'Kung Fu Panda 3' Premiere: Director, Producer Talk Importance of Family Values
"It’s been 12 years since we started the first 'Kung Fu Panda' movie," producer Melissa Cobb said at the red- carpet event. "In many ways this movie is like our child."
The team at DreamWorks and Oriental DreamWorks gathered at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Saturday morning for the world premiere of Kung Fu Panda 3, which stars Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogan, David Cross, James Hong, Lucy Liu, Bryan Cranston and J.K. Simmons.
A live street show preceded the film screening and included Chinese ribbon dancers, a martial arts performance, a Chinese dragon march down Hollywood and Highland and airbrush calligraphy tattoo artists.
On the red carpet, producer Melissa Cobb told The Hollywood Reporter about the collaboration between Dreamworks' sister studio in China and how the company influenced the film.
"After Kung Fu Panda 2, there was interest to work with China on films for DreamWorks, so out of this idea came the idea to build a studio — Oriental DreamWorks — in Shanghai," Cobb said. "We partnered together from the very beginning, and this is their first feature film project, and they’ll have their own independent projects coming in the next few years."
Before the screening began, Cobb and directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni stood in front of the royal Chinese Theater curtains and reflected on the importance of family and the passing of time.
"It’s been 12 years since we first started the first Kung Fu Panda movie," Cobb recalled. "Angelina Jolie didn’t even have her twins until the second movie had ended. This is such a family-oriented film more so than ever now that Po finally has found his father. And in many ways this movie is like our child. You raise them to be nice, and to share, and you hope the other kids at school like them and you release them out into the world."
Co-director, Nelson added, "Jack [Black's] kid, Sammy, is in the movie. Angelina's kids are in the movie: Pax, Zahara, and Shiloh. Dustin [Hoffman's] grandson is in the movie, too."
The writers of the animation film also discussed how they managed to tackle Po's issues of self-identification and family in a children's movie.
Jonathan Aibel explained, "This movie deals with a tricky subject and a lot of emotions about finding yourself and who you are, but at the same time this is for children and we have to make it digestible, and we want it to be funny at the same time. I think we walked that fine line, and I hope we walked it successfully."
When asked about franchise newcomer Simmons and his villainous character in this movie in relation to his tyrannical role in Whiplash, Carloni joked, "He has some of the intensity, surely. But he’s far more charming."
Inside and outside the theater, it was hard to ignore the communal feeling of family from the hordes of actors with their families, and the relaxed, playful atmosphere provided by the venue with Panda-shaped 3-D glasses.
Carloni shared how the movie helped shape their own feelings about whether or not family is important to knowing one's own identity.
“I don’t think you are doing anything by yourself, even if you are by yourself," he told THR. "I think you became who you are thanks to your family, so even when you do something by yourself it was given to you. I think Po in this movie; probably more than any other movie he can’t do it alone. This movie is about a village coming together, a family coming together to conquer evil."
Kung Fu Panda 3 hits theaters Jan. 29.