Queen Latifah © 20th Century Fox Studios
Queen Latifah © 20th Century Fox Studios
Queen Latifah © 20th Century Fox Studios

Queen Latifah is an actress, singer, record label president, musician, author and entrepreneur. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Performance for her role as Mama Morton in the Oscar winning movie Chicago.

She joined the Ice Age family for the last movie, Ice Age: The Meltdown as Ellie the Mammoth, who marries Manny and now is having their baby.

What was the biggest challenge for you coming back to play Ellie? Did you look at the previous movie to get back into character?

Ellie, Crash and Eddie © 20th Century Fox Studios
Ellie, Crash and Eddie © 20th Century Fox Studios

This go-round was a lot easier than the last one, because I just came on board on the last film and it was rough at first trying to figure out Ellie’s voice and match it with their idea of what the character, and what the animation, was supposed to be. And I also perform, I sing, I do shows, and so sometimes I’m coming in and my voice is kind of hoarse, and then I had to come back and do it again when my voice was better.

I’m always fighting that challenge of being in the right voice because I’ve been somewhere singing or rapping. For this one, once we found who the character was it was pretty smooth. Ellie is sweet, she’s funny, she’s nurturing and she really cares about the big family. I didn’t really need to watch the last movie because Ellie has grown so much since the last movie, she’s married now and she’s got a baby on the way.

She and Manny got married?

I just assumed we were married, I’m going to go with tradition on this and say they got married first, Mammoth-style, and we’re hitched for life. But she grows so much between the last film and this one, because the last one she thought she was a possum, and she was kind of like a big kid, she wanted to play with her brothers all the time, she hung from a tree by her tail, and now she’s a little more mature.

So it was really about making sure she had that nurturing warmth in her voice. She seems to be a voice of reason, pushing him to go make up with Sid, and if things are wrong, she’s always trying to bring people back together. So it was really just trying to bring that love to the character.

How are both Ellie and Manny handling the prospect of having a baby mammoth?

Manny and Ellie are opposites in the way they’re handling imminent parenthood. Manny is nervous and neurotic, trying to make sure that everything is perfect and safe for the baby. Ellie is more nurturing and begins to assume the mantle of matriarch of this family of friends.

What would you like to see in Ice Age 4?

I’d love to see Sid with a [female slough]. I really would. I could handle two lisps in the movie. I really would enjoy seeing that. I’d love to see something happen with Peaches [their child] growing up, I’d like to see her hit those teen years and start wilding out a little bit, and see what happens. I think there’s a lot to play with us having a daughter now. Kids grow up so fast in these movies, so I definitely would like to see some fun happening around that.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.