The Wool Cap, opposite William H. Macy. Her performance in ``The Wool Cap earned her a NAACP Image Award Nominations as well as a coveted Screen Actors Guild Award(R) nomination in the Best Leading Actress category, alongside Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank, Glenn Close and Patricia Heaton. This nomination put Palmer in the record books as the youngest actor to ever be nominated by the Guild in a Lead Actor Category.
Her other film & TV credits include the made for television movie ``Knights of the South Bronx with Ted Danson, a pilot for her own show on Disney Channel, ``Keke & Jamal, and the Lionsgate film ``Madea's Family Reunion, starring Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson, and Dr. Maya Angelou.
Palmer currently resides in Los Angeles.
KUNAL NAYYAR (Gupta) is a regular on CBS-TV's ``The Big Bang Theory. He previously had a guest starring role on "NCIS.
During his summer hiatus, Nayyar hosted ``A Tribute to Nerds at the 2011 Montreal Just For Laughs' Comedy Festival.
His theater acting credits include "Huck and Holden" at the Dahlia Theater in Los Angeles, for which Kunal was awarded Best Male Lead in a Play on the West Coast by the Garland Awards, and "Love's Labour's Lost" at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.
Nayyar also penned the critically-acclaimed play, "Cotton Candy," which continues to run in New Delhi.
Nayyar began acting in musicals and plays at a young age. After high school, he left India for the United States, where he majored in business and took acting classes at the University of Portland. In his senior year, he was nominated as the best actor in his play "The Rose Tattoo," and was invited to the American College Theater Festival (ACTF) to compete in an acting competition, where he eventually won the Mark Twain Award for comic brilliance as well as a fellowship to the prestigious Sundance Theater Lab. He went on to receive his Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from Temple University in Philadelphia.
In school, Nayyar played badminton and competed at state level in the region of North India. He is also a fanatical fan of cricket. He is said to have a killer shoulder shimmy. According to Nayyar, Wikipedia says his name means "one who sees beauty in everything" and it comes from a Himalayan bird known as the Painted Snipe.
He was born in London, England, and spent most of his younger years growing up in New Delhi, India. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
STEVE MARTINO (Director) is a pioneer in the field of computer animation. After receiving his undergraduate degree in graphic design in 1981, Martino commenced his graduate work in computer animation at The Ohio State University's Computer Graphics Research Group. This unique environment was one of the first to have computer scientists and artists collaborate to produce animation and develop the tools to advance this young industry. Steve received his Masters degree with a thesis focused on design and storyboarding for computer animation.
Martino was on the frontier of the blossoming industry when he joined Cranston/Csuri Productions in 1983, where he designed, animated and produced computer animation for such clients as ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO and ESPN. Martino's design and animation work led to his personal recognition and the studio's garnering of awards from the Broadcast Designers Association, The International Monitor Awards and numerous film festivals.
In 1987, Martino moved to Los Angeles to help start MetroLight Studios, which gained a reputation for award winning design, visual effects and animation. With Martino as one of the creative directors, MetroLight's work earned the Academy Award in 1991 for visual effects on the film ``Total Recall. That same year, Martino won a Primetime Emmy Award for his direction of the main title graphics for ABC's ``World of Discovery.
Driven by a desire to produce original content and explore interactive storytelling, Martino joined 7th Level Studios in 1994 as the Vice President of Creative. Martino's work with Howie Mandel on the ``Lil' Howie's Fun House series, and his collaboration with Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle on ``Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail and ``Monty Python's The Meaning of Life netted awards and recognition in the field of interactive entertainment.
In 1997, Martino helped start a second studio, Click 3X LA, where he was a partner and Director of Animation. Click 3X LA gained a reputation for the design and production of visual effects and animation for advertising, television, features and Imax films. It was during this time that Martino began directing commercials and leading larger teams of animators in producing character animation for longer form television movies.
Martino came to Blue Sky Studios in 2002 as Art Director for the feature film ``Robots. He collaborated with Chris Wedge and William Joyce to create the movie's wholly imagined, whimsical world for which he received an Annie nomination (Production Design). As ``Robots hit the theaters, Martino was tapped to direct (with Jimmy Hayward) ``Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! The film, starring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett, was released to critical acclaim and box office success in 2008.
MICHAEL THURMEIER (Director) was born in Canada and studied in the world renowned animation department at Sheridan College. Upon graduation, he was hired as an animator at Blue Sky Studios, and worked on special animation for the film ``Fight Club and the television series ``The Sopranos.
Next, Thurmeier was lead animator on the big screen animated hit ``Ice Age, which earned him an Annie award for best character animation. He was supervising animator on the animated feature ``Robots and on ``Ice Age: The Meltdown.
Thurmeier's short film, ``No Time for Nuts, was nominated for a 2007 Oscar, and won the Annie for best animated short. He was supervising animator on the hit animated feature ``Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! and co-director on the global smash ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Thurmeier has projects in development with Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios.
LORI FORTE (Producer, Story) began her career in feature animation at Disney, where she was the creative executive on the Academy Award nominees, ``Toy Story and ``Runaway Brain. During her tenure at Disney, she was also involved with ``The Lion King and ``Pocahontas.
Forte then became a producer for Fox Animation Studios, where she developed several feature film ideas. Having always been fascinated by the Ice Age and by the majesty of its unique creatures, Forte came up with the idea to make a movie that captured that icy world and its extraordinary inhabitants.
A movie franchise was born when ``Ice Age sub-zero heroes Manny, Sid, Diego and Scrat - and their incredible world - arrived in movie houses around the globe. Forte went on to develop and produce the ``Ice Age: The Meltdown and ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and produced the Academy Award-nominated short ``No Time For Nuts (with John Donkin).
Currently, she is producing the animated adventure ``EPIC, directed by Chris Wedge, starring Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Blake Anderson and Judah Friedlander.
Previously, Forte was a development executive at NBC-TV, where she helped develop TV comedy series. Forte then joined Columbia Pictures Television, where she was vice president of comedy development, overseeing a variety of pilots and series, including ``Parker Lewis Can't Lose.
Forte resides in Los Angeles, except during production, when she's at Blue Sky Studios in Connecticut.
JOHN C. DONKIN (Producer) earned an Academy Award nomination in 2003 as the producer of ``Gone Nutty, an animated short created at Blue Sky Studios featuring the popular Scrat character from the ``Ice Age films.
Donkin came to Blue Sky Studios in 1998, as a technical director; one of his first projects was to help complete the company's Academy Award winning short film ``Bunny. He developed the production pipeline for Blue Sky's first animated feature film project, ``Ice Age, before becoming the film's associate producer, managing the production and its 160 person production crew.
Since then, Donkin has produced several other Blue Sky Studios projects, including ``Rio, directed by Carlos Saldanha, which became a global hit, ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, also directed by Saldanha, which grossed over $887 million worldwide, ``Robots, directed by Chris Wedge, Blue Sky's Academy Award nominated short ``No Time for Nuts, and the shorts ``Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty and ``Surviving Sid.
Donkin began his computer animation career in 1983 when he joined the world renowned CGRG (Computer Graphics Research Group) at The Ohio State University. He went on to be a senior animator at the pioneering CG company Cranston/Csuri Productions.
John holds a BFA in Cinematography, and an MA in Computer Animation and Art Education from The Ohio State University. He lives in Katonah, NY with his wife, Teresa, and two children, Alec and Nola.
CHRIS WEDGE (Executive Producer) is an Oscar winning film director, producer, and co-founder of Blue Sky Studios. Beginning his career as a stop-motion animator, Wedge later joined MAGI/SynthaVision, where he was one of the principal animators for the groundbreaking Disney movie ``Tron (1982). He directed the character animation sequences for the Warner Bros./Geffen Films production ``Joe's Apartment (1996), and served as creative supervisor on numerous feature films and commercials.
Wedge wrote and directed Blue Sky's first film, the touching short, ``Bunny (1998), which won an Academy Award for best animated short film. It was the first film to use radiosity, Blue Sky's own advanced ambient lighting technology. In addition to the Academy Award, ``Bunny has won more than 25 international awards for animation excellence. Wedge went on to direct Blue Sky's first two computer-generated animated feature films, ``Ice Age (2002), nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature film, and ``Robots (2005). He was executive producer of ``Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), which has grossed more than $638 million worldwide, ``Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (2008), the first Dr. Seuss CG animated feature film; ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which grossed over $887 million worldwide; and the global hit ``Rio (2011).
Currently, he is directing the animated adventure ``EPIC, starring Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Blake Anderson and Judah Friedlander.
Wedge is a 1981 graduate of the SUNY Purchase film department. He received his Master of Arts degree in computer graphics and art education from the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and at Ohio State University.
CARLOS SALDANHA (Executive Producer), the director of 2011 animated hit ``Rio, has been one of the principal creative forces at Blue Sky Studios since 1993. Saldanha was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 20, 1968. He left his hometown in 1991 to follow his artistic instinct and passion for animation. With a background in computer science and a natural artistic sensibility, he found New York City the perfect locale to merge these skills and become an animator. He attended the MFA program at New York's School of Visual Arts, where he graduated with honors in 1993, after completing two animated shorts, ``The Adventures of Korky, the Corkscrew (1992) and ``Time For Love (1993). The shorts have been screened at animation festivals around the world. At SVA, Saldanha met Chris Wedge, one of the co-founders of Blue Sky Studios, who invited him to join their growing team of artists.
Saldanha was Blue Sky's supervising animator for the talking and dancing roaches in the feature film ``Joe's Apartment (1996). He was also the director of aimation for the computer generated characters in ``A Simple Wish (1997) and ``Fight Club (1999).
In addition to feature projects, Saldanha directed and animated a number of television commercials. ``Big Deal, a spot for Bell Atlantic, won numerous awards, including a 1997 Bronze Clio. In 1999, he won a Gold Clio for animation on ``Re-Incarnated, a Tennents Beer commercial for its 1998 Soccer World Cup campaign in Europe.
Saldanha teamed with Chris Wedge to co-direct Blue Sky's first animated features, ``Ice Age (2002) and ``Robots (2005). ``Ice Age was nominated for an Oscar in 2003. In 2002 Saldanha directed the animated short film ``Gone Nutty, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2004. After the success of ``Ice Age, Saldanha took the directorial reins on ``Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), the third computer-animated feature film from Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios, which was the most profitable animated movie of the year. Next came the even more successful ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which became one of biggest grossing animated films of all time, grossing over $887 million worldwide. The critically hailed and commercial hit ``Rio followed in 2011.
MICHAEL BERG (Screenplay, Story) co-wrote the 2002 Twentieth Century Fox feature film ``Ice Age, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature. He also co-wrote 2009's ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Berg has worked on all four films in the blockbuster ``Ice Age franchise. He also did rewrites on the animated feature ``Robots and the live action hit ``Are We There Yet? starring Ice Cube.
Currently, Berg is working as Dialogue Supervisor on Stage Entertainment's theatrical production, ``Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure, which is set to open in November 2012 in London.
His various studio assignments have included adapting Michael Chabon's novel ``Summerland for Miramax Films and being hired by Illumination Entertainment to adapt Where's Waldo?
Berg received a BA in History from Rutgers College. He attended the American Film Institute's MFA program as a screenwriting fellow. Michael sold his original feature script, ``The New Jersey Turnpikes, to Universal Pictures and was admitted to the Writer's Guild West at the age of 26. He has been an active member of the guild for the last 16 years.
In addition to penning screenplays, Berg has written articles and short stories for magazines such as Details and Rosebud.
JASON FUCHS (Screenplay), age 26, co-wrote the Nick Cannon-produced original television movie musical ``Rags, which premiered on Nickelodeon in the summer of 2012. Most recently, Fuchs adapted Daniel Waters' soon-to-be-released teen supernatural thriller ``Break My Heart 1,000 Times for Gold Circle Films, as well as scripting the action adventure ``The Clock without a Face for the Montecito Picture Company and Paramount, loosely based on the book of the same name. ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT marks his feature film screenwriting debut.
Fuchs is also a Young Artist Award nominated actor. He was most recently seen guest starring on the ABC-TV drama, ``Pan Am and co-starred in the 2010 Sundance hit, ``Holy Rollers, opposite Jesse Eisenberg. Among a number of roles on stage and screen, most notably Fuchs originated the role of Solomon in Stephen Karam's critically acclaimed 2007 play ``Speech & Debate at the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York.
He received his B.A. from Columbia University in Cinema Studies in 2009.
JOHN POWELL (Music) was nominated for a Grammy in 2008 for his work on "Happy Feet."
He received Oscar and BAFTA Award nominations for "Kung Fu Panda 2" and is the recipient of four Ivor Novello Awards for Best Original Film Score from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, for ``Shrek in 2001, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006, ``Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2010 and ``How To Train Your Dragon in 2011.
Among Powell's other recent film credits are ``Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, ``Happy Feet Two, ``Rio, ``Fair Game and ``Knight and Day.
2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Property of Fox.
Permission is hereby granted to newspapers and periodicals to reproduce this
text in articles publicizing the distribution of the Motion Picture.
All other use is strictly prohibited, including sale, duplication, or other transfers of this material.
This press kit, in whole or in part, must not be leased, sold, or given away.