‘Madagascar 3’ Stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock Squirm in Cannes

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada-Pinkett Smith, Jessica Chastain and Martin Short ended up surveying their state of circus attendance

It's hard, at the artsiest film festival of all, to get a bunch of celebrities to talk about their happiest moments as voice actors in a successful cartoon franchise.

So during a half-hour news conference with “Madagascar 3” stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada-Pinkett Smith, Jessica Chastain and Martin Short, they ended up taking a survey on their family's circus attendance. The film involves a European circus.

Schwimmer said he had a one-year-old so, no, he hadn’t gone.

Pinkett-Smith said that she should have gone with her kids, but said she hadn’t.

Short said his kids were in their 50s, so – no.

“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” takes place in European capitals and docks in the port of Monte Carlo, just down the road from Cannes. So the film festival invited the DreamWorks Animated movie to screen out of competition.

Much of the movie action involves joining a European circus, so Cirque de Soleil came up repeatedly. An Albanian journalist asked if they had hired a “circus consultant.” They hadn’t.

It didn’t get any easier with DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg observing sphinx-like from the corner.

Directors Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon and Eric Darnell all spoke winningly of the script by Noah Baumbach and the challenges of bringing the characters Alex, Marty and Gloria back.

And finally McGrath addressed the elephant in the room (pun intended): “Do we deserve to be here?” he asked. “The festival honors all kinds of films,” he allowed.

Yes, that it does.