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Shrek 2 - Antonio Banderas Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. You sound like you were having great fun on the movie. Have you also made some children, very close to you, very happy?
A.
That's not the reason I did it actually. It's a nice thing to do, and it's great to go with your kids and for them to see that you are a part of it. I suppose my daughter will remember one day that she went to the opening of Shrek with pappy, and that's nice.
But I did it, actually, because I was in love with the first one. So I had a fantastic reference point, so all I had to hear on the phone was the magic word, Shrek.
Katzenberg: Literally, I called him up, and said, 'Antonio, we're making Shrek', and he said 'yes!'.
'No, no, no, we're going to make a sequel', and he said 'yes'!
'No, no, no, we have a part that's actually for you', at which point he said, 'don't you understand the word 'yes'; is my English that bad?'
Antonio: No, it was a joy from the beginning, just to be a part of this family. I actually have the first Shrek at home. My daughter has probably seen it twice, but I've seen it ten times.
I think it was totally different to any animation movie I have seen before, it was another type of take.
When we did the second part, I understood why the first one shined so much and was so fresh.
And the creative team use you a lot, as well, not only your voice, but your creative skills as well. You don't feel that you are just performing and are totally attached from the technological side.
At the same time you have an input, and that was very important for me, because I understand how it works.
Not everyone does, of course. My wife had an experience on Stuart Little when she was coming back home, every day, saying, 'oh my God, I have to repeat this line 80 times, you know'?
But that was not the feeling that I had. We did a lot of improvisation, or if the scene was already set up and had storyboards, for example, we may repeat the scene in many different ways, to give them as much material as you can.

Q. How do you build a character like Puss in Boots?
A.
I actually didn't do anything special. Actually, I was very afraid, because at the time when I started recording the commentary, I was on Broadway, singing every night, and I encountered a couple of problems, especially the day that I had to do the hairball.
Forty five minutes of coughing up a fur ball, you know, so when I got to the theatre, I was working with 16 ladies, and they said to me, 'rough night, huh?' 'No, the guilty is a cat!'
But not in the beginning. In the first sessions, you don't have a reference point. Later on, you start understanding what the character is all about, and you start seeing the drawing, the relationship with other characters, and then you try just to put a little bit more, because you know the point that you're going for.
Actually, to be fair, I had an advantage over the people who did the first one, because I had a reference point; I knew what type of movie it was already. So I knew I had to just compliment, in a way, the first cast, because those were the ones who actually set up the tone of the movie. All I had to do was jump into the character.
But there was no special research, like looking at cats all day long. [laughs]

Q. You've been over the course with Zorro, of course, already?
A.
Yes, I start the movie, Zorro, this Summer, and I'm going to have to work very hard to overcome this cat!
But it's good to parody sometimes, even though you have to pitch it right, in order to be in the service of the movie, or just lose it. The parody is a very effective way of making people laugh very immediately, but if you go a little bit longer than normal, and it's no longer in the service of the story, it becomes something that is actually a tip. Everything was very intelligently done, in terms of the parody of it.
Obviously, Zorro is all the way around this character, but also Alien! And Mission Impossible, which is probably one of the most beautiful sights in the movie; the whole entire Mission Impossible scenes.

Q. Do you have a particular scene that you absolutely love?
A.
For me, it's the trip to Far, Far Away and also the whole entire Mission Impossible section.

Q. Is your experience of Hollywood as shallow and two-faced as the land of Far, Far Away might suggest? Or does it not go far enough?
A.
Well, I think if you can find movies, like this, that allow you to laugh at yourself, and the whole entire entourage that represents Hollywood, we're fine!

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