‘Panda’ battle-ready

All-star cast to kick up voices

DreamWorks Animation is rounding out the cast of its upcoming CGI pic “Kung Fu Panda.”

Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan and Ian McShane are set to join Jack Black in the animated comedy, which will be released in May 2008. Lucy Liu is in discussions to star.

In the pic, Black stars as Po the Panda, the laziest of all the animals in the Valley of Peace. With powerful enemies at the gates, all hope is pinned on a martial arts hero to rise to save the day. When Po unwittingly shows up in the midst of the martial arts competition, the masters are shocked to see that this unmotivated panda bears the mark of the Chosen One.

Hoffman will voice the role of Shifu, the by-the-book, tough-as-nails kung fu master whose task it is to transform Po into a fighter. Thesp most recently starred in Universal’s “Meet the Fockers.”

Chan will lend his voice to Master Monkey, a strong, agile and dedicated kung fu warrior, who serves as a daily reminder to Po of everything he is not.

Liu will be the voice of Master Viper, another of Po’s teachers, who can be coy and feminine, but is capable of unleashing the warrior within.

McShane (“Deadwood,” “Sexy Beast”) will voice the villainous Tai Lung, a powerful snow leopard, intent on destroying the Valley of Peace.

“Kung Fu Panda” is being directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne. Melissa Cobb is producing.

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