Hoffman, Chan, McShane Lend Chops to Kung Fu Panda

Actor Jack Black will be in good company as the lead voice in DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming CG toon feature, Kung Fu Panda. According to Daily Variety, the studio has recently signed to the cast film icon Dustin Hoffman, international action superstar Jackie Chan and Emmy-winning Deadwood star Ian McShane. Lucy Liu (Kill Bill Vo. 1, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle) is said to be in negotiations to voice a major role in the action-comedy slated for release in May of 2008.

Storyboard artist John Stevenson (Madagascar, Shrek 2, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas) and Oscar-nominated animated filmmaker Mark Osborne are directing Kung Fu Panda from a script by Monster House scribes Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab. Melissa Cobb is producing the pic about a lazy, irreverent, slacker panda named Po (Black), who must somehow become a Kung Fu Master in order to save the Valley of Peace from a villainous snow leopard named Tai Lung.

Hoffman will reportedly voice the role of Shifu, the strict kung fu master who takes on the seemingly impossible task of turning Po into skilled warrior like Master Monkey, as voiced by Chan. The role of the villainous Tai Lung goes to McShane, a veteran actor who went from being the hero on the British series Lovejoy to play heavies in the critically acclaimed film Sexy Beast and the aforementioned HBO Western series, Deadwood. If a deal is struck, Liu will be the voice of Master Viper, another teacher charged with Po’s training.