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    The Cat is Back in 'Puss In Boots'

    Antonio Banderas gives voice to the furry feline in "Puss in Boots."
    Antonio Banderas gives voice to the furry feline in "Puss in Boots."

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    Alan Silverman

    A furry feline from the "Shrek" films now has his own animated adventure in the fairy tale comedy "Puss In Boots."

    This orange tabby cuts a dashing figure, from his wide-brimmed hat to his rugged leather boots, with his deadly sword ever at the ready.

    Since his first appearance in the 2004 hit "Shrek 2," audiences have wanted to know more about this "Puss in Boots." Where did he come from? How did he become such a great fighter? Does he have a girlfriend?"

    She is Kitty Softpaws, a sly feline every bit as daring as the hero. Salma Hayek is the voice of Kitty and Antonio Banderas once again creates Puss.

    "It is almost embarrassing to say this, but it's easy. It is just fun," Banderas says. "You don't feel that you are spending as much money as you do when you are working on a traditional movie with everybody rushing you because there are 200 people there. It's a lot of fun."

    Director Chris Miller has been part of the creative team behind the "Shrek" films from the beginning. He credits Banderas with making Puss worthy of his own movie.

    "We started with a great character: bold, dynamic, colorful, romantic, larger than life. Everything just sort of springs off from the character that Antonio created. The look of the film is a reflection of his character."

    Comic actor Zach Galifianakis costars as the voice of the film's villain, Humpty Dumpty, and is quick to defend the egg who sat on a wall and had a great fall.

    "I think Humpty Dumpty is a little bit all over the place and he is a little emotional and greedy and a little vindictive," he says. "He is also trying to have a friendship, legitimate maybe, but his greed gets the best of him. I think down deep in his yolk, he's an okay guy."

    Tweaking traditional fairy tale characters is part of the fun in the "Shrek" films. The original "Puss in Boots" came from French literature, but with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek as the lead voices, the heroes become Hispanic and Banderas believes that sends a good message to young audiences.

    "When I first came to America to do "The Mambo Kings" 21 years ago, somebody on the set said to me 'If you stay here, basically you are going to play the bad guy in movies.' In these 21 years, everything changed very much," Banderas says. "In a way, it is a reflection of what is happening in society, so we are actually very proud that our characters are Latinos and I think it is good for diversity and cultural interaction. This movie is going to be seen by kids, and they are going to watch the movie and see that the heroes have strong accents and this is good."

    Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, known for horror and suspense thrillers, is an executive producer on "Puss in Boots," giving the film an edge as well as that Latin flavor.

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