The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE MCGRANE

Jack Black has voiced his Kung Fu-fight­ing panda Po, prob­a­bly for the last time.

The ac­tor walked the red car­pet in Syd­ney for the pre­miere of Kung Fu Panda 3, his third out­ing as the an­i­mated panda Mas­ter Po Ping, who be­comes an un­likely dragon war­rior.

Black pinned a Po badge to the lapel of his suit and wore mir­rored sun­glasses as he greeted both fans and me­dia at the pre­miere, spend­ing al­most an hour on the red car­pet on Sun­day night. He re­vealed, how­ever, that this could be the last time fans get to see the love­able an­i­mated char­ac­ter.

“Well three makes sense, it’s a tril­ogy. What’s four, what do you call it, a four-ogy? It doesn’t sound right, I think this is it,” Black says.

There is a sliver of hope, though, for fans of the fran­chise – if the cre­ators can come up with a good story, Black could be back in.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s never say never. If we have a bril­liant idea for an­other one, why not? We’ll see,” he says.

This time around, Black’s char­ac­ter has grad­u­ated to the more se­nior po­si­tion of Kung Fu mas­ter tasked with teach­ing the an­cient mar­tial art to a bunch of fel­low pan­das – Aka the Fu­ri­ous Five – so they can take on a war­rior from the spirit realm. This rag­tag bunch of pan­das are voiced by Hol­ly­wood heavy­weights An­gelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Ro­gen and David Cross.

Kate Hud­son has also been drafted in to play Mei Mei, a con­fi­dent panda, while

Break­ing Bad star Bryan Cranston plays Po’s bi­o­log­i­cal father.

Black has high praise for his fel­low cast mates, de­scrib­ing Cranston as “the great­est ac­tor of all time”.

But there’s one other char­ac­ter who Black likes above all the oth­ers, a bunny who has one line and hap­pens to be voiced by his 10-year-old son Sammy.

“It was great to be able to give him that op­por­tu­nity. It’s crazy,” Black says.

The ac­tor seemed pretty pleased that he was able to land his son some work.

“You know what? It’s a fam­ily busi­ness, like all busi­ness is fam­ily busi­ness, I got my boy a job,” he says.

He’s not the only ac­tor to get work for his off­spring as his co-star, Jolie, also made sure four of her chil­dren had some­thing to say in the film with Pax (12), Za­hara (10), Shiloh (9), and Knox (7) all given speak­ing roles.

Black landed in Syd­ney on Satur­day and has been kept busy dur­ing his time Down Un­der. Aside from his red car­pet ap­pear­ance, he was a guest judge on Aus­tralia’s Got

Tal­ent for the grand fi­nal on Mon­day night and co-hosted the Nine Net­work’s To­day show on Mon­day morn­ing.

It’s no won­der, then, that the ac­tor has barely had a chance to see any­where out­side his ho­tel room dur­ing his trip. Al­though he does, at least, have a har­bour view.

“I haven’t had time to ex­plore at all re­ally but they gave me a re­ally nice ho­tel room,” he says.

“The room ser­vice has been un­be­liev­able and the view out­side my ho­tel win­dow is gor­geous, there’s a gi­ant boat out there, it’s a Queen Mary or some­thing.”

Kung Fu Panda 3 opens in cin­e­mas on March 24


Po the panda (voiced by Jack Black) in a scene from an­i­mated film Kung Fu Panda 3.

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