Jack Black says he’s spent the last decade voicing Po, the mammal star of “Kung Fu Panda.” The first one came out in 2010, but the actor and performer, 46, was in the sound booth before they even began animating. He’s back in the third one, which finds him finally meeting some other pandas and battling a scary martial arts master (voiced by J.K. Simmons). Black talks to Metro about his love for voicework and that time last year when he visited Uganda for Red Nose Day and came away with a loss for words.
How’s your kung fu?
I am a fan. I've always been a fan of the genre and kung fu movies. I wouldn’t say I'm a master of kung fu, but I can defend myself. [imitates kung fu movements]
Do you prefer voicework over doing live action?
When you have to get up at 5:00 am for costume and makeup and you know they're going to shoot you, it's a stressful process. I'm much more relaxed when I’m voice acting, and I think I do it better, to be honest.
How did you come up with Po’s voice?
No one really asked me to create a character voice. I made a very different voice in another Dreamworks animated film in which I worked many years ago, called "A Shark Tale". [This character] had a Brooklyn accent; it was like a Woody Allen film. This time, they were very specific in that they wanted me to be myself. "We want you to be you," I was told. "We want Po to have the voice we know from ‘School of Rock.’" And that's what I did.