Angelina Jolie, Jack Black on Finding Inner Peace in 'Kung Fu Panda 2' (Cannes)
CANNES -- “I don’t think inner peace exists at the Cannes Film Festival,” Dustin Hoffman said, offering his deadpan assessment of the scene as DreamWorks Animations Kung Fu Panda 2 express rolled into town.
DWA, which makes it an annual habit of grabbing the attention of the international press assembled in Cannes, held its own screening Tuesday night of the new sequel to the original Kung Fu Panda, which collected $632 million in grosses worldwide when it was released in 2008.
It followed up with a press conference Thursday morning at the Carlton Hotel that included Jack Black, who plays the reluctant panda warrior Po, Angelina Jolie, who voices Po’s comrade-in-arms Tigress, Hoffman, who lends his voice to kung fu master Shifu and the movie’s director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
The new movie revolves around Po’s search for inner peace even as he battles a new villain, the peacock Lord Shen, who’s voiced by Gary Oldman.
And so one of the first questions tossed at the actors was what they themselves consider inner peace.
“My inner peace is in pieces,” Black joked, while Jolie, showing a kind of radiant graciousness as she put up with the often off-the-wall questions, responded more seriously, saying, “Especially for people who have children, you wake up and they’re healthy, you know that’s the most important thing, so you have that peace. But I think we’re all searching for it as part of the human journey. We all have moments of inner peace, then we lose it, then we look for it again.”
It remained for Hoffman -- who at one point announced, “It’s tough to get laughs in this room” -- to turn the question on the questioners as he added, “I have never had as much inner peace as I have at the moment, being infront of all these cameras and sitting next to Angelina. It doesn’t get anymore inner than that.”
The new movie also follows Po’s search for his birth parents -- the panda has been brought up by a goose, a fact that went unexplained in the first movie. So the press naturally wanted to know of Jolie, how her six kids, who included three adopted children, reacted to that aspect of the film.
Smiling easily, Jolie said, “I brought my children to see the movie and they absolutely loved the movie and laughed though the whole thing.”Although she admitted she wondered if they would have questions, the issue never came up. “They just felt that much more proud that they were a little more like Po,” she added.
Nelson, the movie’s director, also talked about the role that Guillermo Del Toro, who is credited as creative consultant, played on the film. “It was a very long process, three years, and he came in right in the middle, when things were the messiest and pointed out all the things in the movie that we really should believe in and he helped us come up with some really great ideas,” she explained. “Part of what he did was try to make Shen even cooler. He came in and cracked a lot of jokes and really cheered us on. He was just an inspiration to work with.”