Think, if you were to go back to a simpler time – 2008, to be exact. Beyoncé introduced the world to Sasha Fierce. Britney Spears made her first big comeback with the release of her sixth album, circus. And the world fell in love with a giant cartoon panda named Po, who has a huge heart and a matching appetite. This is correct; It’s been 14 years (only, How?) Ago kung fu panda The franchise has begun. Now, in 2022, the saga continues with an all-new series on Netflix, Kung Fu Panda: Dragon Knight. Aside from the obvious excitement of having Po fandom going on in your family, you’ll be happy to know that Jack Black is back for everyone’s favorite foodie.
Scary Mommy met with Black to discuss, among other things, the shared love of dumplings, and the possibility of eating kung fu panda spinoff, and the message he hopes kids will take away from the new series.
This is the first time she has returned as Po since the third film in the series. What inspired you to come back now?
Netflix reached out and asked if I’d be interested in reprising my role, as it’s been many years since I played Kung Fu Panda. And I said, “I’m interested; continue.” I zoomed in with Peter [Hastings, executive producer]. He told me the idea for the series and the story arc, and it sounded like rad. It seemed like a fun adventure. There are new characters. There is a real strong woman character [played by Rita Ora] who came from England, she’s a knight, and she’s also got, like, real emotional highs and lows. It’s kind of the heart of the story, and she’s had some great personal growth.
We are a kind of partner – it’s Kung Fu Panda and Dragon Knight. She is really a knight and I am a dragon. So, it is a kind of friends adventure and comedy. I was in it. I was like, Yeah man, let’s do this.
You are also an executive producer of the series. How was that experience?
To be honest with you, I haven’t done much production. (Laugh) I have a really good agent who has earned the title of production. Really, I was 99% and maybe 1% produce.
I can get that kind of work on board! Well, one of the best things about Po—aside from his ever-present affinity for dumplings—is how it’s almost always the same, for better or worse. This really comes up in this series. Was that an important message for you to get across?
My love of dumplings? (LaughLook, the kitchen is the core of all my characters. The first thing I explore is, like, “What does Poe eat?”
Being myself is important kung fu panda Because from the start I was like, “Should I make a cartoon? What is it? It’s a kung fu panda? I don’t know; I don’t feel it. I don’t understand it.” And Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the original force behind it kung fu panda, He was like, “No, you don’t understand; we want you to be you.” He got some sound from HDhas had animators make a short, short scene kung fu panda With my voice over from HD – And it was really funny. And I was like, ‘Oh, you guys want me to be IAnd you’ll make a panda… well. “
So I jumped at it, and since then, that’s been my focus when I play Po. I’m just trying to be myself, but like a smaller version. 13-16 year old Jack Black – This is Boo. He has that youthful exuberance and kind of obsessed teenager with a lust for life. This is the crux of what Poe is all about.
You know, Jack, I feel a pattern here. A productive executive job where you are on your own. A character where you are just who you are. Is this the brilliance of Jack Black, who discovered it?
(Laugh) Yes, I think so… It’s like a panda is a lazy animal? But then, as they lazily graze on their delicious bamboo and seem to fall clumsily from the tree, and roll down the hill – you could Say it’s lazy, but there’s also tenderness in that. I think this is my style of production. I’m just rolling down the hill. It seems like I do nothing, but in the end, God works.
I dig it. I’m glad you mentioned the food – we’ve all invested in Po and Mr. Ping. Can we have a cooking show for the kids Animation Po and Mr. Ping? An officially approved cookbook? something?! There is work to be done here.
Wouldn’t that be good? Oh yes! I was talking about how to open this series to a larger global audience because Po goes – spoiler alert – all over the world, and I was talking to the director and he was like, ‘Every time we go somewhere else, I think we should have dinner in this kitchen before we… We start recording anything.” It would be great to have a cookbook Just for this series. I can’t tell you where to go, but there are delicious flavors in store for the future.
This definitely sounds like something you should do. This will be a fun watch for families this summer. What are the big takeaways you hope the kids will take away?
The kind of cool thing about it is the way the stakes are raised. All films took place in China. In this [series]The world is opening up. It’s more of a global story and adventure, and it’s kind of about how different cultures in the world can work together and make peace with each other to save the world. This is kind of a great takeaway.
I hope the kids come away thinking, “Yeah, there’s a world out there with people whose culture I don’t really understand – they have a completely different perspective and their upbringing. Maybe I can make friends with some unexpected people from different cultures.” This would be great for kids to take away.