Rosario Dawson (“Unstoppable,” “Percy Jacskson”) stars as veterinarian and eagle expert Kate, the object of zookeeper Griffin’s (Kevin James) affections, in Columbia Pictures wild comedy “Zookeeper.”
In the film, the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kindhearted caretaker, Griffin. Finding himself more comfortable with a lion than a lady, Griffin decides the only way to get a girl in his life is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job. The animals, in a panic, decide to break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk! To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship – animal style.
Dawson's character, Kate, is “a guest veterinarian. She’s coming to the zoo to put up an eagle enclosure and along the way she’s befriended Griffin,” explains the actress. “That friendship ends up becoming an alliance in trying to help him get the girl of his dreams.”
In her role, Dawson got to work closely with Sydney, the eagle. “I really loved working with Sydney; she’s such a beautiful creature,” says Dawson. “She’s a wedge-tailed eagle – she’s very in love with her trainer, Tony. She’s okay with other females around her, but she hates it when any other male is around her.
Working with her, I could imagine why Kate loves what she does so much, and why Griffin and Kate would bond – they’re clearly such animal lovers. The key ingredient to their chemistry is how much they love their jobs.”
Dawson has taken a series of smaller, independent, and dramatic roles recently – meaning that “Zookeeper” marks a bit of a change-up. “I’ve been acting for 15 years and I’ve never done a lot of comedy. I like that you can be doing something for 15 years and still be learning and growing,” she says. “On a comedy like this one, you never just have your lines – you have your second take jokes, third take jokes, fourth take jokes, all to give the director more options in the editing room. I’ve never been a part of that before, and it turns out there’s a whole rhythm to it. You’ve got to keep up or you can be caught off-guard. I was really grateful to Kevin – he was game for helping me along the way. It was a great change of pace to do a silly, loose comedy. [Director] Frank Coraci was a great guide, too – any time I went too deep with my character, he’d say, ‘Remember, it’s funny.’”
“Rosario was just amazing,” comments Coraci. “She’s just so loveable and intelligent and she comes across great. She and Kevin together were really fun – they have great chemistry together. Most of her recent roles haven’t shown off her comedy skills, but she’s great – she’s very, very funny. She’s an amazing dramatic actress who brings so much of the heart to the movie, but she’s also hilarious.”
Opening across the Philippines in September, “Zookeeper” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.sonypictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.