Puss In Boots, a swashbuckling ogre hunter, was introduced in Shrek 2, and quickly became one of the most popular characters in the franchise. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, in the final chapter of the franchise, Shrek Forever After, Puss’s persona has totally changed.
In the story Shrek (Mike Myers) has been duped into signing a contract with the smooth-talking Rumpelstiltskin, which results in the ogre being transported to an alternate universe where he has never met the love of his life, Fiona (Cameron Diaz). Fiona is now a warrior with the ogre Resistance and she owns Puss, a fat and lazy cat who can barely make it to the milk dish, which he shares with a mouse.
But even though the Shrek franchise is coming to an end, it’s not all bad news for Banderas, as Puss In Boots will be spinning off into his own series of movies.
It seems like you had so much fun doing the voice for Puss in Boots. Were you surprised to be involved and that it was such a success over the years?
It was unexpected because I came to this country without speaking the language. The fact that they called me just for the use of my voice is very, very surprising, actually. It was fun every time, but I like being in the recording room.
I remember when we opened at the Cannes Film Festival, and (the audience) interrupted the movie with applause 12 times, it was kind of startling to me and beautiful. And it had emotion all around it, the whole entire time.
Can I ask you what your reaction was when you saw the fat Puss In Boots in this movie?
It was almost freaky, because as they record you with a camera when you are doing the cat. There are certain things you see of yourself in there and you don’t know how the hell these guys put that together in that way, it was unbelievable.
Were you shocked when you saw him, you probably knew he was going to be rotund.
Yeah, in a way I was. What shocked me was actually that the character had kept that capacity of comedy. I didn’t expect that, it was surprising.
Are you sad to see the franchise end?
Well, it’s sad on one side, but very satisfying because I think through four movies with Shrek, actually, sometimes even playing against pop culture it became pop culture itself.
I was in New York this year watching the Thanksgiving parade and there it was, Shrek, big balloon with two legs. We ended up behind Mickey Mouse. It was beautiful. That’s what he’s done in these 10 years of work. So, it’s sad on one side.
Can you talk about the spin off of the Puss In Boots character?
Yes, the cat is going to continue now on its own, and I hope, it goes well. What we’re doing so far doesn’t involve the same plot or process as Shrek. It goes with a different energy. It’s kind of like a Sergio Leone movie, but it’s a lot of fun, too, but it’s in a different context.
Have you seen the Spanish version?
Yeah I’ve seen it because I have to do it. I do the Spanish, two different versions actually, Castilian version for Spain and another version for Latin America and then I do the Italian version too.
Do you often get begged by kids to do Puss In Boots?
It’s very weird. I remember a woman came to me once in a supermarket with a little kid like five years old and she said to him, ‘Look! Look! This is Puss In Boots. Can you do the voice?’ And the kid just looked at me and looked at his mother and said, ‘That isn’t Puss In Boots, that’s Zorro!’ (he laughs).
So what do you do in that circumstance? You don’t know what to do with the kid. What voice do I (do) for him? It’s weird.