NEW YORK – Catherine Zeta-Jones (search) has just come off an Oscar-winning whirlwind called Chicago and is now behind the microphone in the new animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which hits theater July 2.
When we sit down in a Manhattan hotel she looks like she's lost most of the post-natal baby fat. And she likes talking about her character, Marina, who she was -- ahem -- "drawn" to.
But first, let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. The new baby is fine. The tabloids still take unflattering pictures. And husband Michael Douglas (search) is enjoying another round of fatherhood.
Bill McCuddy: What is it about animated films (search) that seems to be attracting a greater level of talent?
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Well for me personally it was a genre I hadn't done before, and that was interesting -- [especially] given the fact that I was pregnant with my first child at the time when I started it. It was just a new medium for me that I wanted to be a part of a team. I like to read books.
McCuddy: Can you show up in anything? Is that the nice thing?
Zeta-Jones: (laughing) That is the best thing. There's nobody outside your trailer saying (in a fake male voice) "We need you in 15 minutes and you're still in the bathroom." So, that was a nice thing.
McCuddy: So let's be clear about this, did Catherine Zeta-Jones show up in just curlers one day?
Zeta-Jones: I left the curlers off. I remember coming in one day -- I did the voicing all over the world -- I was coming off a beach once and I still had sand between my toes, which I thought was good, you know. I thought it was good for the character. Sea-salted hair, a burnt nose and some sand in between my toes. I felt it was part of my character.
McCuddy: So one of the magic things of filmmaking in this genre was you were literally all over the world when they made it. They could come to you and say, "Here's three lines. We need four lines..."
Zeta-Jones: Sometimes I'd say, "You know guys, that's a long way to come for a few lines." But they were at like a roadblock in the animation. They needed those to go on and explore different avenues.
McCuddy: They track you down?
Zeta-Jones: (laughing) Everywhere. I was in the Galapagos Islands once.
McCuddy: And a film crew with you wherever you went so it will be on that DVD extra reel?
Zeta-Jones: No, no, they always say we won't be using this for the animators ... but, well, they'll be using it. But, it was just fun. You can just pick up right where you left off.
McCuddy: You almost have to be a better actor in a way.
Zeta-Jones: I mean with actors, using our body language, I mean I know just from dancing, body language is really important. To be just centered in the voice and to put all that through the voice, it has been an interesting lesson for me.
McCuddy: Did you like the way you looked?
Zeta-Jones: (laughing) Yeah ... I love my haircut in the movie. She's really hip looking. I thought that she would be much more princessy looking when I first had the idea of playing Marina, and they've made her so hip and cool and feisty.
McCuddy: Did you ever say, 'Can the breasts be a little larger? Can I get a little more muscle here?'
Zeta-Jones: (laughing) No, I love the size of her waist. I was happy with her waist. (laughing again.)
McCuddy: It's also great because it just goes on and on and on. So kids will get this and play it forever and ever and ever and it becomes like a household legacy for parents like me, so, thank you.
Zeta-Jones: I'm starting my library already, so I know exactly what you mean.
McCuddy: What do the kids love at home now?
Zeta-Jones: Well, they don't ... Dylan, really, we kind of limit his television stuff, but he just loves his imagination. The best thing about kids is that their imagination is so amazing, much better than we ever imagine it could be, and he just likes anything that's magical or mystical. And of course he loves musical comedy.
McCuddy: You share a kiss with Brad Pitt [who plays Sinbad], but I heard in animated films you kiss your hands?
Zeta-Jones: Yeah, it could be constructed completely different, but it's all good. (laughing)