Eric Darnell will direct the DreamWorks Animation sequel from a script by Noah Baumbach
Frances McDormand is taking on her first animated movie, as the Oscar-winning actress has been tapped to voice the villain in DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar 3," the studio has confirmed to TheWrap.
Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith are set to return to the family-friendly franchise, which follows a rag-tag group of animals who escape a New York zoo and wind up on the titular island off the African coast.
Eric Darnell will direct the latest sequel, which sees the animals reunite to find their way home by joining a traveling circus.
McDormand will voice a calculating and goal-oriented animal control officer set on capturing the creatures.
In an attempt to expand the ethnic flavor of the group, screenwriter Noah Baumbach will introduce several new characters, including an Italian sea lion, a Russian tiger and a Latina jaguar, though the nationalities could still change due to the fluid nature of the pain-staking animation process.
Mireille Soria and Mark Swift are producing the picture.
Darnell previously co-directed the first two "Madagascar" movies, which together have grossed more than $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office. The franchise has also spun-off into TV with "The Penguins of Madagascar," which itself spawned a comic book written by David Server and Jackson Lanzing.
McDormand is attached to star in and produce HBO's adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Olive Kitteridge," and she's also producing a big-screen adaptation of Laura Lippman's crime novel "Every Secret Thing." The "Fargo" star and wife of director Joel Coen will soon be seen in Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
McDormand is represented by WME and D/F Management, and her casting was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.