On the final day of filming for the second “National Treasure” movie, producer Jerry Bruckheimer approached star Nicolas Cage with a question: Do you want to be a guinea pig? An odd query, no doubt, especially since “Treasure” keeps its focus on American history-spanning adventures rather than portly rodents.
But Bruckheimer was already in the midst of gearing up for another project — a 3-D Disney saga involving an elite team of animal secret agents called “G-Force” — and he wanted Cage to lend his voice to one of the characters.
“I wasn’t going to play a guinea pig,” Cage told MTV. “That wasn’t going to happen.”
Bruckheimer said he could play whichever creature most appealed to him. Cage, who was feeling the strain of the intense “Treasure” shoot, asked if could use a humorous, high-pitched voice he often employed to relieve tension — a voice he was actually trying out on the “Treasure” set.
“The voice was what I call my frustrated, stressed voice,” Cage explained. “This is a voice that I sometimes resort to if I’m feeling just that. And it’s an octave or two higher than my normal voice — this way I don’t resort to profanity or yelling. And I start talking in that voice, I just immediately start laughing because it’s so stupid and so ridiculous that I can’t help but not take anything too seriously.”
The producer gave Cage the OK, and that’s how the actor came to voice Speckles, a star-nosed mole who happens to be a computer and information specialist.
“G-Force” is a live-action and CG-animation hybrid — the humans and the settings are real, while the furry little creatures are computer-generated bundles of wacky, world-saving fun. The story follows the U.S. government-trained animal-agents as their unit is shuttered, they’re shunted off to a pet store and then must escape so they can stop an evil gazillionaire from conquering the planet. American history it ain’t.
Joining Cage are the voice talents of Sam Rockwell, Penélope Cruz, Jon Favreau and Tracy Morgan. To prepare for the role, Morgan joked that he studied Luke Skywalker and the movie adaptation of the children’s book, “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.”
Why? Dedication to his craft and a commitment to honoring the mighty, roly-poly rodents of the animal kingdom.
“Guinea pigs have made great contributions to the world!” Morgan declared. “They invented the straightening comb! And corn on the cob!”
Check out everything we’ve got on “G-Force.”
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