Bee Movie Premiere Report

Seinfeld and co hit the capital

Bee Movie Premiere Report

by Glen Ferris |
Published on

It’s a movie. It’s about bees. It’s called Bee Movie. So, Leicester Square was, ahem, buzzing as the stars of DreamWorks’ latest animated effort took to the rain-sodden grass carpet to celebrate its European premiere.

“It was fantastic out there,” says Jerry Seinfeld, star, co-writer, co-producer and bona fide comedy god. “I can’t believe how people in this town just ignore the rain. They don’t even look up.”

The English weather aside (it’s all the foreign premiere folk ever seem to want to talk about), Seinfeld was keen to show us the honey (sorry) with his long-awaited movie debut.

“The thing with animated movies is that each one outdoes the one that came before because the technology keeps getting better. This one has a brightness and a colour that I think is going to be new for the audience.”

The movie in question finds Seinfeld voicing Barry B Benson, a honeybee fresh out of college who can’t face the idea of spending his life on the daily pollen-collecting grind. So he takes off, meets a friendly florist (voiced by Renee Zellweger) and discovers that, shock horror, humans are selling honey for their own profit. Naturally, Barry does what any self-respecting Bee would do in this situation and sues the human race.

It’s a typically skewed idea from one of the world’s most innovative funny-men. The reason for Seinfeld’s involvement, however, is fairly simple.

“The bee is just a fun little fella that I think just hasn’t got his proper credit for doing such a good job for us all these years. It seemed like he needed a little PR boost.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg, the K in DreamWorks SKG, and an old hand at knocking out smash-hit animation, simply relished the chance to get Seinfeld back behind the camera. Well, sort of.

“Jerry was a dream come true for me,” he says. “Like tens of millions of people, week in week out, I watched that TV show and just thought it was the funniest comedy on television. I was dying to figure out a way I could work with him.”

Katzenberg lauded Zellweger’s contribution to the film.

“She’s great. We had such a great time with her on Shark Tale, which was a big success for us. She has such a beautiful voice, such a great melody, and having her and Jerry together was just incredible chemistry.”

So does he think it’s a formula that could bring in the gold come Oscar night?

“I’ve been doing this a lot of years and I think the Academy knows its own mind,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a lot of politicking, I think they know what they like and they never cease to surprise me. It’s unpredictable so I’ve given up trying to be predictive about it. We put our best foot forward and leave it to them.”

Trying not to cough the word ‘Ratatouille’ under our breath, it only seemed right to ask about DreamWorks Animation’s busy 2008 slate.

“Well, we’ve got Kung Fu Panda which comes out next summer,” he says. “It’s got Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan. It’s absolutely amazing, I’m really excited about it, I think it’s going to be our next big franchise.

“Then there’s Madagascar the sequel, which comes out this time next year, and we’ll back here with the whole gang, in what I’m sure will be beautiful weather like this, talking about it.”

Another set of A-list names signing up to do the voice-lending thing, then. So what’s the attraction to animation for such big stars?

“You know what? Animated movies are today among the best movies being made, year in year out, and great talent really likes to be in great films. The writing is outstanding and the directing is outstanding, they’re proud of it.

“Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, they’re all excited to be back. I can say the work is incredible and I think it’s going to be even better than the first.”

But that’s then and this is now and it’s all about the little black-and-yellow-striped fellas – does Seinfeld reckon they’d enjoy the flick?

“We hope so,” he says. “So far we haven’t had any bees come to the movie, we await their feedback.”

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