The "Madagascar" film franchise gains several new characters in the third installment, notably Jessica Chastain, who is a newcomer not only to the series but also to the animation - and comedy - genre.The 35-year-old actress was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 2011 film "The Help" and starred in mainly crime thrillers and drama movies before she was tapped to provide the voice of Gia, a jaguar, in "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted."
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," which was released on Friday, June 8, centers around returning characters Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippopotamus, Melman the giraffe and Marty the zebra, voiced by Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer. The group ends up in Europe and joins a traveling circus.
Chastian's character is one its performers, as is a Russian tiger named Vitaly, portrayed by fellow franchise newcomer and "Breaking Bad" actor Bryan Cranston.
"Gia meets Alex because they're on the run and they're looking for a place to hide and they see this kind of circus train car," Chastain said in an interview provided by studio Paramount Pictures. "And so they try to get in, but the other circus animals and Vitaly they won't let them in because they think they're stowaways and that only circus animals are allowed on the train.""Gia looks out at them all, and she makes the decision after looking them in their eyes that they are circus animals, and she goes to Vitaly and Stefano and says, 'The circus sticks together, bring them on.' So she's kind of the reason why they end up in the circus."
Chastain was in three major films last year - the dramas "The Help" and "The Tree of Life" with Brad Pitt and the spy thriller "The Debt," which starred Helen Mirren. The actress also stars in the crime movie "Lawless" alongside "Dark Knight Rises" actor Tom Hardy, "Tar" alongside James Franco and Mila Kunis, and "To The Wonder" with Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz.
Watch a trailer for "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" below.