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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 ‚ÄúIce Age‚ÄĚ adventure, has reaffirmed his place as the herd‚Äôs tough guy. Diego scoffs at the notion that hanging out with Manny‚Äôs family has softened him. ‚ÄúI happen to be a relentless assassin!‚ÄĚ he roars.
But it wouldn‚Äôt be an ‚ÄúIce Age‚ÄĚ film if big changes weren‚Äôt in store for our three heroes, including Diego, who meets his match ‚Äď and maybe more ‚Äď in a female sabre named Shira, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, one of today‚Äôs biggest cross-over stars. Given this important new figure in Diego‚Äôs life, it‚Äôs not surprising that when asked about the story for ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift,’ Denis Leary, who returns as Diego, jokes: ‚ÄúThe story? Diego gets a love interest, played by J-Lo. I think there‚Äôs a more intricate plot, but basically that‚Äôs the most important thing.‚ÄĚ
Leary insists it‚Äôs about time Diego found someone to share his life with. ‚ÄúIt took only four ‚ÄėIce Age‚Äô movies for me to get a love interest. Believe me, when making the first ‚ÄėIce Age,‚Äô I didn‚Äôt look down the road and think, you know, Diego‚Äôs going to get a girlfriend and it‚Äôs 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!‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs initial encounters are as foes who go toe-to-toe ‚Äď and sabre-to-sabre ‚Äď against one another. They are equally matched. ‚ÄúDiego has never encountered anyone like her before,‚ÄĚ says Michael Berg. Adds Steve Martino: ‚ÄúShira is a femme fatale; she‚Äôs sharp, fast and intelligent. But they‚Äôre 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.‚ÄĚ
According to Jennifer Lopez, who joins the ‚ÄúIce Age‚ÄĚ family as Shira, Diego and Shira are destined to join forces. ‚ÄúThe two characters have a similar backstory,‚ÄĚ she explains. ‚ÄúDiego left his pack of sabre-toothed tigers in the first film, and Shira had left hers because she didn‚Äôt like the pack mentality. Shira felt like she didn‚Äôt 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.‚ÄĚ And as we all know, Diego can be very convincing.
Lopez was excited about joining the ‚ÄúIce Age‚ÄĚ team, especially as an empowered figure. ‚Äú’Ice Age: Continental Drift’ is a poignant, fun, exciting and sweet story, and I love playing strong female characters like Shira,‚ÄĚ she explains.
The filmmakers were thrilled to get the multi-talented actress-singer-‚ÄúAmerican Idol‚ÄĚ judge onboard. ‚ÄúPlaying a character in an animated film is about more than just the actor‚Äôs voice,‚ÄĚ says producer Lori Forte. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs about the attitude, and Jennifer really brings it.‚ÄĚ
The film also makes use of Lopez‚Äôs singing talents, as she joins her fellow pirates (including Peter Dinklage, Nick Frost, Aziz Ansari, and Alain Chabat) in a sea shanty, ‚ÄúMaster of the Seas,‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúWe Are (Theme from ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’),‚ÄĚ written by Ester Dean.
Image Courtesy of¬†¬† Ice Age Movie