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Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek return to the big screen, bringing sparks to their sixth movie match-up with Puss in Boots. The duo first worked together 16 years ago in the live-action film Desperado. We caught up with the two for a quick chat and, as expected, they couldn’t stop raving about each other.
When they first met in the ’90s they were well respected actors in their native countries but Hollywood hadn’t come calling–yet. It was director Robert Rodriguez who gave them their big break and in the process helped challenge the way film studios viewed Hispanics actors in lead roles. Banderas remembers those early days and he couldn’t be more thankful to have his partner in crime back at his side.
“We we’re growing together in this country as actors,” said Banderas. “I came to this country without speaking the language and the fact that they call me now to use my voice is great. To share this experience with Salma has just been a joy.”
And ever since Desperado they continued to collaborate in an array of film projects from Four Rooms with Madonna, reteaming with Rodriguez in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Spy Kids 3D: Game Over and Frida.
Hayek at this point considers Banderas her luck charm—admitting that every time they work together great things happen.
“He’s an amazingly talented actor and very generous. He always brings me good luck,” said Hayek. “Every time I do something with him I have a good time, it does well, and it changes my life. He’s a great luck charm for me.”
Banderas and Hayek spent two years recording the voices of Puss and Kitty Softpaws and despite their busy schedules the two actually managed to record a few scenes together, per Banderas’s request.
“Normally, in animation, we work alone. But this is the only time that I asked for a session with an actor, because with Salma, I know that we have such chemistry, and especially, we fight very well on camera,” said Banderas.
Their on-screen relationship in Boots is a bit unpredictable. They dance, argue, seduce and chase each other. And while Puss is known as a valiant and mysterious feline, Kitty Softpaws was written to be his equal. She’s tough, witty and yes, she’s a thief but she means well–at least that’s what Hayek thinks.
“I really feel like they could have gone in a very macho kind of way and I’m so proud that they didn’t do it. Here’s a Latin female character that is strong and an equal to the hero. They’re both heroes even though they are completely different and she’s not just the love interest. She’s the partner-in-crime and I think that’s a great example for girls. Although, she is a thief but she has some redemption,” Hayek said.
And like any old friend, Banderas is quick to tease.
“There are certain details that we need to fix about that kitty cat,” jokes Banderas. At which Hayek responds with a “ugh” and a slight rolling of the eyes. Banderas continued with a huge smile, “But you know…she’s a match for him.”
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