The voice of Mr. Ping ushers in this all-new adventure, on Blu-ray and DVD December 13th
Po and the Furious Five are arriving on Blu-ray and DVD just in time for Christmas, this Tuesday, December 13th. Iconic cult legend James Hong voices Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda 2. He is a Chinese goose, father to Po the Panda, and owner of the most popular noodle shop in the Valley of Peace. To celebrate the release of Kung Fu Panda 2, we caught up with Mr. Hong to chat with him about his own childhood experiences working in his dad's noodle shop.
Here is our conversation.
You sound like you're very busy today. Where are you exactly?
Oh, yeah. Who are you playing in that one?
James Hong: I think this has been cleared by the publicist. I play the Avatar to Ryan Reynolds (laughs). I can't give you much more detail than that. I am his other self.
Did you work closely with him to get your body movements to match?
James Hong: Well, what I do is...I don't have to match everything he does. I do have to watch him during every take that I am in. I try to match the body movements and so-forth. But other than that simple expression, I can interpret it how I see it.
Going from a Chinese Goose to Ryan Reynolds is quite a leap. You're Mr. Ping is certainly one of the more beloved characters in this franchise. From what depths do you pull up this animal?
James Hong: As you can see in the movie, I am in a sense like a goose who owns a noodle shop. I feel like Ping, because I move around like a goose. I am very fast, and I move around in a different rhythm than most people. Maybe I am part goose. The character is very close to me. I make noodles. When I was young, I made a lot of noodles for my father, in his restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Because we didn't have fresh noodles for Chow Mien in Minnesota. Who, in Minnesota, is going to be making Chinese noodles? Me and my brother would start at a table with some flour and eggs, but not too much milk...We would mix all of that from scratch. That was a lot of noodles I made for the whole restaurant. Part of my young life was making noodles. When I got the role of Mr. Ping, it just fell into place...I felt very at home with Mr. Ping. Because he loves noodles. He loves good broth. My mother made very good broth for the noodles, so we grew up eating and drinking good broth. Personality wise, I am a lot like Mr. Ping. I am very nervous, and picky. My daughter says, "Oh, dad...You don't have to do it that way anymore." Because I am always giving her all of these details about what to do. It's hard, as a father, to let go of what the children want to do. That's what is going on with Mr. Ping. He doesn't want to let go of Po. After all, he is jus a small child. He is big, but he is still a baby.
Did you ever own geese?
James Hong: Little chickies, like most of us. I'm trying to remember...That's a good question. I have to key into my memory. Maybe once...I grew up partially in China, too, you know? Where we had a lot of farm animals around. I rented a house in Los Angeles, when I first moved to Hollywood. We did have a huge goose in the back yard. Maybe it was a duck. I can't quite remember. It would lay an egg every single day. And we would go out there and get that egg. We would sell the egg. In that sense, I did partially own either a duck or a goose.
We had a goose when I was a kid. What I remember is that it would be extremely loyal to some, and hate others. It knew and hated my brother, Dave, with a passion. It could narrow him down in a crowd, that goose...
James Hong: The goose tends to chase people more than the duck. I wonder why that is? I love goose meat. I hate to think of it as a pet. When they serve goose in certain Chinese restaurants, the meat seems to be smoother than the roast duck. The Beijing duck...
Oh, no doubt. Trust me, my brother loved eating that goose.
James Hong: Was it friendly to you?
Oh, yeah. It was my buddy. It would hang out. It would get in the pool with me.
James Hong: How old were you?
Eight or nine...
James Hong: That goose was practically as tall as you were, almost! (Laughs)
The thing about both of these Kung Fu Panda movies is that they make me extremely hungry.
James Hong: Oh, yes! I wish I had some cooked goose, right now...Where did that expression come from? You're a cooked goose?
I think that is from the 1800s. The Old West...
Kung Fu Panda 2 comes to Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday, December 13th.