Jack Black Comparisons - More Panda Than Comedian!
by Alex Billington
June 5, 2008
When it comes to animated movies, choosing the right voice actor is key. In Kung Fu Panda, comedian Jack Black embodies the the lovable panda named Po who must learn to become a kung fu warrior. The film is incredibly fun and enjoyable and that's partially thanks to Black's remarkably similar "panda-esque" qualities and comedic attitude. Last weekend, Jack Black shared with us his thoughts on some of the numerous aspects that make him "panda-eqsue." It's actually quite interesting to see how similar they are, in a fun sense, because you'll quickly see why he's such a perfect fit for the character. If you need any more encouragement to see Kung Fu Panda this weekend, then here it is.
While recording for the film, Jack says that they kept the mic running the whole time to capture anything he said to possibly use in the film. "I was allowed to go crazy. They always allowed and encouraged me to go crazy and have fun." And if you think voice acting is all about sitting in a studio motionless for hours, you're wrong, at least in regards to Jack Black and Kung Fu Panda. "They're filming us while we're doing our vocal recordings and they used it for reference. To get the proper sounds, I would really do the things I was supposed to be doing." Now I really know why Po actually felt like Jack Black!
Below is a list put together with the help of Jack Black himself of five "panda-esque" qualities. If you think these sound great on paper, just wait until you see Po the Panda in action on the big screen!
Both "Rolly Poly"
"Yea, I feel like I'm panda-esque. We are both rolly poly. [That's] the main one." Jack Black isn't the fittest actor out there, but that doesn't mean he still isn't one of the best comedians around! Plus, being "rolly poly" is definitely a good thing, well, sometimes!
Both Cuddly and Furry
Adding more to the list, Jack mentions: "Cuddly. I'm furry. And my beard has black and white in it now." All valid points, no? Can any of the ladies out there attest to Jack's furry and cuddly aspect?
Both Grunt and Groan
This is an odd one. When you see Kung Fu Panda, you'll realize that Po actually grunts and groans a lot because, well, he's doing kung fu and fighting the evil Tai Lung! "For years I've been grunting, and groaning, and screaming for this movie."
Both Motivated by Food
"Food is my motivation." This somewhat ties in with rolly poly above, but it's one of the key aspects of Po's character (and Jack's life). Asked what his favorite foods are, Jack answers: "Pizza, cheeseburgers. Cheeseburger is the perfect food. It's just the perfect sandwich, it never ceases to deliver the mouthwatering satisfaction."
Both Masters of their Craft
Asked if he could break a board, Jack confirms he can: "With my mind! I don't even have to use my hands. It's the highest level of kung fu." But seriously, Jack is a master of his craft when it comes to comedy.
In answer to a question about how Jack himself is Dragon Warrior-like, he gives a great analysis of the character Po the Panda and his development in the movie in comparison to his own acting career.
"Po becomes a Dragon Warrior when he realizes he doesn't have to imitate his heroes, the Furious Five, he just has to be himself. If he can be himself completely and be the best he can be, then that would make him a master of his craft. I didn't really have a real career going on until I found my own voice, because for many years I just imitated other actors and comedians that I loved. And it wasn't until I started writing my own music and scenes and finding my own voice that I became a master of my craft."
Kung Fu Panda hits theaters this weekend. It's definitely one of the most fun and entertaining animated flicks to ever come out of DreamWorks. It's rare to find a voice actor who can embody a character so well, but Jack Black is one of the few who has pulled it off. Not only is it hilarious, but there are some awesome kung fu fight scenes. Jack Black is as funny embodied in a cute panda as he is on screen and in real life. Kung Fu Panda is definitely a delightful summer flick that I'm sure most will end up loving!