Confident, mysterious, stylish – words to describe Mei Mei the ribbon-dancing panda who commands the stage in Dreamworks’ latest animation Kung Fu Panda 3! The two things I noticed immediately about Mei Mei is her adorable heart-shaped nose and her obsession with Po the Dragon Warrior!
Kate Hudson lends her voice to Mei Mei and joins the other famous voices cast in the the Kung Fu Panda franchase. Mei Mei who does a superb job spinning this character to life. Kate herself is a fashionista, sporting glamorous styles both on and off the red-carpet. She stepped into our interview dressed in heels and her son’s Lakers t-shirt tucked in a pink wool pencil skirt. Then she flashed that beautiful smile. My husband met her at a concert many years ago and he described Kate Hudson as angelic! Is it a coincidence that she talks about sporting Victoria Secret wings in our interview?
Here are fun moments from the interview where she talks about the film and Mei Mei.
What do you love about Kung Fu Panda 3?
What I love about this one is that it just feels like it’s definitely a heightened, grander experience. The animation is amazing. It’s beautiful. And it’s really funny. And it’s nice that Po gets to see who he is and where he comes from–and the other pandas.
Kate thinks it’s fun being a panda, especially Mei Mei.
She is so much fun, you know. It’s sort of like I wish I had that kind of confidence sometimes. You just don’t even think about what anybody thinks. I think Mei Mei probably just lives just like in an imaginary world, right? She has obviously the crush on Po, but she just spins it in her head that he’s completely obsessed with her. And I just love that about her. She’s so funny.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is Kate’s first animated role.
This is the first time I had really done anything animated. So, you kind of wonder how far you’re supposed to push things because it’s really vocally what you’re pushing.
We just had to be so big and so huge. And it was so much fun to do in a booth where you just got to go there, and you go so far that you end up cracking yourself up. And so, we all had a lot of good laughs with this one.
What is it like for Kate to go from live action acting to animation?
Anybody who’s an actor or performer, that’s what we love. We love doing all of it, whatever it means.
So, it’s like the whole point is trying out new things. I think it’s not that it’s different, but you are working in a different capacity. You’re definitely pushing more. You don’t have to worry about how far you take something.
What is Kate most excited to hear back from her voice over work?
I’m very excited about my nunchuck sounds. My Ninja sounds were really fun.
Kate is a mom of two young boys. Does she teach them about girl-power stuff, how to treat women?
I think boys are being raised very differently now than our generation. I think the younger generation has very strong mothers. It’s just a different dynamic in the household And I think even with men that the importance of both parents being nurturers is different than what we maybe grew up with.
So, I think boys will have a different point of view on it. I think we’ll always have that sort of primal dynamic.
Is Kate strict or silly at home with the kids?
I’m just a mix of both.
I’m pretty silly with my kids. But, I have a very low tolerance for when they’re impolite. I will be hell-bent if I have children who are not good, solid people and personable. To look people in the eye and be polite and recognize how lucky they are, all that stuff. So, I’m pretty strict. But then, on top of all the other stuff I’m really easy with, I just want them to be who they are, and I want them to make mistakes, and I want them to be okay making mistakes. I don’t want them to feel too much expectation.
What about this film is special or unique?
First of all, the cast is insane, you know.
I was like looking at the cast today- Bryan Cranston, J. K. Simmons. This is amazing! It’s such a cool thing to be a part of. I think it will be fun because there’s some great new characters and Mei Mei is really hilarious. She is a fun addition to Kung Fu Panda.
Second, We’re finally getting to see more pandas.
I think the one thing that’s going to be great is we’re going to see Po learn about who he really is. I think there’s going to be a lot of children out there who are going to relate to that–if not, be able to empathize with what that must feel like. It’s a real coming-of-age story, this one, really. Po’s really coming into himself and connecting to his true nature. And the adventure is really great, and the villain is really hilarious.
How much of your own personality did you bring into your character?
It depends on who I’m hanging out with. If it’s my girlfriends, they might see a lot of Mei Mei. I like to put on a show, that’s for sure. I like to be big, although I learned how to reel that back in my life.
I’m definitely one of those people who, put on some music and put me in a Victoria’s Secret get-up and I’ll like, “I’m going to be an angel right now.” I like having fun like that. But, I’ve learned how to reel it in and utilize those moments for what I do for a living. So, I think Mei Mei doesn’t have that same radar.