Angelina Jolie and Jack Black: Fu fighters
Jack Black and Angelina Jolie couldn’t be more different. One is a sexy, seductive minx…and the other is a globe-trotting mom who is raising six kids with Brad Pitt. But sit down with them both, as EW did at the Cannes Film Festival, and you’ll see they have a friendly, sparring camaraderie that’s carried them through three animated movies together. They first met as fish in 2004’s Shark Tale before moving up the food chain and voicing warrior mammals in 2008’s Kung Fu Panda. Now Black (who’s married and has two little boys) and Jolie are back in Kung Fu Panda 2, reprising their roles as Po, the clumsy, wisecracking bear, and Tigress, his no-nonsense martial-arts partner. Their nemesis this time? A wicked white peacock (Gary Oldman) that threatens their land.
EW: The goal of this interview is to get you two to argue and start some actual kung fu fighting. Can you oblige?
Angelina Jolie: [Laughs] People have been lookin’ for a fight between us.
Jack Black: It’s not gonna happen. I can’t win that battle.
Jolie: We could both take Gary Oldman!
Jolie: Isn’t that the point of the film? I mean, he’s the bad guy. Now, could Dustin [Hoffman, who voices kung fu master Shifu] take on Gary Oldman?
Black: Dustin could take us all on.
EW: Did you two ever record dialogue together, or was it always performed separately?
Jolie: We did perform alone. But the first film was harder because you haven’t actually seen it. I didn’t know exactly what he was doing. [Laughs] I still don’t know exactly what he’s doing.
Black: There is a dude there who speaks and pretends to be the other person.
Jolie: Is there a dude who does me?
Jolie: It’s not a female?
Black: It’s a dude. [Sheepishly] But he really got in touch with his feminine side.
EW: You two first got to know each other here at Cannes, right?
Jolie: Our Cannes history is very intertwined. The first time we came here together was for Shark Tale, and we met moments before climbing onto a floating plastic shark. Nobody told me, but [DreamWorks Animation chief] Jeffrey Katzenberg often likes to pull a stunt in Cannes. He said, ”We’re just going to walk down the dock,” and I thought, ”Hmm, okay.” It was Will [Smith] and Jack and me. We get to the end of the dock, and it was like, ”Hey, look at this — there’s a floaty shark! Room for three!” I said, ”No, no, no, no. I will not be doing that, sailing out to sea in front of a bunch of paparazzi. No, thank you.”
Black: But then me and Will turned on the charm boosters.
Jolie: They did. They both climbed on. Partially I couldn’t resist their charm, and partially I could not let them go out to sea holding on to each other.
Black: It really wouldn’t be right! [Laughs] It would’ve been a much different promotional campaign.
Jolie: It was one of those things where you either totally jump or you don’t.
Black: I was aware at the time of ”This looks pretty ridiculous,” but when you’re embarrassed, that’s usually something that’s attention-grabbing and will be good press.
Jolie: But I didn’t know what kind of ”good press.” I knew it’d be good for Jeffrey. I didn’t know how good it would be for our careers. It’s really one of those moments when you think, ”How did I get here?” But it’s good in places like [Cannes], and in this business, to not take yourself so seriously and just get goofy and do something stupid sometimes.
Black: You only have to go hardcore humiliation on the first film. On the subsequent sequels, you can coast.
EW: When you brought the original Kung Fu Panda to Cannes, I remember you were very pregnant, Angelina, and Jack posed for photos pressing his belly against yours.
Black: [Putting hands on his stomach] I’m strangely still pregnant! What happened?
EW: Angelina, Jack also broke the news during a Today show interview that you were not just having one baby but twins. Any hard feelings?
Jolie: Nah, it was really funny. Brad and I had decided we were fine to start talking about it. So we just talked to people we knew. We weren’t going to make any sort of announcement, but [gesturing to Black] one of our friends did.