Well I was about to be expelled from school, I had been arrested and a teacher said: “Why don’t you try acting, instead of distracting the class? Why don’t you use your comic talent for something more productive?” My maths teacher suggested I do comedy and I decided to have a go. I pursued it after that. I was about 17.
It’s been great, I have to dig deep for really raw emotions and at the same time I have to use my intellect to say the ridiculous medical jargon while acting and treating a patient and then I have to try to have a personality and emotions as well. So it is definitely hard work.
Acting is kind of a calling for me so I’m just happy to be there and do great work.
I keep my kids out of the whole business entirely. Allegra and Lucas are five and six and I’m not interested in them doing any acting at all. I don’t want my kids in show business. I keep them as far away from my work as possible.
I was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken when my math teacher said, “You’re failing in school, you’re messing up, why don’t you just try this?” I said, “Alright, let me try it,” and I started going to acting classes and I loved it. I thought, “I may not make it but I love doing it.”
The message is one of the beautiful things about the film. And I think part of the appeal is simply that they are prehistoric creatures, they are no longer around and that makes them magical and makes us feel quite emotional, because we know that those creatures did not survive in the long run, so there’s poignancy in their fight for survival.
I really love it, I love working with directors that are very collaborative and allow me input. I’ve done over 75 films, it’s just like you’re an apprentice. You learn so much about camerawork, lenses, and I’m always talking about DPs and directors and they always give me lists. I think pretty soon, I’ll be ready to move away from being in front of the camera.
We see them [animals] as the Ice Age is ending and we know that actually in the long run, they’re not going to make it. And there’s something beautiful about that, beautifully sad. The way the characters are woven together in the film adds to the emotion because they need each other. The message is that it doesn’t matter what species you are, you can still love each other and that is a fantastic message.
It used to be trained professionals doing animation and they were great. Now they have celebrities and famous actors doing the voices, but that does not always work. But I think this film turned out really well, partly because the three of us (me, Ray and Denis) are comedians who are used to doing solo acts and doing certain types of voices. The three of us are New York guys, we all came up the same way in the profession and we are all edgy and enjoy doing family movies. It was a good combination I think.
I love independent films, it’s the only place as an actor you’re totally allowed to breathe.
I think Brad [Furman] crafted an amazing film [The Infiltrator]. It’s so complex, it’s incredibly thrilling, incredibly touching and it’s what people have been trying to do for years in Hollywood, is to try to capture what it’s like to be undercover, what is that duality of life? And I think that Brad really caught that.
At Murry Bergtraum [High School] if you were really funny you sat at this table at with all of the funniest dudes, the toughest, the coolest – everybody sat at that table. It was like the ghetto Algonquin Round Table. [Comedy] was my entry, my membership card.