THE ICE AGE ADVENTURES OF BUCK WILD Interview: Justina Machado On Joining The Franchise As Zee (Exclusive)

Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) talks to us about joining the Ice Age franchise as Zee, the speculation surrounding her character's name, and bringing a strong female character to life with animation.

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild continues the hilarious escapades of the sub-zero heroes as they create more prehistoric pandemonium. Eager for a little independence, the thrill-seeking possum brothers Crash and Eddie set out to find a place of their own but soon find themselves trapped beneath the ice in a massive cave inhabited by dinosaurs.

They are rescued by the one-eyed, adventure-loving weasel Buck Wild, and together, with the help of some new friends, embark on a mission to save the Lost World from dinosaur domination.

Earlier this month, we sat down with Six Feet UnderJane the Virgin, and Scoob! star Justina Machado to discuss her Ice Age franchise debut as the enigmatic adventurer Zee. 

The friendly Zorilla is on a mission to bring equality and justice to the Lost World, so we asked Justina about the pressures that came with joining the series, how important it was to portray a strong female character, and getting to match wits with Buck himself, Simon Pegg! The actress also opens up on the unique way her character is credited at the end of the movie. 

You can watch our interview with The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild star in the player below:

Unbelievably, the Ice Age franchise has been around now for two decades, so as a performer, was it quite intimidating to join the franchise now?

I think it wasn’t until after it was over and then I realised what a big deal it was [Laughs]. When it was happening, I was just so grateful to be considered and playing opposite someone as incredible as Simon Pegg and being part of this franchise that not until I actually saw the film was I like, ‘Whoa.’ I’m glad I didn’t think about it too much because I would have been intimidated.

You mention Simon Pegg, and both he and Buck are such larger than life presences here, but Zee really manages to hold her own against him and get into the thick of the action without being overshadowed. What was that experience like for you in being able to bring this character to life in such a memorable way?

Oh gosh, I love that you said that [Laughs]. I’m going to relish that. Fun! Because it was a creative collaboration. I’d go into the studio and, of course, the director and producer and writers all know this franchise. They’ve worked with this for two decades, so it was kind of us creating this character together so there was something really freeing and fun about it. I never had a lot of pressure because I had a lot of support. It was just great fun. 

This is such a great action movie role and Zee creates such a strong, female presence in the film - how important is it to you that kids are actually going to be able to see that here?

Oh, it’s always important to see strong female characters. It’s always important to see female characters that are not just one thing, not just in one box, [and] that are layered. Zorilla is, a zorilla, but she’s layered and fierce and funny and has heart. She’s courageous and she’s vulnerable. To see that a woman can be all of these things and in control and rational is a beautiful thing for kids to see. 

There is some debate about Zee’s name in the film and I couldn’t help notice in the credits that you’re down as “Zee (or whatever her name is)” - that’s got to be a first for you, right?

Oh, I know, I like that! It was so fun, do you know what I mean? I was hoping her name was Zsa Zsa because that was kind of great [Laughs]. Zee is so cool. I don’t think she even needs another name. I loved the guessing game, but I’ve always loved that. Zee is just who she is: the epitome of coolness. 

As a performer, what do you enjoy most about a voiceover role like this one and getting to step into the recording booth to bring a character to life who’s small in stature, but still larger than life in lots of ways?

That’s me. I’m 5 feet tall, so I’m small in stature also! That’s not hard. It’s not a stretch. That’s so much fun because when you’re in that booth, you have so much creative freedom. They really do. They want you to come in and give them something zany and wonderful, but rooted in reality. It’s very freeing, very fun, and like I said, all the pressure is gone because no one is trying to put you in a box. It’s just a very fun, freeing situation. Especially as it was the beginning of the pandemic and everything was so crazy, which has gotten a little better, but there was some escape there to have this freedom of escaping into this really wonderful world. 

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild premieres on Disney+ on January 28.

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