Jay Chou sings for very Chinese 'Kung Fu Panda 3'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 7, 2015
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Pop singer Jay Chou will sing the theme song for the much-anticipated animated feature "Kung Fu Panda 3", it was announced on Friday.

A file photo shows Jay Chou in his dubbing session for "Kung Fu Panda 3." [Photo/ China.org.cn]

Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told a press conference in Shanghai that Chou would sing the theme song. He also said that Chou had become so famous all his colleagues at Dreamworks Animation in the United States recognized him when he visited the studio.

Katzenberg said Dreamworks Animation paid great attention to Chinese market, inviting the hottest stars to join the voiceover cast. He said inviting Chou to sing was not only because he is the top musician in China, but also because his Chinese musical style and spirit of freedom were "very suitable for the film's conception".

Besides singing, Jay Chou will also do the Chinese voiceover for the Monkey in The Furious Five team in Chinese version along with Jackie Chan, Yang Mi, Huang Lei, Zhang Guoli, Jiang Wu, Zhu Zhu, and the Chopstick Brothers. Jackie Chan, who will dub panda Po's father in the Chinese version, will also do the dubbing for the Monkey in the English version.

Chou said he worked very hard to develop his dubbing skill and song composing, for which he collaborated with his 16-year-old apprentice musician and singer Patrick Brasca. He described many "firsts" regarding the film, including "first time" to dub an animation and "first time" to sing the theme song for an animation movie.

Director Jennifer Yuh also announced Hans Zimmer will return to score the film, with musical star-studded cast performances by Chinese pianist Lang Lang, Chinese cellist Wang Jian, and erhu musician, Guo Gan.

The third installment of the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise, co-produced by China and the U.S., will hit the screen in both countries on Jan. 29, 2016.

"Kung Fu Panda 3," directed by Jennifer Yuh and Alessandro Carloni, tells the story after Po is reunited with his long-lost father and how he grows into a hero.

Yuh said on Wednesday that before she made "Kung Fu Panda 2," she visited a panda base in southwest China's Sichuan Province and held a baby panda which provided much inspiration. "In the third one, Po will continue self-improvement to become a sophisticated hero," said Yuh.

The most outstanding thing this time is the Chinese version was specially made based on Chinese language environment and culture, not just simple dubbing. The dialogue lines and even the animated characters' lip shapes were designed to make it more Chinese rather than making Chinese people feel foreign and exotic.

Katzenberg said at a Beijing press conference on Nov. 4 that it was the first animated film made based on two languages at the same time. Jennifer Yuh added that even characters' expressions differ between the two versions. More than 200 Chinese staff at Oriental DreamWorks, a Chinese-American film production company founded in 2012 by DreamWorks Animation and Chinese investment companies, participated in the production.

Raman Hui, the top Chinese director whose "Monster Hunt" earned more than US$384 million in China alone, becoming the top-grossing Chinese movie of all time, is still an employee of Dreamworks where he has worked for 20 years. He helped recruit the Chinese team for "Kung Fu Panda 3," hiring a Chinese script writer and voiceover experts. The Chinese version has its own director, Teng Huatao, who has directed various romantic TV series and films including "Love is Not Blind".

Hui said, "When you look at the Chinese version of 'Kung Fu Panda 3,' you will feel the film is really made for Chinese audiences. All the characters behave in Chinese ways, it is really original. It looks nothing like a translated English version."

The English voices are also top names, including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson, and J. K. Simmons.

The franchise started in 2008 and the second installment was released in 2011 and brought in worldwide box office earnings of over US$660 million.

Katzenberg said he hoped "Kung Fu Panda 3" could reclaim its crown from recent top grosser "Monkey King: Hero is Back" by Tian Xiaopeng. The home-made "Monkey King" grossed 956 million yuan (U$150.47 million) to become the highest grossing animation in Chinese film history, beating the previous record holder "Kung Fu Panda 2" which took in 617 million yuan from Chinese cinemas four years ago.

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