Jerry O'Connell

Kangaroo Jack

Interviewed by Alana Lee

Actor Jerry O'Connell has had a varied career since making his debut in Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me" in 1986. As well as roles in "Jerry Maguire", "Scream 2", and "Mission to Mars", he's also directed an episode of TV sci-fi series Sliders and has just co-written the romantic comedy "First Daughter", which is to be helmed by Forest Whitaker. Now he's starring with Anthony Anderson in the Jerry Bruckheimer family flick "Kangaroo Jack".

What possessed you to make a movie with a kangaroo?

First of all, that guy Bruckheimer. You know, if Jerry Bruckheimer calls you up and says "I want you to do a movie", you don't say "Let me call you back on that". You go, "Sir, yes sir!" It was a lot of fun. We were out in the Australian Outback. I'm a guy from New York City and I don't get to do this sort of thing much. So it was definitely an experience I wanted to be a part of.

Did you have any close calls with any of the kangaroos?

Yeah. They're crazy animals. Any time you're near a kangaroo, it's a close call. They're looking at you like, "I'm going to get you! I'm going to get you!" They kick. They punch. They're wild animals. I've worked with dogs before and they'll sit and they'll roll over. With kangaroos, you say "Sit!" and they start boxing with you. They're nuts!

What about working with Christopher Walken? We hear you do a great impression of him...

Working with him was scary - but in a good way! He's the most rehearsed actor I have ever met. It was inspiring, really. He was so hard-working and he tried to elicit reactions from us, and you get to see that in some of the scenes.

What about working with the animals? Obviously there was CGI used for the kangaroo, but you must have had some close contact with real animals for this?

We were up close with all the animals - kangaroos, camels, emus, the dingos. They're like children. They're unpredictable. But they're cute, and it was fun.

What did you like about the story?

It's a buddy picture. Anthony Anderson is a good friend of mine, so working with him was great. How could I say no? With Jerry Bruckheimer, you know you'll get your money's worth. You're getting huge action sequences, it's going to be funny, and you know it's going to look great. Throw Anthony and me in there, and hopefully you get a great movie!