Interview and Photos: Banderas, Hayek, Miller and Katzenberg at Puss in Boots Premiere in Sydney

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots posterParamount launched DreamWorks’ Puss in Boots today in Sydney, the last stop on the global journey of the latest spin-off from the Shrek franchise. Very special guests Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, director Chris Miller and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg arrived at the Hoyts EQ in Sydney to promote the film.

We were lucky enough to chat with Chris Miller and Jeffrey Katzenberg about the film. Unfortunately, the stars were too rushed to stop and chat with us at the tail end of the carpet, so we only managed to get one question with Mr. Banderas that we shared with a neighbouring reporter. Better luck next time, we guess!

Jeffrey Katzenberg has been in the animation industry longer than most, and had some interesting things to say on what the most important changes were in the last decade of making animated films. “Technology continues to give our artists the capabilities to realise richer and more beautiful images and create them in 3D. So this constant, almost evolution of technology in the hands of great artists, I think, is making these experiences pretty exceptional. You know, everybody talks about how rich and beautiful every aspect of Puss in Boots is, from the animation, to the visuals, to the furs to the special effects. You know, it has such a beautiful imagery to it, and that imagery was the result of great technical software”.

Speaking of fur, we figured that Chris Miller would be the person to tell us exactly how many individual hairs were on the back of Puss. “At least six,” quips Miller. “Although I’ve never actually counted. I’m sure there were departments that were working hard to fill his back with hair for many, many hours, many days, many weekends, many years. Actually, I am proud of the way the fur looks in this films – it’s crazy! It’s one of those giant computer generated challenges, and it’s amazing to see how technology has come along too. It’s good to have the great technology and it helps create this painterly feel, but the bottom line is that it’s the artists”.

[quote_right]”I see a lot of classic cinematic figures, like Clint Eastwood in the cat. I see Errol Flynn in the cat. Even Indiana Jones or James Bond. Zorro, but you get that for free with Antonio.” – Chris Miller[/quote_right] “To me it’s such a collaborative process. Coming from the Shrek world, or universe, and having this amazing character to work with, I have to say was such a liberating experience to pluck him out of the air and create an entirely new world specific to him, you know. Seen through his eyes, from his point of view. We always look at it early on as Shrek is sort of a Northern European fairytale, this one is going to be Meditteranean, southern, mash-up of Latin culture. We took every leaf from the character: it’s going to be epic, it’s going to be an origin story. So many influences, character wise, that we looked for…For me I see a lot of classic cinematic figures, like Clint Eastwood in the cat. I see Errol Flynn in the cat. Even Indiana Jones or James Bond. Zorro, but you get that for free with Antonio. It was such a liberating fun experience putting a movie together”.

[quote_left]”I would personally like to work on another one” – Chris Miller[/quote_left] So what’s next for Miller? He certainly seems keen for a sequel. “A great project called sleep. It’s going to be wonderful, it will extend through to the end of the year, followed by vacation. I don’t know, we’ll see. I’m just excited the movie is coming out. I would personally like to work on another one. There’s an audience for it, you know. We’ve created something that we are really fond of, we really fell in love with, and hopefully the movie gods will look down on us”.

[quote_right]”Fun! Fun! It’s almost embarassing to say it”. – Antonio Banderas[/quote_right] There will certainly be a willing actor in Antonio Banderas, who admitted what he really thought about playing the character. “Fun! Fun! It’s almost embarassing to say it. We created a character almost 10 years ago,  and we have the parameters and limits of the character in terms of latitude and drama and we can do incredible things with him”.

Stay tuned later in the week for a longer conversation we’ll be having with Chris Miller.

We need to thank Paramount for the opportunity to attend the red (yellow) carpet, and of course the guests for taking the time to answer our questions.

Puss in Boots is released in Australia on 8 December 2011 from Paramount.

Official Paramount Photos

The Reel Bits Photos