Zack Shada voices the lead character in the new movie Space Chimps: Zartog Strikes Back, which releases to DVD tomorrow from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.  Zack plans the genius chimpanze Comet, who is best known for his super cool inventions like the Banana Berry.  His goal is to hop on the big space ship and travel into space where he can meet his friend on another planet.  We sat down with Zack to find out all about this awesome new movie, his character Coment and his budding music career!

HTZ Interviews Zack Shada about his character in Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back!

What was it like working on the Space Chimps movies? It's been a total blast. The first one, I was the new kid on block and everybody was really welcoming and everything. I was pretty nervous though. It was a smaller part. Then in this one, it was really cool because Comet gets to go into space and they let me have a lot more freedom with what I did with the character. It was cool getting to just play with that and take him on his journey, and get to see every place that he goes and everything. I love playing Comet. He’s like the total nerd, but just a lovable, awesome chimp character. I mean, it’s been a lot of fun.

What is the premise of the second movie? The premise of the second movie starts off with Ham in his new found glory is running things. Comet keeps wanting to go to space. He hasn’t really gotten his chance and every time something comes up, he doesn’t really get the opportunity. But finally, in an accidental way, he gets on the rocket and accidentally shoots himself up in space. He ends up going to visit all the same places that they did and he gets to see his friend. In the end, he comes back and to help defeat Zartog. It makes a great kid’s journey into space and getting to see him take the same steps that all of his friends did and his different journeys.

We chat with Zack Shada about his role in Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back!
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

There are a lot of really good, positive messages that are interlaced in this movie. There are messages about friendship, teamwork and responsibility. What are some the things that you have learned from your character? It's like what you said, it is being true to your friends no matter what happens. Comet feels let down by his friends because, in the beginning he doesn’t get to do everything that he wants. But once he finally goes into space and he understands things a little more, he comes back and with a kind of renewed energy and happiness about all his friends. And he saves the day. As for as his friendship with Kilowatt, you really get to see this amazing friendship built, and sometimes it really doesn’t matter like what happens. You just happen to build strong friendships. You can’t explain it, but no matter what, you’d just do anything for these people. I think that’s just a really big life lesson for me with my friends. No matter what they do, no matter what happens, my friends are always going to be there for me and I’m always going to there for them. I think that the most important thing you can take away.

There are some really cool pieces of technology featured in the movie, like the Banana Berry and they have this Wii Remote zapper.  What do you think of all the cool gadgets in the movie? Comet, being the genius that he is, he actually designed most of the most of the things. He designed the Banana Berry and he upgrades it in this one so it can do a lot more. I would try to explain all the things that it does, but him being the tech-savvy genius that I am not (laugh), I can’t exactly go into detail about that. Also, there’s this kind of de-particlizer that the scientists invent; they can use it as a shrink ray, but it can also be used to completely like zap people out of existence, and they use that in a couple of places. It’s pretty interesting to see how Comet has to use it to actually bring some people back that are zapped with the de-particlizer. The visual effects are really cool. You get a wide range of explosions and just really cool use of technology. I’m a nerd, but not half as smart when it comes to stuff like this as Comet is.

We chat with Zack Shada about his role in Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back!
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

You have done quite a bit of animated work as well as live action work. Do you find it more difficult to bring a character to life in animation versus live action film? There’s a really big difference. As far as for voice -over, you really get a feel for what the character is already, like all of the lines and stuff are there. It’s mainly what the people are going to see. I’m just kind of helping bring the character to life, but the character is already there. Comet is drawn and his his lines indicate that he’s super intelligent, he’s funny and he’s smart. I just get to get to add to that. As far as voice-over goes, I just get to have fun and play with it. Comet is a lot like me, for that instance, it's mainly my voice. I’ve done other voices where I’ve had to do character voices and that’s definitely different. But for this, I just got to kind of play it close to the chest and very much like myself.

As far as live action stuff, it’s very different because I don’t get to put as much of myself into it in places. I have to become more of the character. It takes a lot more studying getting into that different role because it’s just not your voice, it’s everything; it’s how you look, it's how you walk, it’s how you act, it's how you talk, it's how your eyes look. It’s a lot more depth in that way.

For me, voice-over is just a blast because I can just go in for a couple of hours and knock things out, and do a few different takes and can just go wild, go crazy, go over the top sometimes, and just have fun with it. As far as live action, you have to be a little more careful with things. You can experiment to a certain degree, but probably not as much as voice-over because you’re giving a specific live character and do what the director wants. They’re just both completely different. I love both of them because I love kind of a challenge of live action and having to really study that, and I just love the play of being able to use my voice and just kind of go all out and have fun with voice-over.

We chat with Zack Shada about his role in Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back!
Photo Credit:  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Do you have a favorite scene in this movie? I’ve got a lot of favorite scenes. My favorite shot is probably, just the shots where you see Kilowatt and Comet’s flying around and get a ride on the thing that I cannot pronounce (laugh).

You formed a band with your brother called Shada. We called it Shada before just because we couldn’t think of anything. We were going through the whole band process and you find so many names and they’re all taken. So, for a while we just went by our last name, which is Shada. But recently we’ve been going by the name “Raising Cane”. It has to do with Josh’s dog that he raises on occasion. It’s this huge big bull dog and we named it after that, just randomly.

We chat with Zack Shada about his role in Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back!

Were you excited to have a song featured in this movie.  What was it like shooting the music video for it? It was so, so exciting. The opportunity was just amazing. I felt very blessed, very lucky that they would allow us to do a song for the movie. It was one that Josh and I wrote along with our producer, John Alfonte. We wrote it based around the movie. It’s called "Lift Off". It's a song about going into space, but it's also about following your dreams. It’s about blasting off and not being afraid to take a chance, basically. And for the video, we went through this like rocket factory. We had all these equipment and spaceship parts flying around, and our friends, Kyle and Dave, they played bass and drums for the video for us. That was extremely cool. I was kind of nervous at first to see how like the director and everyone would like think of video because we weren’t sure if they were going to be too happy with it, but they got it and they loved it. I mean, that was just icing on the cake for us. It was really cool.

Is it just you and your brother in the band? We keep it mainly my brother and I. He plays guitar and sings, and then I play piano and I sing lead. Then we usually hire people for shows for bass and drums. We also have a really close friend, her name is Lynn White, who plays violin for us and she’s part of the band. She’s really cool.

Do you write all of your own music? We write all of it ourselves.

Are you guys working on an album right now? We actually have been spending a lot of time just writing and perfecting some stuff. We should be going into the studio pretty soon, hopefully, to start recording are first record. We’re really, really excited about that.

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JUNE 6-9, 2013

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