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Peaches, born to Mannie and Ellie in ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,’ is now a teenager and runs into all of the problems associated with being one. Her mother seems to understand her much better than her father.
Manny’s better half, Ellie, is an oasis of stability amid Manny’s frantic parenting. (Ellie’s calm remains unruffled by her two trouble-prone “brothers,” possums Crash and Eddie, again voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck.) “Ellie and Manny balance each other,” says Queen Latifah, who returns as Ellie, having previously voiced the role in “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” “Manny is overprotective; Ellie is a little more relaxed and nurturing because she understands what Peaches is going through, especially with her crush on boys. As a teenager, everything seems like it’s the end of the world, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change.”
Despite her mom’s best efforts, Peaches, voiced by actress-singer Keke Palmer, rebels against Manny’s strict rules. “Peaches is going through some pretty mammoth stuff,” puns Palmer. “She’s ready to get out there and experience new things – and discover boys.” According to producer John C. Donkin, “Keke has her own attitude, along with some of the sass of Queen Latifah, and the warmth you find with Ray Romano.”
Peaches’ biggest conflict with her dad stems from the increasing amount of time she’s spending with her teenage friends, especially Ethan, the Big Mammoth on Campus, voiced by hip hop sensation Drake. For Drake, working on ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ was akin to joining a new family, and, as he puts it, “being on a big emotional roller coaster ride. I am thrilled to be part of it.”
No dad – two-legged or four-legged – will be surprised that Manny thinks Ethan isn’t good enough for Peaches. “You know,” says Romano, “when your daughter brings home a boy mammoth, you’re only going to think bad things and not like him.” Still, Romano admits that sharing the screen with Drake gives him “some major street cred,” as does working with rapper Nicki Minaj, who plays Steffie, one of the mammoth “It Girls,” and Peaches’ romantic rival for Ethan’s affections; and “Glee’s” Heather Morris, who portrays another teen mammoth, Katie.
Minaj, one of today’s brightest musical talents, notes that Steffie will do anything to hold on to her mammoth. “When she finds out that Peaches is after Ethan, she does what any stand-up woman would do – be really jealous and nasty,” says Minaj.
Heather Morris’ Katie, another cool, Ice Age teen, has a distinctive look. “She is blond-haired and wears flowers in her hair,” says the “Glee” star. “And she gets to hang out with Steffie/Nicki Minaj!”
Outside this teenage in-crowd is Peaches’ closest friend, a mole hog (a kind of prehistoric meerkat) named Louis, voiced by Josh Gad, who stars in the smash Broadway hit “Book of Mormon.” Louis is a loyal pal to Peaches – he wishes it were more that friendship – but as Gad notes, “In the hierarchy of this high school-like environment, Louis would be the one everyone bullies.” Even Manny belittles the poor guy, calling him “Wiener,” which, adds Gad, “I think is derogatory even in mammoth-speak.” But Louis’ inner courage could change everything…