Get­ting an­i­mated

Kate Hud­son gets to chan­nel her fab­u­lous per­son­al­ity into her Kung Fu Panda 3 char­ac­ter.


AC­TRESS Kate Hud­son voices the char­ac­ter of Mei Mei in Kung Fu Panda 3. Mei Mei is a fe­male panda that lives in Panda Vil­lage, who is very good at rib­bon dance. The ex­tremely con­fi­dent panda even gets the hero Po ( voice of Jack Black) to par­tic­i­pate in a per­for­mance.

In an in­ter­view with the 36- year- old ac­tress in Man­hat­tan, she talked about her role in the an­i­mated film.

Are you any­thing like Mei Mei?

I like to per­form. I like to dance. I don’t know how to rib­bon dance. I like to be on­stage. I’m def­i­nitely not that. I don’t have that kind of abil­ity to ... she’s not very hum­ble is she?

She sort of loves her­self. I’m happy in my­self, but I’m not as fab­u­lous as she is.

Do you get to watch the movie like when you’re mak­ing it, like when you’re play­ing the sound?

Yes. What they do is show us th­ese sto­ry­boards, and they draw them out.

It’s more like sketches. And then you go in a room and you just act it out.

And there’s this lit­tle cam­era that’s watch­ing your face as you’re do­ing it.

So when I’m do­ing my “I am Mei Mei,” they kind of look, they see your eyes and how your mouth and your face moves and then they an­i­mate it to the way your face moves with your voice. It’s kind of cool.

And from that they can get a panda?

Yeah, and it’s like a panda. I like that Mei Mei has pur­ple eye­lashes. When I saw that, I thought that was re­ally cool.

How did you pre­pare for the role of Mei Mei?

This is one of those things where there’s not a lot of prepa­ra­tion. They re­ally write the char­ac­ter and they write ev­ery­thing, and they come up with ev­ery­thing.

And then you just show up, and the script is in front of you. You don’t have to mem­o­rise any­thing.

So you just kind of play with it. It’s not like when you’re act­ing in a live- ac­tion movie where you have to mem­o­rise ev­ery­thing and work with peo­ple, and you get your hair and makeup done.

Who did you en­joy work­ing with the most in Kung Fu Panda 3?

We didn’t get to work with any­body. When you do it, you’re in a booth by your­self. But then, when we pro­mote it, we get to work with peo­ple, and I think it’s al­ways dan­ger­ous to say that you liked work­ing with some­one more than some­one else.

There’s cer­tain peo­ple you con­nect with where you re­ally have a friend­ship and a bond that sort of takes you through life ... . I’ve got­ten to spend the most time with Jack Black, who plays Po, the voice of Po, and he’s su­per fun. Jack’s re­ally fun.

What was the hard­est part about voic­ing Mei Mei?

There wasn’t re­ally any­thing hard. Well, the fun­ni­est part I’d say – the most fun I had voic­ing Mei Mei – would be just some of the nunchucks sounds that we did.

We ( did) some re­ally funny sounds, and when you’re do­ing them in the booth, you just feel re­ally silly.

It’s re­ally funny be­cause you’re sit­ting there do­ing all th­ese ( voices), do­ing all th­ese crazy sounds and you just look so silly, so ev­ery­body’s laugh­ing a lot.

There’s a lot of laugh­ter. – News­day/ Tribune News Ser­vice

Kung Fu Panda 3 opens at cin­e­mas na­tion­wide on March 10.

— 20th Cen­tury Fox

For Hud­son, voic­ing Mei Mei for Kung Fu Panda 3 was an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence as it was just about the voice.

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