Watch: Puss In Boots: The Last Wish director Joel Crawford laughs off Eddie Murphy's diss
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish director Joel Crawford has laughed off Eddie Murphy's recent suggestion that his character Donkey was more deserving of a Shrek spin-off than Puss In Boots, who returns to cinemas in The Last Wish from 3 February.
“They did Puss in Boots movies, they should have [done] a Donkey movie. Donkey is funnier than Puss in Boots. “I mean I love Puss in Boots, but he ain’t as funny as Donkey!” Murphy recently told Etalk.
“Oh, classic donkey," Crawford responded when Yahoo relayed Murphy's dig to the filmmaker.
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"It’s so funny because that's so in character for Donkey and Puss In Boots.
"They're both always going after each other for who gets Shrek’s appreciation.”
Defending Puss as a worthy character to return to, Crawford says the feline hero is more complex and interesting than people assume.
“I think what's been surprising people is the depth of this character," the director explains. "And that's something Antonio [Banderas] was keen on in early conversations when we were talking about where this story would go the story about what a meaningful life can be.”
“Tony was really excited to show the world that possibility isn't just a sidekick who was funny, but there's so much more to him, he's actually showing vulnerability and love and joy in these different expressions. And I think that's really resonating with audiences, even more than just comedy.”
With the links between Shrek and Puss In Boots: The Last Wish still strong, Crawford confirmed that the team “put a lot” of easter eggs into the latest adventure, without sharing all the secrets of his movie.
“There are, but I don't think I should say what they are. That’s the fun!”
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“We did put a lot of easter eggs in here, but then there are also things that are self-contained in the movie. Details pertaining to the characters that if you rewatch and freeze frame, there's a lot to rediscover over and over again.”
Though Crawford has previously worked as a storyboard artist on Shrek Forever After, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish marks his first time in the director’s chair for the franchise.
“There was definitely a lot of expectations with this next chapter of Puss In Boots, where he's been over a decade since he was last on the big screen.”
“A big part of it was figuring out the best way to tell this story of a cat on his ninth life in an honest and meaningful way. That came down to how we express that this movie is about life and how special it can be and who we can share it with.”
“It's been wonderful to see not only that have people fully embraced Puss coming back and feeling the character love, but also getting to see a more a deeper side. That's been really fulfilling I think as a director.”
With Crawford now steering the Puss In Boots ship, there’s now a distinct shift in the franchise’s animation style. Though Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse served as inspiration, the dynamic visual feel stems from classic Japanese anime.
“Into The Spider-Verse really did kind of open up opportunities for the entire animation industry," shares Crowford.
"But Akira (the 1988 animated movie) was a big inspiration, with that industry being open to expressing animated movies in different styles.”
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“It feels heightened because we're using what we call step-down animation, where you can see expressions and poses for longer.”
“In contrast throughout the movie, we connect it to push his journey from going from this fairytale point of view of 'I'm going to live forever' into grounded moments of 'Oh wow, I get one life and these are the people I can share it with'.”
With Shrek 5 and more Puss In Boots adventures on the horizon, the significance of contributing to core childhood memories isn’t lost on Crawford.
“I think something really exciting in taking on something that's been around since you know, for over 20 years like the Shrek world established is your childhood memories that are now adults in their 20s and 30s.”
“I'm so fortunate to be a part of continuing the next chapter of Puss In Boots for sure.”
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is in UK cinemas now. Watch a clip below.