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Martin Lawrence Grins and 'Bears' It in "Open Season"

Lawrence Provides the Voice of a 900 Pound Bear in "Open Season"

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Martin Lawrence Grins and 'Bears' It in

Martin Lawrence provides the voice of Boog in Open Season.

© Sony Pictures Animation
Open Season marks the first time actor/comedian Martin Lawrence has provided the voice for an animated character in a feature film. Apparently the experience was a good one for Lawrence who says he's "all ears" when it comes to the possibility of an Open Season 2.

The Appeal of Open Season: “The fact they could put my voice into a big bear and hopefully make him likeable and loveable and energetic and fun, that was interesting for me to see that come along. I was excited about doing the project.”

It didn’t take much for Lawrence to find the right approach to this particular character. “I just tried it. I just kind of threw the voice out there and they said they liked it. ‘You’re right there. You don’t need to do much more than that.’ I didn’t have to over-exaggerate him or under-exaggerate him. I just had to keep him right there. The great thing was they were there to let me know if I was on point or not.”

The Process of Doing Voice Work on Open Season: As with most animated movies, the voice cast of Open Season had to do their work without any interaction from the other actors. “I didn’t even meet Ashton [Kutcher] until a couple of weeks ago,” said Lawrence. “We never were in the same room. The hardest thing about it was that we would do something for one month and then come back four months later and then have to pick up where we left off. That was the hard part where the directors, Jill [Culton] and Roger [Allers], would constantly feed us everything we needed to get us back on track and get our energy where we needed it. It was a lot of fun and when I look at the movie and I look at how me and Ashton’s chemistry is without ever being in the room, I’m amazed at what they have done.”

Improv vs. Sticking to the Script: Lawrence says he didn’t improvise much while working in Open Season. “Not too much… If there was room for it and it needed it, I would try something. I would try and do something that made sense, but I stayed kind of right between the lines because it was animation and it was children. I didn’t want to adlib the wrong thing or whatever.”

Martin added, “I like that. I like the fact that directors are like coaches. They draw up the play and this is what you run. I like that guidance, because I am in unfamiliar territory. For me to act like I know exactly what I was doing and could just adlib anything and whatever… I didn’t want to take that approach. I wanted to trust in my partners and the directors and producers and do the best I can to deliver what I could deliver.”

Martin Lawrence on the Message of Open Season: “The message is heart, courage, finding friendship. You know what I mean? Being out of your element and learning how to adapt to a situation that is unfamiliar to you. It’s just a movie about a lot of heart and tenderness.”

Next Up – Wild Hogs: Lawrence co-stars with John Travolta, William H Macy and Tim Allen in the comedy movie, Wild Hogs. Lawrence says each of his Wild Hogs cast mates brought something unique to the mix. “They all bring something different to their characters and who they are as people. Tim is a jokester. He loves to joke all the time, but talking to him he’s one of the most genuine guys I’ve met and talked to. And John is probably by far one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the business. You know what I mean? And William H. Macy is a class act and very professional. He’s so talented as an actor - it’s just minutes before he gets his Oscar.”

Lawrence says he believes Wild Hogs is aiming for a PG-13 rating. “I’m not sure exactly. I think it’s going to be somewhere in there, but it’s a good movie - a fun movie. Those are my new partners: John, Tim and William H. Macy. Those are my new partners, my riding buddies. We rode all over New Mexico. We had so much fun. Hell, I should have paid them to do the movie.”

Lawrence admits his riding skills weren’t that great when he first signed on to Wild Hogs. “I’m a little bit better now. We got to ride everywhere and then we had to do scenes were we were crossing each other and parking the bikes and things like that. I got to learn a lot, actually.”

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