Watch: Antonio Banderas on the importance of fighting typecasting
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish star Antonio Banderas says it’s “very important” for kids to see diverse heroes on screen, after warnings of being typecast when his career launched in the US.
Known for his roles in The Mask of Zorro, Desperado, and Spy Kids, Banderas says Puss In Boots could be the Spanish hero that many generations didn’t get to see.
“When I arrived in America in 1990, I did a movie called The Mambo Kings,” Banderas tells Yahoo as the Shrek spin-off hits UK cinemas.
“There were a lot of Spanish actors from Mexico, Puerto Rico, from different places in the community. And they said to me: 'If you're gonna stay working in America, you're gonna play the bad guys.'”
“Normally, Black people and Spanish people were always the bad guys — and then Zorro and Puss In Boots came along.
"It's very important that kids in America see them as the hero so they can start separating that stigma.”
Known for his role in Desperado alongside Salma Hayek Pinault, the pair are once again reunited in Puss In Boots: The Last Wish. Having been friends for 27 years, Antonio instantly knew that their chemistry would be perfect.
“There is not only a professional relationship, she's my friend. There’s lots to play with and it's fun because she's really feisty, and she loves to fight a lot.”
“I just love that. We could incorporate that in the movie because she's like a kid. She's always complaining in a good way. She’s very critical.”
First seen in the 2004 sequel Shrek 2, the story of Puss In Boots has expanded into many film and TV spinoffs. For Banderas, it wasn’t a journey he was ever sure was going to happen.
“I was very happy when they call me to do Shrek number two. Whether this was going to be a recurring pattern… maybe, maybe not. You never know.”
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“The first one I thought was really original, this idea of taking all fairy tale stories and just looking at them from a completely different angle. When we went to Cannes Film Festival (with Shrek 2), the response from the critics was extraordinary.”
“But I never imagined that 20 years after I was going to be doing this.”
With Puss In Boots: The Last Wish becoming the latest instalment in the land of far far away, the fan base continues to grow — sometimes in unexpected ways.
“People are interviewing me and they're 27 years old and were seven when I first did Puss,” Banderas says. “So they have been growing with the character too, being taken to see Puss In Boots by their parents when they were 8, 9, 10 years old.”
“These characters have produced an impact in their whole entire generation."
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is in cinemas from 3 February. Watch a clip below.