Ben Stiller Helps Josh Hart Cast the Knicks’ Version of ‘Madagascar’

Apparently, New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau likes to move it, move it.

With live-action remakes of animated classics dominating the release calendars of major studios, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart had fun with the latest edition of their podcast, “Roommates Show.”

With actor/celebrity Knicks fan Ben Stiller in the host’s chair alongside co-host Matt Hillman, the latest episode found the Villanova duo pondering which of their fellow New Yorkers would best fit the roles in the DreamWorks film Animation of 2005 “Madagascar”. Stiller voiced the main protagonist Alex, an exhibitionist lion living in the Central Park Zoo, in the film and its sequels “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”.

Hart chooses Brunson for the role of Alex while Hillman suggests center Mitchell Robinson for the role of Melman, the nervous giraffe voiced by David Schwimmer. Once Stiller reminds Hart of Gloria, the hippo voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith, Hart immediately enlists Julius Randle for the role, citing his “physique.”

Hart himself leans on the film’s penguin characters who serve as caricatures of the protagonists of spy and heist films. Initially he chooses the leader of the penguins, Skipper (Tom McGrath) but later turns to the youngest member, Private (Christopher Knights), also offering a brief imitation of the character. Donte DiVincenzo instead gets the role of Skipper.

By choosing King Julien, a comedic lemur monarch voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen, Hart makes comedy maestro Stiller laugh by suggesting Thibodeau. Noticeably absent from the discussion is protagonist Marty, the wisecracking zebra voiced by another famous Knicks fan, Chris Rock.

Born and raised on the Upper West Side, Stiller can often be found among the courtside visitors at Madison Square Garden. While there are currently no plans for a fourth “Madagascar” film, Stiller will star in the upcoming comedy-drama “Nutcracker,” which he will also produce through his Red Hour Productions. It will be Stiller’s first starring role since “Brad’s Status” and “The Meyerowitz Stories,” both released in 2017.