Keke Palmer: Everything is Just “Peachy”
By: Lynn Barker
You know Keke from her recent leading role in the popular film Joyful Noise and her Nickelodeon roles in “True Jackson” and the TV movie “Rags”. When she was little she made a big impression in the movie Akeelah and the Bee.
Starting July 13th you can catch pretty 18-year-old Keke as the voice of little Peaches, the teen wooly mammoth daughter of Manny and Ellie in Ice Age: Continental Drift. By fun coincidence, Queen Latifah is her mom both in this film and the movie Joyful Noise.
Kidzworld: Hi! Where are you calling us from?
- Keke: I’m in Vancouver shooting a Lifetime TV movie called “Abducted”. It’s the Carlina White story ( a young woman who solved her own kidnapping case and was reunited with her biological parents 23 years after being stolen as a baby).
Kidzworld: Wow, that’ll be dramatic. Good for you. Had you seen the other Ice Age films growing up?
- Keke: No, I had not. My little brother and sister did.
Kidzworld: How did you get approached to voice cute little Peaches the mammoth?
- Keke: My agency happens to represent a lot of the people who’ve done Ice Age. They were looking for the new character and my agency pitched me to them and they liked that idea.
Kidzworld: Since you hadn’t seen the Ice Age films, did they show you some pictures of her?
- Keke: Yes they did. She’s a teenager. She’s 16.
Kidzworld: So, sounds like you just thought of yourself as a human teen when doing the voice. How did they describe this teen mammoth to you?
- Keke: Yes, exactly and she has a little bit of her mom’s (Queen Latifah) stuff but she’s an average teenage girl who is trying to find her own way. She’s starting to have crushes on boys. Her dad Manny (Ray Romano) is having a hard time letting her go. But, she’s the normal teenage girl trying to be herself. She’s just mammoth-like.
Kidzworld: Did you recognize any of your own gestures or movements in Peaches once you saw the finished movie?
- Keke: [laughs] Yes! I definitely could see that little eye movements she made were similar to me. It’s really funny. They have little cameras there when you are recording but you’re not thinking about that in the moment. So, it was really cool for me to see that.
Kidzworld: They often record the voices for these animated films over a long period of time. Was it like that for you?
- Keke: Yeah. I was sixteen the first time I recorded for it. You do your one session and then a little while later they say “Hey we need you to come in for another session.” Sometimes it’s new lines. Sometimes it’s the exact same lines but they want it said a different way. Or, sometimes they think it would be better if you were louder or had more attitude. In the course of all that you pretty much can do what you want.
Kidzworld: Now Queen Latifah is your mom Ellie in this and in Joyful Noise. Did you ever record voices with her in the same studio?
- Keke: One time Queen and I were both shooting Joyful Noise and we both had to go right then and record in Atlanta. We went to a studio there. We weren’t usually recording together but we’d go to set for Joyful Noise and talk about it. She told me, “I definitely feel like you are a part of my family now with all these times I’ve played your family member.”
Kidzworld: That’s really sweet. Who is your favorite Ice Age character?
- Keke: I really like Diego (the sabre-tooth tiger voiced by Denis Leary). I like his attitude so he might be my favorite.
Kidzworld: What song did you record for the soundtrack?
- Keke: It’s called “We Are” and we recorded it in California. It was written by Ester Dean and a lot of the other cast members were in it too like Drake and Nicki Minaj and Wanda Sykes did little funny stuff on it. They all did. I was clearly excited to be a part of Ice Age but then knowing all the people that were in it, that just upped the ante for me, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez. I was so excited.
Kidzworld: Are you trying to balance your music with acting? What is winning?
- Keke: I’m definitely trying to balance them out. I’m not trying to push one more than the other but I am trying to do more with my music. If acting needs me, then I’ll be there but I’m putting more effort into my music. More than before.
Kidzworld: Any music touring plans in your future?
- Keke: Definitely. I just finished my mix tape and I’m working on a single and a video that will be premiering soon. I want to get my music out there.
Kidzworld: Are you planning to do more TV films like “Rags”?
- Keke: Well, I’m doing this TV movie now (in Vancouver) but I’m moving into the more young adult stage. “Rags” was kind of my last hurrah with that (younger stuff) especially since I also produced. I was stepping into being behind the scenes as well as being an entertainer. I had known Nickelodeon for a long time so I wanted to do that with them.
Kidzworld: Two-parter: Who would be your ideal music artist to collaborate with and your ideal actor to co-star with?
- Keke: There are a lot of people. I’d love to do music with Drake, Brandy, Nicki. For acting I would love to act with Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Will Smith. Love him.
Kidzworld: Do you have a fave designer you like to wear? How would you describe your style?
- Keke: My style is young meets a little classic. I try not to dress too matronly. I like to be covered up but classy. I like Stella McCartney.
Kidzworld: What is your pet dating peeve?
Keke: This (I hear her making smacking and chewing sounds on the phone.. very funny). Smacking when they’re eating drives me insane and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be like “You are definitely smacking”. I don’t want to come off like a big brat but you sound louder than the noises in the restaurant.Ice Age poster
Kidzworld: Definitely not cool on a date! How would you describe making the transition from being a child actor to young adult?
- Keke: You just keep on rolling but make smart choices. Not jumping full force into anything. “Hey, I’m gonna now jump into being an adult”. You don’t move from being a child star to playing a prostitute. Not something you can swing right into. Take your time. A lot of the roles that I’ve done in the past, a lot of my “kid” stuff has been coming of age stories and that’s right at home because the audience sees that I’m coming of age in my characters but also in real life.
Kidzworld: Any message for your fans as to why they’ll really enjoy Ice Age: Continental Drift?
- Keke: I’m really excited for them to see my do my first big animation role and also they’ll love Ice Age because it’s just a fun movie, a family movie. You can all see it and like it together. Parents won’t be rolling their eyes and be like “When can we get outa here?” Everyone will really enjoy it. And it has some of your favorite stars from the old ones and new big stars too. A lot of things to enjoy including some fun music to dance to at the end!