Antonio Banderas discussed heroes, villains, and the return of Puss in Boots.
Shrek (2001) was a surprising success all around. Many animators at DreamWorks who fell behind while working on The Prince of Egypt (1998) were sent to work on the CGI film as a sort of punishment. This happened often enough that they would call the assignment, getting “Shreked”, some employees even referring to it as a Gulag. With this sort of mindset, it would be very surprising if any studio, let alone one that had produced so few animated films to that point, was able to churn out a quality product.
It goes without saying that the team at DreamWorks succeeded: The success of the first Shrek movie has inspired a cult following lasting over two decades, and paved the way for three direct sequels, Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010), and a myriad of spinoffs, including television shows, holiday specials, and solo films. The success of this film also allowed for DreamWorks animation to explode, and produce dozens of other films since then, with a wide range of characters and stories. One such character, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), originally a sidekick to the big green Ogre (Mike Myers), rose to fame and two of his own solo films, Puss in Boots (2011) and now, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022).
Talking with Deadline recently, Banderas discussed how important films like The Mask of Zorro (1998), and Puss in Boots were to Spanish speaking people, especially in the United States:
“When I arrived in the United States, many of the actors I worked with told me that if you’re going stay in America, you’re going to play the bad guys and the villains. Blacks, Spaniards, and Arabs are the bad guys…That’s why it was important that I got a mask, a sword, and a cape. And the bad guy was blue eyes, blonde, and spoke perfect English. Puss In Boots is even better because it’s talking to kids, so kids can know that the good guys can also have an accent. And the bad guys can speak perfect English.”
That wasn’t all, however. In speaking about his Shrek character, Banderas teased the possibility of a return for the feline:
“I’ve been with this cat for almost 20 years…The first time I did Puss In Boots, I was working on Broadway, so I did my first session there. I’ve done five movies now. There is probably gonna be another, and ‘Shrek’ is probably coming back.”
After an announcement by DreamWorks that a fifth Shrek was due to be released in 2019, this nod is the first fans have heard of a comeback. That being said, The Last Wish already has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite it’s release still being two weeks away. A positive reaction like this to a character within the Shrek universe could bode well for a return of the Shrek (Myers) Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and others to the DreamWorks studio.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish releases in theaters December 21, 2022, and stars Antonio Banderas as the titular character, Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws, Harvey Guillén as Perrito, Florence Pugh as Goldilocks, John Mulaney as Jack Horner, and others in various fairytale roles. The sequel follows the adventures of Puss in Boots (Banderas) who is on the last of his 9 lives, and is seeking the ‘Mythical Last Wish’ to restore his lives, and continue the adventure.
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