'Holy Land outshines Hollywood'

Ben Stiller and Chris Rock escape to Israel for film premiere.

stiller rock in israel 248 ap (photo credit: AP)
stiller rock in israel 248 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Three American movie stars here to promote their animated film said Sunday that they got a warmer reception in the Holy Land than in Hollywood. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith attended the festive Israeli premiere of their latest movie, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, at the Globus Max theater in Netanya on Saturday night. The sequel, which features animal characters escaping from Madagascar to the African mainland in a comic adventure, is to be screened at theaters across the country over Hanukka. The three actors, accompanied by producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, were given the red-carpet treatment at a Tel Aviv hotel, and were cheered wherever they went. In response, they patiently signed hundreds of autographs and posed for countless photographs. "This is better than any premiere we have had so far," Stiller told reporters in Jerusalem. "It's much better than Hollywood. They don't like us in Hollywood, but here they love us," Rock said. They arrived in Israel on Friday and left on Sunday as part of a whirlwind world tour. Katzenberg, who accompanied Jerry Seinfeld to Israel last year for the premiere of the comedian's animated debut, Bee Movie, said coming here was worthwhile. The original Madagascar in 2005 was a top draw here. Stiller, Rock and Smith provide the voices for the leading characters in the movie, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra and Gloria the Hippo. The star-studded delegation visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem on Sunday, and then headed down to the Dead Sea before leaving the country. All three actors professed great love for the Holy Land, and Smith said she was just sorry that the visit had been so short. Stiller, who previously visited Israel nearly three decades ago with his father, said he hoped to return with his family. Rock summed it all up by saying: "Marty the Zebra loves Israel." AP contributed to this report.