Antonio Banderas on Puss in Boots 2, Shrek 6, & Indiana Jones 5
Dec 19, 2022
In the long-awaited sequel, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the sword-swiping feline must confront Death itself. It seems that in life, the Stabby Tabby’s vices – glory, shellfish, and a pint of milk – have gotten the better half of his 9 allotted cat lives. While at the doctor, Puss (Antonio Banderas) is informed he’s got one life left to live, and thus he’s forced to retire his sword and adventures. When he finds that the day-to-day of a housecat isn’t for him, Puss embarks on a journey to locate a legendary fallen star that’s said to grant one wish. Unfortunately, Puss in Boots isn’t the only one searching for that star, and he, along with old friends and new, set out on yet another epic adventure.
The DreamWorks Animation sequel features an ensemble of vocal talent including Salma Hayek reprising her role as thief and Puss’s former love interest Kitty Softpaws and introducing Florence Pugh as Goldilocks, Harvey Guillén, Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman, and John Mulaney. The sequel hits theaters on December 21.
Ahead of its theatrical release, Collider’s Steve Weintraub sat down with star Banderas to discuss reprising this beloved role after so many years. During their interview, Banderas shares why he believes Puss in Boots became a breakout star from the Shrek franchise, why the character resonates with both children and adults, and touches on some of the movie’s heavier themes. He also talks about the tease at the end of The Last Wish, the likelihood of another Shrek movie, and his part in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) and working with Harrison Ford.
For more on Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, check out Collider’s review by Nate Richard. You can watch our interview with Banderas in the video above, or read the full transcript below.
COLLIDER: First of all, congrats on the movie. You have done so many different things through your career. If someone has actually never seen anything you’ve done, what is the first thing you want them watching, and why?
ANTONIO BANDERAS: I would love for them to watch the eight movies that I have done with Pedro Almodóvar, for example. Why? Because it is cinema that was done in my home town, in my home nation, actually, in Spain, because I think they broke many different rules of cinema at the time that they were made. And because it’s pure cinema, I think. So I just would show the people that. And then there are other things, as you said, very colorful, around my career, that complement that theme. But those eight movies, for me, are very important.
Image via DreamWorks Animation
Puss in Boots has been a breakout character since the beginning and has been so popular for so long. What do you think it is about the character that has resonated with so many people for so long?
BANDERAS: Contrast. There’s something that is important. I mean, when the Shrek saga was created, they were just putting a lot of accent in all fairy tales and a completely different look to those characters than before, a different angle to see them. Zorro, in a way, was a fairy tale. It was created as a stripe in The New York Times before we went to the bigger screen and then to television in the ’60s and stuff. So they took the character, like a fairy tale character, but they put that whole entire character in the body of a cat. That is a contrast.
And then that little cat has a very strong voice. Those little things is the source of comedy. It’s almost like the character never looks at himself in the mirror. He doesn’t even know the look that he has. He got a personality that is bigger than his own body, and he just traveled with that. And then he got a double phase. He got a phase for kids, and he had a phase for adults.
It was very funny. Some interviews that we did yesterday, some of the interviewers, they were very, very young. They were, I don’t know, 26, 27 years old, and so they saw the first Shrek 20 years ago, the first participation that I had, and they got a perception of the movie that was completely different to when they revised the movie 20 years after. They said to me things like, “When I saw the movie now, of Shrek 2, for example, I understood why my father was laughing at certain points that I couldn’t understand.”
So, the intelligence in the teams that were creating all of those movies was extraordinary, just to create a movie that appeals to audiences that were adults and for the kids at the same time. I think that’s the success of Puss in Boots.
Image via Universal
I have read about a sequel to Puss in Boots for a good 10 years now, and I honestly wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen. At any point, were you like, “This is never going to get made?”
BANDERAS: At some point, yeah. At some point in which I lost contact for maybe a couple of years, but I knew that the studio operated big changes, because it moved to another studio, actually, to Universal. And at the same time, the pandemic came on, so there was a number of things that were going on at the same time.
So I got in contact with them eventually, but yeah, there was a period of time of maybe not two years, but a year-and-a-half, something like that, in which I didn’t receive any news. At that point, I thought, “Oh, well, maybe they’re just rethinking,” because this new panorama that they had in front of them, they are thinking, “It’s something completely new.” They didn’t want to revisit things that they have done in the past, something like that. So yes, at some point, I thought about it, but then here we are.
I don’t want to do any spoilers. However, the movie does introduce the possibility that Puss is about to see some friends, maybe Shrek and other people. Have you heard anything about another Shrek movie and another adventure?
BANDERAS: No, officially, no, no. Nobody has said anything to me. I was the first one who was surprised when at the end of this movie, we saw this wink of an eye that the studio just threw there, with Far, Far Away. And so I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but certainly, if I knew something, I will say it. But no, none officially.
Image via DreamWorks Animation
I definitely want to know, because when you’re making it, you really don’t know how it’s all going to come together, even you. What was your reaction to the finished film?
BANDERAS: The thing that surprised me the most was the capacity that we all, I guess, had to create a movie in which we allow ourselves to reflect about issues that normally you don’t in front of a very young audience: the possibility of the character dying and the depression that he gets into. And at the same time, the panic of seeing death very close to him all the time. The metaphorical character, almost, that the wolf represents, and then the vulnerability of this hero. We see a hero now that he can just be in trouble, psychological trouble, just fighting the idea of death.
So I think it was important, and I think after the pandemic and having kids confined in the houses with masks, going here and there, without sharing a school time with their friends, and seeing from their homes that out there, there is something dangerous that is threatening them. I think it’s important that instead of hiding, we just show them a reflection about the importance of existence and life itself.
I am a huge Indiana Jones fan, and I just want to know what it was like when James Mangold said, “Hey, we want you to be part of this movie,” and being part of the last Indiana Jones movie with Harrison Ford.
BANDERAS: It was great, but you have to think. My character is very little; it’s almost a cameo. It’s very little. Just the fact that I step on the set, for me, was important. And I got to tell you: I got a great time with Harrison. He’s a gentleman on the set and outside of the set. I share some dinners with him and some time, and what a gentleman.
But my character is little. He’s just a friend of Indiana’s character, and he’s looking for him because he needs something from his friend. But he just takes up very little time of the movie, but very happy to be part of a saga that is of the history of motion pictures, obviously.
For sure. Listen, congrats on this. I wish you nothing but the best, and thank you for your time.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is in theaters on December 21.
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