By Mike Collett-White CANNES, France, May 12 (Reuters) - Actress Angelina Jolie said 3D animation drama “Kung Fu Panda 2” was about finding your “inner peace”, while co-star comic Jack Black pondered whether all life forms had “fleeting moments of existentiality”.
At a sometimes surreal press conference to promote the movie at the Cannes film festival on Thursday, the topics of discussion ranged from violence in film to China to adoption, although Black never allowed proceedings to get too serious.
“My inner peace is in pieces at the moment,” he quipped to a large crowd of reporters in a plush hotel ballroom.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is the sequel to the successful 2008 original which earned $632 million at the international box office, and Black said there would be further sequels should the movies continue to succeed commercially.
In Kung Fu Panda 2, portly panda hero Po, voiced by Black, must find inner calm to defeat his nemesis Lord Shen, an evil peacock played by Gary Oldman who sets out to conquer China with an “unstoppable” weapon and to destroy kung fu once and for all.
He also discovers that he is adopted — not a major surprise to movie goers considering his “father” is a goose.
Oscar-winner Jolie provides the voice for Tigress, while Dustin Hoffman portrays Master Shifu, Po’s mentor in a story set in ancient China against backdrops of lush forests, towering temples and crowded cities.
Although Kung Fu Panda 2 is not in the main Cannes line-up, the festival welcomes such blockbusters because they attract A-list stars like Jolie and generate the kind of buzz among media and fans on which the annual event thrives.
Jolie is in France with her family, and partner Brad Pitt is expected on the red carpet later in the festival for his part in Terrence Malick’s in-competition “The Tree of Life”.
The actress said the fact that Po discovers he is adopted in the movie meant her three adopted children felt closer to the character. She also has three biological children.
“I brought my children to see the movie and they absolutely love the movie ... and I wondered whether they’d ask me questions about it.
“But because ‘adoption’ and ‘birth mothers’ and ‘orphanage’ and all that in our home these are happy words, they’re used to these discussions and they just felt that much more proud that they were a little more like Po.”
Asked about the violence in the film, Black replied: “It (the film) discourages weaponry. I don’t like guns. I don’t own one. I like laser blasters. That’s where I draw the line.”
Hoffman said the first movie he ever saw was the cartoon “Bambi”, which contained surprisingly disturbing scenes.
“You can connect Bambi and Pinocchio to violence,” said the 73-year-old Oscar winner. “In Bambi there was a big fire in the woods. I literally remember bursting out crying and leaving because all the animals were being killed by fire.”
Asked whether he thought pandas had “existential moments”, Black replied:
“Maybe they do for brief moments, gnawing on a bamboo shoot they think what is life all about? What is the point in this meaningless universe that goes on forever? May be all life forms have fleeting moments of existentiality. You can print that.” (Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)