What happens when a bunch of bloggers are in the same room with actress and celebrity mom Kate Hudson? We learn how to Kung fu. (Ok… figuratively, but still…)
No joke — after our chat, I walked outta that room one tougher mother. More powerful. More confident. More willing to wear my kids’ clothes. Hiii-YA!
Kate kicked off our group interview about her new role as ribbon-entertainer-turned-nunchuck-princess Mei Mei in Kung Fu Panda 3 in a most relatable way that blindsided even the most jaded of us. “I’m wearing Ryder’s [my son’s] shirt… It was literally in my bathroom,” she smiled. We all laughed. Was she serious?!? I think so?!? Hey, the shirt worked. (In case you’re interested, check the incomparable Nunchuck Princess Music Video staring Mei Mei at the bottom of this post… it’s a riot.)
Any mom who wears their boy’s shirt to any kind of a press day is confident… and so is her over-the-top role as Mei Mei in the franchise’s biggest comedy adventure to date. “I’ve got two kids, so I’m very familiar with the Kung Fu Panda movies. What I love about this one is that it just feels like it’s definitely heightened, grander experience.”
In this third movie, Po [played again by Jack Black] suddenly meets his long-lost panda father. The reunited duo then travel to a secret panda paradise, where Po meets and must train scores of hilarious new panda characters to defeat the supernatural villain Kai. Po also meets a most charismatic female panda named Mei Mei [Kate Hudson] who introduces herself with a beyond spectacular comedic ribbon dance — hilarious one-liners included — that will have you laughing at her and with her simultaneously.
The footage we all got a peek at was epic. Mei Mei is adorable, ridiculous, borderline out-of-control and so endearing it makes you love her more. She’s also self assured as hell. “I wish I had that kind of confidence sometimes,” Hudson joked with us. “She’s so funny. This is the first time I had really done anything animated. We just had to be so big and so huge. And it was so much fun to do.”
How much of Kate’s own personality is in Mei Mei? “It depends 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 [real] life.” (Fun fact: Kate told us that, growing up, Kurt Russell was the one who’d tell her to ‘slow down’ as a child…)
While Mei Mei’s message is all about girl power, Kung Fu Panda 3‘s higher message is one for all ages:
If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.
Talk about a powerful message. (Sound the gong here.) Hudson explained, “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 and be able to empathize with what that must feel like. It’s a real coming-of-age story, really. I love that about this one.”
One thing I’ve been a fan of for years is Hudson’s famously-easygoing demeanor about work, life and (now) motherhood as told by the media. She doesn’t seem like she stresses about anything and she’s consistently trying new things, picking risky dress, surprising us with a new haircut, fronting ‘athleisurewear’ line Fabletics, jumping into doing an animated film out of the blue. If you check out Kate Hudson’s Instagram, she always looks like she’s having the best day of her life. It’s fresh and inspiring in a way that you kinda forget she’s a… MOM.
Hudson brings girl power. (Maybe it’s a mom power thing?) I was curious if she’s opting to raise her boys Ryder and Bing (ages 11 and 4, respectively) with a sense of what girl power is all about: Kate explained, “I have a private Instagram account where I actually do a lot of stuff with my kids… I do this thing called ‘Bringing up Bing’ and ‘Raising Ryder,’ and it’s all about women. That is my sense of humor with my kids. I’m like, ‘You’re going to respect women.’ So we do all these like funny things about the importance of respecting the women in their life… I think the younger generation [of kids] has very strong mothers. I think boys [being raised by Millennial moms] are used to what that is to have that sort of woman.” Teaching sons about girl power is…. serious girl power.
And that’s how you Kung fu, mom style. Hiii-YA! Long live strong mothers. Long live girl powers. Long live chicks like Mei Mei (may they continue to teach men and boys everywhere about girl power…)
Kung Fu Panda 3 opens in theaters nationwide on January 29, 2016. Event & interview opportunity as told above hosted by 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation. Kung Fu Panda 3 is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, produced by Melissa Cobb and stars Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim, Bryan Cranston, J. K. Simmons, Kate Hudson. Like Kung Fu Panda 3 on Facebook. Follow DreamWorks Animation on Twitter and Instagram.