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Even as critics are calling Kung Fu Panda 3 the best in the trilogy, Jack Black knows that it’s the public that demanded another movie. “I think there’s a hunger for panda,” he laughs. “People want more panda. And that’s a good sign. But then the panda’s been very good to me! I’ve had great experiences making these movies and travelling the world to promote them.”

With this third adventure, Black sees the story coming to a proper climax. “You’ve got the beginning, the middle and now here’s the big finish,” he says. “And I think it’s the best of the three in many ways. Three is the magic number! It’s got a really kick-ass emotional ending.

The whole crowd was flipping out when we screened it at my kids’ school.”

Intriguingly, both Black and his costar Angelina Jolie got their children involved in the movie. “We forced them,” Black jokes. “It’s like, get out there and do your job. Earn some money for this family!”

On the third film, Black’s son Samuel and four of Jolie’s children with Brad Pitt were given small roles to play. Actually, Black says that 9-year-old Samuel petitioned him for a part once he heard that they were making a third movie. “I was like, ‘We’ll see what I can do. I’ll try to get you a line,’” Black laughs. “And I was able to pull some strings.”

Since making the first Kung Fu Panda in 2008, Black admits that he feels like he has a lot in common with his character Po. “When I was a child, I took the obligatory one year of karate,” he says. “I believe I got a yellow belt, and then I also did some judo. I believe I made it to a green belt. But never kung fu. I’d always wanted to do kung fu.”

And he threw himself into the role physically. “I use my body an awful lot, actually,” Black explains. “I mean, they’re filming us while we’re doing our vocal recordings and they use it for reference. To get the proper sounds, I would really do the things that I was supposed to be doing. Like, if I was supposed to be tired from running, I would run around. It was very method acting in that way!”