Jennifer Yuh Nelson Talks KFP2

When Jeffrey Katzenberg needed a director for Kung Fu Panda 2, he turned to his secret weapon: the shy but quietly assertive story supervisor, Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Did you have to be coaxed into directing? And what was it like?

I’m not a naturally aggressive person as far as trying to get promoted or anything like that. I’m pretty much happiest if I’m sitting and drawing. I had to be coaxed. I think it’s about how to protect the film because a lot of people over the course of the [production] have a lot of great ideas, but you have to hold on to the original story you intended to tell. Which is demanding and hard over three years. That level of stamina involved is a big thing.

How were you able to achieve even more richness in this sequel to Kung Fu Panda?

The same production designer and art director, Raymond Zibach and Tang Heng, came back and they carried through the look of the first film, and were freed by the advancements in technology to increase the scale of a lot of the sets that we had. On the first film we could only go so far before technologically hitting a wall, and on this one we could build a whole city and it was all completely practical and have the characters punching everything, which was lovely.

What about the look of Lord Shen?

R&D with feathers, with cloth, with complexity of the rig. Shen can move his tail, he fights, he’s got flowing robes. Having him walk across a room would’ve been difficult and we have him doing crazed acrobatics. That would’ve been incredibly memory intensive for the computers.

What was the biggest challenge in returning to Kung Fu Panda?

We worked very hard for a deeper understanding of the characters in the sequel. And you have to raise the stakes and the understanding more to have an impact on the audience.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

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