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Kung Fu Panda 4’s Jack Black Spills the Secret to Delivering a Good Skadoosh

Mar 9, 2024


The Big Picture

Po and Zhen team up to defeat the wicked sorceress Chameleon in Kung Fu Panda 4 with the help of a new Dragon Warrior.
Jack Black and Awkwafina share the challenges of voice acting and connecting with characters in the recording booth.
Black and Awkwafina also talk about the popularity of the Kung Fu Panda franchise and why it’s stood the test of time.

If there are any two actors today with the know-how on voice acting, it’s the stars of Kung Fu Panda 4, Jack Black and Awkwafina. This Dragon Warrior duo knows their way around a vocal booth, and in this interview with Collider’s Steve Weintraub, they share their secrets, fears, and challenges faced when providing the voices to some of your favorite characters.

In Kung Fu Panda 4, Po (Black) is promoted to the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). Though he’s less than thrilled about these new responsibilities, it’s Po’s task to train up a new Dragon Warrior, but when his mission is derailed by a wicked sorceress known as the Chameleon (Viola Davis), Po is going to need some help. In order to defeat this shifty villain, and the master villains she summoned back from the spirit realm, Po teams up with an unlikely ally in Awkwafina’s thieving fox, Zhen. Kung Fu Panda 4 also introduces Oscar-winner Ke Huy Quan to the family as well as brings back Bryan Cranston, Ian McShane, James Hong, and Seth Rogen.

For more on the intricacies of voice acting, why the Kung Fu Panda franchise has resonated with so many over the years, and how to deliver the perfect skadoosh, check out the full interview in the video above, or you can read the transcript below.

Kung Fu Panda 4 After Po is tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, he needs to find and train a new Dragon Warrior, while a wicked sorceress plans to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.Release Date March 8, 2024 Writers Jonathan Aibel , Glenn Berger Studio(s) DreamWorks Animation

Read Our ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ Review

Jack Black Trains in the Art of Skadoosh
Image via DreamWorks Animation

COLLIDER: Jack, I do have to start with you. What is the secret to delivering a good skadoosh?

JACK BLACK: I like to put a little stank on it. “Skadoosh.” There’s almost like an accent to it, “Deuchsh.” It’s almost like it’s spelled D-E-U-C-H-S-H.

How many times do you think you’ve actually delivered this in the recording booth?

BLACK: Dude, too many times. Once you get a catchphrase it’s a blessing and a curse. [To Awkwafina] You know.

AWKWAFINA: [Laughs] Absolutely.

BLACK: You got dragged into my skadoosh vortex.

AWKWAFINA: Even the people around him get it.

Even you might get it.

AWKWAFINA: Yeah, I’ll catch a skadoosh here and there.

BLACK: Can you feel it? The vortex?

Oh, I feel it.

BLACK: It’s sucking you in now.

It is.

Jack Black Shares the Secret to ‘Kung Fu Panda’s Success

What is it about these characters that has resonated with so many people for so long? People have all these aspirations for making sequels or whatever and often that doesn’t work, but Po and this group have been super popular for so long.

BLACK: I think it’s similar to the heroes that you see in cinema, who are kind of clowns, but they’re still heroes. The unlikely innocence that can still be a hero or someone that you don’t expect to be saving the day, people can relate to that and they have those aspirations. They’re like, “I’m not a hero but I wish I was.” It kind of connects on that level, I think. But also, really, just the way Po looks and the characters are so well drawn and animated, they’re just physically pleasing to watch. I think the animators and artists on these movies do not get enough credit. I saw the premiere last night and I was like, “Dude, I am such a small part of why this thing is incredible.” The artists blow my mind every time.

AWKWAFINA: Yep, it’s off the wall. I’m a huge fan of the franchise. I feel like it’s a world that’s built, so when you watch the movies it’s kind of like you come to be familiar with everyone in it and what it meant to you when you first watched it. I think that’s why it endures. It reminds people of their own lives at a time.

Voice Acting Tips From Animation Pros Jack Black & Awkwafina
Image via DreamWorks

When I first started talking to people who do voice recording, I thought to myself, “You just go in, you do your voice, it’s pretty simple.” But the more I’ve learned and the more I’ve watched, I realized it’s hard and it’s really acting. Can you both talk a little bit about the fact that you might be exhausted when you walk out of that booth at the end of the day?

AWKWAFINA: Oh yeah.

BLACK: It is fucking hard. I mean, look, at the end of the day, acting, whether it’s voice acting or live on the set jumping off a cliff, it’s about connecting with the character and expressing emotion and capturing it. You’ve got to throw your whole self into it or else you feel like you left something behind.

AWKWAFINA: Because when it’s just your voice, it’s just your voice, you know what I mean? But I think what’s cool about it is you put a lot of physicality into it too, so it is kind of like you’re doing it. But it’s interesting to get into a character that way, I guess.

BLACK: I have a fear of not going all the way, by the way. It’s like I have to go all the fucking way. [Laughs]

AWKWAFINA: Right, right, right. That’s really good voice acting.

BLACK: That’s my mantra — all the fucking way.

Kung Fu Panda 4 is in theaters now.

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Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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