24Wired: Ice Age: Continental Drift is your third movie with Queen latifah involved. Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with her?
Keke Palmer: It’s very much a mother-daughter-y, aunty-type of relationship. She’s awesome. Any positive things that you would think about Queen Latifah are 100% on. She’s very lovable… just a cool personality. Kind. The first movie that I did with her, I had a very small part playing her niece, and she’s always remembered me ever since then. When I moved to California and I would be at award shows and all that type of stuff, she would always acknowledge me. We just have a really cool relationship and I was really excited when I knew I was going to be doing Ice Age with her.
24Wired: You’ve had some voice acting experience already with Winx Club cartoon show.
Palmer: Ice Age was actually before that. Winx just happened to come out before it because Ice Age took two years to make.
24Wired: So how did you get involved with Winx Club?
Palmer: I just had a relationship with Nickelodeon from the TV show I did with them, True Jackson. They had this Winx Club cartoon coming out and they thought that I’d be good for that for the little sassy character in that show. I thought that it’d be great, so I joined in.
24Wired: So what was it like doing voice work for the first time with Ice Age?
Palmer: Very different, but also exciting. I had to tap into a different part of myself as an actor because I usually do live action and this time all I had was my voice to express all of these different emotions. It was different for me, especially with all of the imagination stuff like falling down a cliff or doing a natural sigh or just a little voice step that happens with no lines. Because you don’t really realize that you do it in real life.
24Wired: How did you go about bridging the gap in your experience?
Palmer: The directors. They really helped me visualize things. Sometimes they would have little graphic bits of maybe what the scene would look like. A lot of times they didn’t, so they would have to go off their own imaginations and you know, kind of put me in that state of mind. I didn’t feel embarrassed. They always told me to relax and made me feel confident about it, and that always helps, when you feel like you’re not an idiot.
24Wired: With True Jackson, VP, you were in a unique position as a woman of color leading a kids’ show on a major channel. Do you ever feel the pressure of representing black girls instead of just yourself?
Palmer: I guess it is pressure, but for me, I always took on that pressure to make myself a better person. To try my best to set an example. Never saying that I’m perfect. I will make mistakes, but I always wanted to set the example that I learn from mistakes that I do make. A lot of times some people think that’s too much, but it works for me. I want to be somebody that young girls can look up to, and if I can set an example, and if I can help support my generation, then that’s what I want to do.
24Wired: You were in Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion. Do you have a relationship with Tyler Perry at all now?
Palmer: Well, it’s not like I’m on the phone like, “What’s up, Tyler?” [laughs] Not like that, but we support one another. I go and see all of his movies, and whenever I see him, he’s happy to see me.
24Wired: Fair enough. Would you mind telling us about Virgin Mary?
Palmer: Virgin Mary is an independent film that I’m really excited to do. I’ll be with Abigail Breslin, and it’s pretty much a coming of age story about young teens approaching adulthood and all of the things that come with it. Thoughts about sex, thoughts about relationships, the future, all that type of stuff.
24Wired: This is the first movie in which you’re playing a principal role, and there’s the mention of sex at all. Has there been a stark transition for you into a little bit more of an adult genre here, or does it feel natural?
Palmer: Well, a lot of times when you do kids’ shows, even though you’re playing a teenager, it’s a more brighter side of a teenager. It’s not necessarily the most realistic version of a teenager. So when I did True Jackson, I made it as real as possible, but usually you don’t come across a fifteen year old that is a fashion designer, that has no problems, no worries [laughs]. I would say that this [movie] is a more realistic depiction of teenagers. Not every teenager, but a lot of different teenagers. This is actually a more real depiction–not because there’s a mention of sex, but just because kids aren’t stupid. Sixteen-, seventeen-year-olds, they’ve heard of it and they’re curious about it.
24Wired: What’s next for you after that project?
Palmer: I don’t know, I just go where the wind takes me. Whatever new roles come up and ideas that I have and things that I want to create, I just go for it. I don’t want to say I’d never make a timeline because I do have organized thoughts and things that I want to do but I feel that if I move too quickly, and say ‘this by this time,’ then you just set yourself up for a disappointment. I just work towards my goals, and get them done when I can, but I’m also excited about Ice Age.
24Wired: Would you mind saying a bit about your character in the movie?
Palmer: I play Peaches, who was born in the last Ice Age movie. She’s Manny’s and Queen Latifah’s character’s daughter. She’s 16 years old and just really just trying to find her way. She has a crush on this Ethan character who’s played by Drake, and it’s kind of just how she grows. Besides her being a mammoth, she’s your average 16-year old girl that’s just trying to find who she is, and make the right choices and be a good person.
24Wired: Were you able to meet Drake at all during voice recordings?
Palmer: Well, I actually knew him outside of Ice Age. So yeah, it was really cool to actually do a project with him because for a long time, we were trying to get him on True Jackson, and we could never find a way to get him on because of all of the touring he was doing, but he’s a really cool and good friend of mine. I remember when he was doing Degrassi, I was visiting [while I was] shooting a movie in Vancouver. And I would go and see him, and for my 16th birthday, he did this video for me like, “My girl Keke. You know me as Aubrey, but everybody else these days knows me as Drake,” and all the girls [around me] started screaming. I was like, ‘oh God.’ But yeah, I was happy that we got to do stuff together.
24Wired: Do you have any thoughts on the Chris Brown-Drake controversy?
Palmer: I was kind of like “wow, I don’t know what to think about that.” You never know the truth to any of that stuff. All intents and purposes, somebody could’ve made the whole thing up. I mean, I guess there’s truth to every story, but until I talk to either of them and ask them–which I wouldn’t do because it ain’t none of my business [laughs]–but if I did do that, then I would believe what they said, and not what I’ve read. All I know is that my name’s Bennett and I ain’t in it.
Photos courtesy of IMDB, Enterteenment News, and Nick.com.