This time, along with Manny’s family and Sid’s grandma, they face a formidable chilling adventure against a group of pirates in the cold seas. With Scrat in the middle of it all subdividing land masses into what we now know as the seven continents, the group’s all-new adventure takes them on a thrilling ride to the far end of the seas.
Jennifer Lopez plays Shira, a beautiful saber tooth pirate who is also a loyal first mate on their ship of pirates headed by a prehistoric orangutan named Captain Gutt (Peter Drinklage). After Diego and Manny capsized Gutt’s ship, Shira gets separated from the pirates and is shocked to discover that Gutt has no real loyalty to her. When Diego appeals to her join his motley crew, she has to make the decision to stick with Gutt or to join Diego, Manny and the herd. Initially battling Diego and his best friends Manny and Sid, Shira finds herself slowly losing her heart to Diego in the midst of their adventure to find home.
But alas! Love Love is never simple, especially for sabre-toothed tigers. Shira is a member of a pirate crew that has taken Diego, Manny and Sid hostage, so Shira and Diego’s initial encounters are as foes who go toe-to-toe – and sabre-to-sabre – against one another. They are equally matched. “Shira is a femme fatale; she’s sharp, fast and intelligent. But they’re more alike one another than either tiger would admit, and from their hostility and attempts at one-upmanship comes a shared point of view and ultimately a relationship,” director Steve Martino shares.
Leary insists it’s about time Diego found someone to share his life with. “It took only four ‘Ice Age’ movies for me to get a love interest. Believe me, when making the first ‘Ice Age’, I didn’t look down the road and think, you know, Diego’s going to get a girlfriend and it’s going to be J-Lo. I would have put that in my contract back then if I thought I could have gotten away with it!”
According to Jennifer Lopez, who joins the “Ice Age” family as Shira, Diego and Shira are destined to join forces. “The two characters have a similar backstory,” she explains. “Diego left his pack of sabre-toothed tigers in the first film, and Shira had left hers because she didn’t like the pack mentality. Shira felt like she didn’t belong anywhere until she joined the pirates. Eventually she realizes the pirates are out for themselves, and she must make a choice between staying with them or starting a new life with Diego.” And as we all know, Diego can be very convincing.
Lopez was excited about joining the “Ice Age” team, especially as an empowered figure. “ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT is a poignant, fun, exciting and sweet story, and I love playing strong female characters like Shira,” she explains.
The filmmakers were thrilled to get the multi-talented actress-singer-“American Idol” judge onboard. “Playing a character in an animated film is about more than just the actor’s voice,” says producer Lori Forte. “It’s about the attitude, and Jennifer really brings it.” The film also makes use of Lopez’s singing talents, as she joins her fellow pirates (including Peter Dinklage, Nick Frost, Aziz Ansari, and Alain Chabat) in a sea shanty, “Master of the Seas,” written by Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne); and accompanies Nicki Minaj, Romano, Leary, John Leguizamo and Latifah) in the closing song, “We Are (Theme from ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT),” written by Ester Dean.
But first, some words from J. Lo’s Shira – on filming the latest Ice Age movie and the experience with co-stars of various species.
Q: Great to meet you Shira. You’ve got such a beautiful shiny coat.
Shira: Purr… Thank you very much (licks paws).
Q: You’re new to the Ice Age gang. What did you make of them at first?
Shira: That pack of misfits? A sloth, a mammoth and a sabre-toothed tiger – it’s like the start of a really bad joke. No, I’m just kidding with you. Those guys are the best thing that ever happened to me. They gave me back my freedom… Well, after they locked me in a prison cave that is.
Q: Prison cave? What happened?
Shira: Oh, it’s a long story. Let’s just say I’d fallen in with a bad crowd and had some deep-seated trust issues.
Q: By a bad crowd, do you mean Captain Gutt and his revolting crew of pirates?
Shira: I’d really rather not talk about that phase of my life. It’s in the past now.
Q: We hear you’re quite a warrior princess. Is that true?
Shira: I can hold my own (strokes whiskers). All those years on a pirate ship did at least teach me how to fight. It was survival of the fittest out there, not survival of the friendliest.
Q: Not just a pretty kitty then?
Shira: Hissss! Everyone knows the female of the species is more deadly than the male. So you’d better watch out (growls).
Q: Oh come on, you two are blatantly having some kind of romance. Admit it – you melted his ice-cold heart didn’t you?
Shira: I’ll tell you what. If you can run to the top of that vertical cliff face and back in under 30 seconds, I’ll tell you anything you want.
“Ice Age 4: Continental Drift” opens July 12 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.