PUSS IN BOOTS PRESS
By Gary Murray
Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek look like Hollywood royalty. He was wearing a conservative dark suit and she was decked out in a dark beaded dress, flowing yet glamorous. The smiles of the two blinded with each flash of a camera bulb. For them, it was just another red carpet, something that they had done in Tinsel Town for a number of years. But they were not in the cinema home field but hundreds of miles away.
Both were in the Dallas area to promote their newest film, the animated adventure Puss in Boots. The DreamWorks film is of a secondary character from the Shrek franchise, an adorable cat with a fancy pair of boots and a wicked sword. Banderas voices the title character, a cat with a price on his head trying to win back the accolades of being a hero. She is the voice of Kitty Softpaws a master thief who has several run-ins with the hero of the piece. The two were joyful to be promoting this new film from the studio that gave the world all of the Shrek films and How to Train Your Dragon.
This stand-alone adventure is the story of Puss in Boots and his estranged ‘brother’ Humpty Dumpty and their quest to get magic beans that will lead them to the goose that lays the golden eggs. Along the way there is romance, adventure and cats upon cats upon cats. It is a very family friendly animated piece that should appeal to children of all ages.
As the two strolled down the red carpet to the waiting questions for reporters, I was able to momentarily talk to these two stars. I asked Antonio when he first received the script for Shrek did he envision the phenomena. He shook his head and said, “The thing is that Puss in Boots was a character for the first film. I loved it and I thought it was an amazing new turn for animation movies. It was a film for both kids and adults. I was raised with those fairy tails and seeing them from a totally different angle, I loved it. I said ‘yes’ almost unconditionally. I never thought that the character was going to get this far (with his solo feature)”
“Is it going to be a series?” I asked.
“That,” he answered is going to be up to the audience.”
With Selma I wanted to know what advice she would give to an actress coming up in Hollywood. “It is so hard to know what it is that you did that actually helped you get there. It is almost like a bunch of little things that are happening simultaneously. Luck has a lot to do with it. But the one thing I can say not just for actresses but for everyone is try to prepare yourself. I was so privileged to study with Stella Adler when she was in her 90’s. I got to study under her with Benicio Del Toro and Mark Ruffalo–they were in my class. I think you must prepare yourself because you are going to need everything you can to go through the process.”
They were both excited about making a film that their kids could enjoy. Antonio said, “My kids are older and I still feel that the film is for them. That is the cool thing about this movie it is not just for little kids. It appeals to kids of all ages.”
Selma finished the thought by adding, “My daughter is so proud. We were walking into the hotel today and someone had pictures from the movie. She said, ‘That’s my mommy!’ That is the first time she has been so proud of my work.”
The two were in Chicago the day before and going to San Francisco in the morning. They have been so many places promoting the film but are still fans of the work. Antonio said, “This character is not only an action star but a comedian. It is an unbelievable pleasure to sit down with the audience and hear them cheering and laughing. Especially when the kids are doing that, believe me, it pays off.
Selma added, “I love my character. If you would have asked me, I never would have thought I would have been a cat.”
On doing more Zorro films, Antonio laughed and said “I’m getting too old to do any more Zorro. I hope that the people make us do more movies with Puss. There are tremendous possibilities with making movies like this. The tendency is to work less but work better.”
Puss in Boots opens nationwide on October 28th.