For the Out-of-Competition presentation of the animated feature "Kung Fu Panda," members of the film crew were in Cannes for a press conference. They included directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson, actors Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Dustin Hoffman, and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. Highlights follow.
On the film's message:
"Whatever is unique about you is you, and embrace it. Don't try to be somebody else. And that's the big picture of it. And try to not to read anything else into it that's negative, because we would never mean that."
"The whole idea of Jack [who plays Po] is to be the antihero, and thereby become a real hero, because he is a human being. He is not something that is idealized. And I think that's what makes this film special. You don't need a superhero. The superhero is inside you, and it doesn't have to do with what you look like externally."
On the violence in the film:
"I think there is a real value to the dark side in a fairy tale. It's talking down to kids, to take that out. And it's also what makes the funny parts of the film funnier, when they're contrasted by the darker emotions. I think that's what makes the film work."
"We wanted to make sure we gave a rich, full experience, and we wanted to have much variety within that experience. We sort of liken it to the yin-yang, the harmony between extremes. That is actually a great expression of it: our comedy, and our dark, emotional content is actually in balance, in harmony. It's like the roller-coaster ride, with the really high highs and the really low lows."
Dustin Hoffman, on the shooting:
"While we recorded in the studio, mostly by ourselves, they filmed us at the same time. They then gave that film to the animators, and the animators infused the characters that they had already created with ourselves as much as they could. So, basically, I didn't do it. They did!"
Jack Black, on working with Dustin Hoffman:
"Well, of course it was intimidating to face one of my heroes, and one of the masters of the craft. Usually, it's just us alone in the recording studio, which also has its advantages. But to be able to work with Dustin was a special treat."
On respect for Chinese cultural tradition:
John Stevenson :
"We wanted to make a real martial-arts movie, and we wanted to be very respectful of Chinese culture, even though we were creating a sort of mythical, fantastic version of China that never existed."
"It's so easy to get it wrong. I think our entire crew was very dedicated to making sure, and we double-checked and triple-checked things. It just was really important for us to honor the traditions."
"The film is a love letter to China. There is a four-thousand-year beautiful heritage of great art, great architecture... China is a wonderful country of enormous beauty. We really set out to transport an audience to this world the directors created here, and it is an homage, in the best sense of it, to China."
Jack Black, on being at the Cannes Festival:
"It's always a joy to go out and promote a movie that you're proud of. And what better place than Cannes? The biggest film festival in all the world!"
Jack Black, on the character Po:
"I don't feel like I was really playing a character, when I played Po, because I was just myself. I think of myself as kind of a bear. I'm very furry, and soft and squishy, and lazy, but sometimes fierce and crazy. I am Po! And Po is I. There was really very little acting involved."