KhumbaIt goes without saying that we were completely thrilled to be given the opportunity to email across some questions to British acting legend Richard E. Grant ahead of his role as Bradley the Ostrich in Anthony Silverston’s Khumba: A Zebra’s Tale.

Though his answers are somewhat short and sweet to say the least, it’s always interesting to hear what the great man has to say. Right?

So, how would one prepare for a role when playing an animated ostrich?

Read the script and look at the initial character sketches.

Were you able to see a drawing of your character before voicing him? Is that helpful?

Yes. The drawing gives you an instant idea of what the character is like and is very helpful.

There’s an incredible cast on Khumba – the likes of Liam Neeson, Steve Buscemi, Laurence Fishburne… Did you have much time to hang out together, or was it difficult given the nature of the project?

Never met any of the other actors . Always recorded on your own in a sound studio.

I imagine voice-over work is a less demanding experience, yet more time spent on your own in a booth… But as you’ve done it before in the past, it must something you enjoy?

The great bonus is that you don’t have to get into costume or make up, and the work is done in intensive bursts of recording that take up vey little time compared to the marathon schedule of the animators.

When doing an animation, it’s all about the strength of the voice. Given your wife specialises in such a profession – did you practise with her at all?

My wife has given me much needed advice when required to shout a lot, so that you don’t end up losing your voice.

You have African roots of course, was that something that tempted you in to this project?

I had seen ostriches in game reserves when I was growing up in Swaziland and always amazed at how staggeringly stupid, but strong they are.

Your work mixes between films aimed at adults, and those aimed at the whole family. Is there something really gratifying about making films for the latter?

Being a father means that I have always enjoyed making films that my daughter has been able to watch, so that she understands what I do for a living.

Though Khumba is of course featuring talking animals – it’s a story with very human themes that we can all relate to. Can it ever be a struggle for an actor to connect with such themes given the surrealistic, fantastical nature of the project?

Not at all. Approached the part as though the ‘character’ was completely human in ‘Ostrich clothing’.

It’s director Anthony Silverston’s debut feature film – do you see a bright future for him in this industry?

Hope so.

Next up for you is Queen and Country – how is that one coming along?

It’s legendary director John Boorman’s sequel to Hope and Glory, and his final film. A privilege to work for the great man.

Khumba: A Zebra’s Tale is released on April 11th and you can read our review here