After seeing “Kung Fu Panda 3,” Kidsday reporters went to Manhattan to meet actress Kate Hudson, who stars as Mei Mei. We loved her dancing and silliness so much and we talked to her about her role in the 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 little bit more . . . 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. So what they do is show us these story boards, and they draw them out. They’re not done, and then you kind of get an idea of what it is and then you see some of it, but not really. It’s sort of . . . it’s not done at all. It’s more like sketches. And then you go in a room and you don’t see anything. You just act it out. And then what they do is they go and reanimate it and they watch, 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 kind of 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 memorize 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 memorize everything and work with people, and you got hair and makeup.
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, and Jack’s really fun.
Is it hard to get into character, like when you’re not actually in the movie, it’s just your voice?
No. It’s not hard to get into character for this. It’s more enjoyable because there’s not a lot of pressure. It’s more just about the voice.
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 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.