'Kung Fu Panda' is back with some help from 'The Six Million Dollar Man'

March 8, 2024 11:19 am

[Source: Reuters]

Jack Black’s dumpling obsessed bear is back in the latest instalment of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise after an eight-year hiatus.

Getting back into the character of Po after such a length of time wasn’t difficult for Black. He just had to remember a few things.

“I mean, I do have to prepare… remembering what it was like when I was a kid and the things that I loved. What do I love as much as Po loves Kung Fu? What did I love that much? And the answer is ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’. It was my favorite show,” Black told Reuters, referring to the 1970s series.

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“There was a bionic man and I just loved that show. I watched it once a week every week and I also loved ‘The Hulk’… I would pretend to be bionic and I would draw pictures of bionic man and that’s what Po is all about, that youthful enthusiasm. You can hear it creeping into my voice already and it’s as simple as that, just remember your childhood exuberance.”

“Kung Fu Panda 4” sees Po tasked with finding a successor to become the next dragon warrior.

That successor comes in the form of the thieving fox Zhen, voiced by Awkwafina, who agrees to help Po fight the power-hungry Chameleon, voiced by Oscar winner Viola Davis.

“There is something that feels very relatable personally to her so I feel like that probably is one of the closest to my personality and voice that I’ve ever voiced in an animated character,” Awkwafina said in a joint interview with Black.

Black and Awkwafina are friends in reality so director Mike Mitchell said he let them run away with their imaginations during voice recordings.

“I knew they had this contentious chemistry with each other, joking with each other all the time. So I’m like, let’s just make them into cartoon characters and do that so when they’re behind the mic, I really just stay out of the way,” he said.

“Kung Fu Panda 4” hits U.S. cinemas on Friday.