updated 05/14/2008 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/14/2008 AT 9:15 AM ET
The 61st Cannes Film Festival kicked off Wednesday morning as Jack Black showed off his martial art skills for Kung Fu Panda.
Black arrived at the Carlton hotel pier by boat, then walked a gauntlet of 40 oversized pandas modeled after characters in the animated film, which costars Angelina Jolie. (The stunt rivaled last year’s airborne arrival of Jerry Seinfeld dressed as bee.)
“It’s a hard choice to decide who had the crazier stunt between me and Jerry,” Black, 39, tells PEOPLE. “But I can’t believe he had to come down from the top of the hotel – twice.”
In fact, Black’s “pandemonium” on the pier upstaged the official festival opening flick, Blindness, which stars Julianne Moore, Gael Garcia Bernal and Mark Ruffalo.
Dad-to-be Black is on his third visit to Cannes, but his mind was still stateside.
“My wife is home pregnant,” he said. “I’ve got to get her a present. Not sure what yet, but I can’t leave without getting something.”
The festival in the south of France runs through May 25. This year, the jury is headed by actor Sean Penn and also includes Natalie Portman.