Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek find their purr-fect roles in “Puss in Boots”

Antonio Bandares and Salma Hayek first worked with one another on Robert Rodriguez’s second film, “Desperado”. Since then, they have gone on to work on four more film together and they are have also become best friends for life. In their latest collaboration “Puss in Boots”, Bandares reprise the role of Puss in Boots, who is an outlaw on the run from a crime he unwittingly help partake in. Puss reunites with his old friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) who, with the help of Kitty Softpaws (Hayek), convince Puss to help steal magic beans that would lead to the goose that lay golden eggs. I have the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with Banderas and Hayek at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bricket when they were in town promoting the film.

Antonio, you have voiced your character for nearly five years. What motivated you to play this character and what do you attribute the longevity of the films?

Antonio Banderas: Years ago, I saw “Shrek” at the Cannes Film Festival that year. I was very impressed with the new approach of animation movies. When they called me, I could not believe that they asked to play a character in a “Shrek” movie. They showed me the entire movie put together on the wall and I really liked the character of Puss in Boots. In the beginning when I went to the recording studio for the first time, we did not know yet what he was going to sound like. We decided that the voice should not match the body. I produce a voice that is not my natural voice, but a voice that is deeper and bigger.

Salma, how did you get involved in the movie?

Salma Hayek: I was in Paris when I got a call from the filmmakers asking if I would like to do the movie. Since I had a family, I wanted to take some time off. Doing this movie was great you can record your line from anywhere in the world, even in the bathroom. It was so easy and it was very accommodating for me. Even if I did not have a daughter, I still love the “Shrek” films. I also love Antonio and his character what he did with it.

You have worked together many times throughout the years. What do you both like about working with one another?

Hayek: I have never worked with someone that is so enthusiastic about what they do. By nature, he is such a good storyteller and he really enjoys it profoundly. He is very professional; but at the same time, he love acting. I love what I do, but compared to Antonio, I look lazy. His attitude about working puts me to shame. I am so inspired to work with him. His is so generous that he makes you want to be better. His is also a very director. He not only has enthusiasm for his part, but he has enthusiasm for everybody’s part. He has so much energy more than anyone I have ever worked with. Antonio’s enthusiasm for life and what he does is amazing. I think he as an enormous passion for life. Now it is your turn.

Banderas: I could go on and on about Salma that sometimes it gets cheesy when we are promoting a film like this. She is unbelievable and sexy…

Hayek: Leave it at that.

Banderas: I adore her so much. Every time we see each other, it is like looking back in time and remembering the time when we were unknowns in the United States.

Hayek: The only difference is that he started here (raises her right hand high) and I started here (lowers her left hand). He was so kind to me. I have done nothing at the time and I was so scared, but Antonio and Robert were really kind to me during the making of “Desperado”.

You have adults that look up to you and now you have kids that look up to you. If you can give a pep talk to kids right now, what would you tell them?

Banderas: In some ways, this movie was not just made for kids. It was also made for adults  and different audiences. The movie is complex; but at the same time, it is very a well-crafted movie made by Hollywood, which is the only place in the world where these types of movies can be done like this. In this complicated world filled with violence and unpredictability, it is a privilege and an honor to have the opportunity to make both kids and adults laugh, to give them a couple of hours to have a great time together with a bucket of popcorn in their lap, go home with a smile and share some of the values the movie has about friendship, loyalty, honor and a number of things. It is priceless.

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