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Puss In Boots: The Last Wish star Antonio Banderas says it is “very important” for children to see different heroes on screen, after warnings were typed when he launched his career in the US.
Known for his roles in The Mask of Zorro, Desperado, and Spy Kids, Banderas says that Puss In Boots could be the Spanish hero many generations haven’t been able to see.
“When I came to America in 1990, I did a movie called The Mambo Kings,” Banderas tells Yahoo when the Shrek spin-off hits UK cinemas.
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“There were a lot of Spanish actors from Mexico, Puerto Rico, from different parts of the community. And they told me: ‘If you’re going to stay working in America, you’re going to play with the bad guys.'”
“Typically, the blacks and the Spanish were always the bad guys – and then along came Zorro and Puss In Boots.
“It’s very important that kids in America see them as the hero so they can start to separate that stigma.”
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Known for their role in Desperado alongside Salma Hayek Pinault, the two reunite in Puss In Boots: The Last Wish. Having been friends for 27 years, Antonio knew immediately that their chemistry would be perfect.
“It’s not just a professional relationship, she’s my friend. There’s a lot to play with and it’s a lot of fun because she’s very sharp, and she loves to fight.”
“I love that. We could incorporate that into the film because she is like a child. She always complains in a good way. She is very critical.”
First appearing in the 2004 sequel Shrek 2, the story of Puss In Boots has expanded into many film and television spin-offs. For Banderas, it was not a journey he was ever sure would happen.
“I was very happy when they called me to do Shrek number two. Whether this will be a recurring pattern…maybe, maybe not. You wouldn’t know.”
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“The first one I thought was really original, this idea of taking all fairy tales and looking at them from a completely different perspective. When we went to the Cannes Film Festival (with Shrek 2), the reaction from the critics was amazing.”
“But I never imagined that 20 years later I would be doing this.”
With Puss In Boots: The Last Wish as the latest installment in the faraway land, the fan base continues to grow – sometimes in unexpected ways.
“People are interviewing me and they’re 27 years old and they were seven years old when I first did Puss,” says Banderas. “So they’re growing with the character too, being taken by their parents to see Puss In Boots when they were 8, 9, 10 years old.”
“These characters have an impact on their entire generation.”
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is in cinemas from 3 February. Watch a clip below.