'Madagascar', stepping stone to Cannes glory: Ben Stiller

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It may only be as a talking lion, but Ben Stiller joked on Thursday that coming to Cannes with the cartoon romp "Madagascar" could be a stepping stone to arthouse glory.

"To have my voice in a film at Cannes is a first step to actually being here in a movie!" the US actor quipped at a press conference before the red-carpet premiere of the billion-dollar zoo escape caper's third instalment.

Stiller was in the Riviera city with most of the star-studded cast of the 3D animation movie, including "Friends" star David Schwimmer and comedian Chris Rock who quipped that he was in it for the fun -- "And cash!"

Elaborating on his soft spot for the cartoon genre, Rock said: "I've been at movies with my kids -- the kids get fidgety and I'm like, 'I'm not going until I find out what happens to this bear!'"

"Madagascar's" original voice cast are joined this time by "Tree of Life" star Jessica Chastain as the svelte jaguar "Gia".

"I started in repertoire theatre doing all kinds of plays, and I want to be the kind of actress who does all types of films," Chastain said. "There's the challenge of trying to express yourself with just your voice, not your face or body."

After escaping from New York's Central Park Zoo to seek out their African roots, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" sees its heroes set course for home -- but take a detour via Europe where they land in a travelling circus.

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