Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Cat Stays: Antonio Banderas Shares 'Puss in Boots 2' Details

In a recent interview with Empire Magazine, Mr. Banderas talked about the film, where it's at right now, and some other things...

Of course, Empire emphasized one thing: Banderas said he heard rumors that Shrek might be making an appearance in the sequel...

However, what I found more interesting was this quote...

"They are restructuring the script now. We started... but that’s the process. A lot of people participate in the creation of the script and the story and the narrative, everything. And they include you! They take you to California and you read the script with them, give them your ideas, and a couple of months later you see a new script where everything has been touched [up]."

A Puss in Boots sequel had been on the docket ever since the first film came out. Puss in Boots opened rather poorly over here in the United States, but it had insane legs. Even with tons of family films in its way (from The Muppets to Hugo to Happy Feet Two to Arthur Christmas), the cat climbed to an excellent $149 million domestically. That clearly shows that audiences liked the kitty's solo outing, a lot better than the previous two Shrek sequels no less. Worldwide, it did great business. It was the unexpected animated sleeper of the year.

I certainly liked it a lot. Was it great? Not really, but it was solid, entertaining, and at times pretty out-there and creative. Its spins on fairy tales were clever, a country mile from the snarky fairy tale mocking we saw in the Shrek films. (To be fair, the first Shrek had a some witty pokes at fairy tale elements as well, such as the stuff with the dragon.) No mean-spiritedness, no snark, just a fun adventure with good characters that mixed in fairy tale elements rather creatively. Besides, how you can not like Puss in Boots? For me, he's the best thing about the Shrek sequels, and I think all of those films are lackluster.

After I saw the film via the Blu-ray in late 2012 (late to the party, typical of me), I thought, "There's a lot you can do with this character." Since Puss in Boots takes place before Shrek, they could definitely tell more stories. I mean come on, he's a swashbuckling cat! I'd see more movies with him as the star!

A sequel was talked about for a while. Finally, in mid-2014, when DreamWorks excitedly announced a huge slate, they said that a sequel - titled Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves - was coming out in late 2018. Then, as everyone in the know knows, DreamWorks downsized following a string of box office disappointments. As a result, their massive slate was whittled down. Puss in Boots 2 is no longer on the current release slate, but to me that never meant "it's dead".

What DreamWorks did was lower the amount of movies they'll put out every calendar year. 3 a year seemed undoable, creative-wise and business-wise. Some films turned out to be high quality endeavors, others didn't. That's all subjective, of course. Some flopped, some didn't. DreamWorks' current plan is to release two films every year, and by that I mean: Big budget films made at DreamWorks Animation. If they are to release a third film in any calendar year, it'll be a film produced at another studio for a smaller budget. (i.e. Captain Underpants, an untitled Oriental DreamWorks production.)

So the script is being restructured. That indicates that DreamWorks still intends to make a sequel to a film that'll be roughly 8 years old by 2019. I say go for it, but damn... What a wait!

As for Shrek returning...

Well, Jeffrey Katzenberg mentioned last year that a fifth Shrek is possible. A Shrek theme park is opening in London this year, and the previous installment in the main series was the biggest overseas. It's a smart option, as it'll easily pocket some cash. Hey, maybe by 2019, you'll have nostalgic teens flying into the theaters raving about how Shrek was their childhood and how they'll push kids in line out of the way in the lobby. Ya know, "Move over kids, I've waited [x] years to see Shrek 5!"

It's possible that Puss in Boots 2 will be a Shrek crossover while still being a Puss in Boots movie through-and-through... Or maybe Shrek just cameos in it. The title, Nine Lives & 40 Thieves, implied that the titular cat was going on an Arabian Nights adventure. But Banderas said the script is being restructured, so maybe DreamWorks is turning it into a crossover? I don't know. Are they attempting to incorporate Shrek and co into the plot? If so, then this would probably have to take place after Shrek Forever After.

Honestly, I think they should leave Shrek out. Keep focusing on Puss and Kitty Softpaws. I think you can definitely do another movie with that bunch, although Puss leading a Shrek movie sounds pretty cool too... And different. It's like "Hey! Here's the new Shrek movie! But it's really Puss in Boots' movie!"

What do you think Banderas' comments mean? Do you think Puss in Boots 2 will still happen? Do you think Shrek will ultimately appear in the sequel? Are you looking forward to a Puss in Boots sequel? Sound off below!

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