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INT: Banderas/Myers

May. 14, 2007by: JimmyO

It is an odd combination to bring out the star of AUSTIN POWERS together with Antonio Banderas, the man many women and frankly quite a few men would define as sexy. But if you happen to be promoting SHREK THE THIRD, it would seem just to have Puss In Boots enjoy the ride with Shrek, just as the cat would enjoy Shreks bed, would make sense. Thus, together they were and surprisingly, there was a strong similarity to the two of them. Both seem to have accepted their fame and have not let it go to their heads. And they both have seen highs in their careers and a few lows. But Mike Myers is always entertaining as Shrek, and Antonio is super suave as Puss.

When they both came into our room at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, they seemed to be ready for us. Both were incredibly nice and seemed to be lacking something that many men of their caliber may have, conceit. They both are genuinely nice guys and Antonio certainly has his way with the ladies as I picked up from the women in the room. They both spoke about SHREK THE THIRD and how they felt about the success of the franchise. I also noticed that Mike seemed a bit uncomfortable with all the attention on him as it was for most of the interview. It seems he rarely does interviews and it was really nice to be able to hear him talk about his reasons for that. And yes, about the possibility of another AUSTIN POWERS. Groovy baby!

Antonio Banderas Mike Myers

So when you first got Shrek, did you have any expectations that it would be this kind of successful franchise?

MM: I thought the idea was great and I thought, you know... Jeffrey Katzenberg said that I would like you to be in an animated movie. And I like Jeffrey, so I said, tell me when and what to wear. And then he said its called Shrek and I said that is the worst title in history and I was right [Laughing]. I never know anything is gonna be anything, I do my best and see what happens.

It seems like youve been keeping a kind of low profile lately or is that?

I write everything I do, on the average it takes you about sixty months from the first molecule of an idea to it being in front of an audience. Im actually, for somebody who creates their own stuff; Im well ahead of that curve always. Im usually three years which is, you know, thirty-six months. In two months Im starting this movie called The Love Guru. I spend a year developing thats just what I do with Austin Powers, sort of , the Marx Brothers used to tour their movies for six months and I like to you know, sort of when I was on Saturday Night Live Id have the luxury of trying it out that week and seeing what was gonna be what. After that with Austin Powers, I would tour for a year and then take a year and a half to write and a year and a half to bring it to people so it always ends up being about three and a half years.

Are you planning on having a series of films with The Love Guru?

MM: Ive never gone into anything with the intention of having a series. You cant. I think that its just one movie at a time thing. And then if it connects with people, they come back and say, would you like to do another one? And you address it at that time.

Like with Waynes World?

MM: I barely felt there was enough for a second one to be honest. So Im very careful with Austin Powers, I did actually feel that there was a necessity to revisit the world.

How do you compare the Love Guru from other characters youve created?

MM: The Love Guru is I love broad comedy. If you have to say Fail-Safe was the name of the movie right yeah, Fail-Safe and Dr. Strangelove. Give the choice between those two delivery systems, the idea of impending nuclear war and the madness of that, I would always choose Dr. Strangelove, you know what I mean? And this movie has more message than my previous movies. And thats taken longer because I dont want it to be a situation [where] I suffer for my art and now its your turn. I wanna make sure that it is actually better and sharper comedy, if it is to be a delivery system with more of a message.

Can you talk about any particular challenges coming back for Shrek the Third?

MM: Ill let Antonio speak so the girls in the room can swoon. [Laughing]

Antonio B anderas: Challenge? No. People ask me if this is more difficult than normal movies, theatre or some of the other ways you can express yourself. Actually its not. Its very easy. If you know the method, you have to follow and understand the procedure and stuff like that. Its actually very easy. It wasnt at the beginning, because I didnt know what I was stepping into. I mean, I came to this Country seventeen years ago not speaking a word of English. The least thing I would have thought was that somebody was going to call me for the use of my voice only. So it was very surprising in the beginning. And the only problems that I had in the first one, was the fact that I was actually in previews on Broadway, when I had to do the hairball. [Laughing as he mimics the hairball] And at night I couldnt sing, I just went to the theatre and all the girls were like, what happened to you hangover?

Are you going to be involved with the Nine movie?

AB: I dont know. I have an interview with Rob Marshall on Friday in New York.


AB: Interview with a Vampire [Laughing] and I dont know whats going to happen, I know that Rob came to the theatre, he saw Nine in the theatre on Broadway and I know that he loved it, but I dont know the conception he has in his mind, what the movie should be about. It may happen but it may not happen you know. Whatever happens is good, its fine.

On the set visit for this movie Mike, they said they had to change certain things. That you insisted on certain things being added how much input do you have on the development of the character or the film?

MM: Well the process is a strange process and its extremely well-written and directed. I think this is the best of the three. I think that Jeffrey Katzenberg, Aron Warner, Chris Miller, Andrew Adamson, all the writers and all the animators have done such a great job that it is not so much input as it is trying to figure out whats going on, because youre not shown an entire script at any time. Youre only given like, if this is the entire script, [gesturing an example] you record this much and a couple months later you record this much. You dont get a sense of the totality, so my questions were, where exactly am I in the film, like am I anxious about being the king here or do I like this Artie character in this scene. Because youre never given an entire script so occasionally I would theyre very respectful to me, [the producers and such] its amazing to me. I feel like Im on a great Stanley Cup team and Im a rookie and they would let me take a few shifts. Theyre very respectful to me about my input.

What makes this one the best of the three?

MM: I think its every serial character learns the same lesson in a different rite of passage. So you have to have a reason why you come back and visit them. And it has such a sense of three-ness of it that smartly honored the audience for having invested in 1 and 2 and then have delivered on 3. Theyre such great entertainers, I really feel like the whole team, you know, that I go to school every time I like oh, thats a good idea oh, thats a good idea and theyve given this the first time we meet him, hes a self-loathing ogre who doesnt accept himself, doesnt feel hes worthy of love. The second one, he doesnt feel hes worthy of marriage. And this one, he doesnt feel hes worthy of being a father of a country or a father of a child. Its a logical progression, you know what I mean. Its a smart progression. You feel the weight of 1 and 2 in 3 and you feel honored to have watched 1 and 2. I can say that because Im a fan of the movies, because all I do is the voice.

[To Mike] Could you be an actor for hire anymore?

MM: It gets hard. I have to be honest. Many great scripts come my way but when youve invested a year and a half into something, then it becomes a year and half of molecules versus, well do I just give that one up. And I love making stuff. I draw, I play the Ukulele as well [Laughing]. Okay everybody calm down. I get just as much excitement out of figuring out Here Comes the Sun or getting the shade right on a tree, as I do making a movie. I was well indulged as a child by my relentlessly self improving working class parents to express myself. Ive enjoyed it and so, part of why I take so long too is I am enjoying myself.

So your sense of creating comes from your parents?

MM: Almost entirely, yeah, and my brothers who are very funny.

How had that manifested in you as a child?

MM: Well, do you ever watch CSPAN, the British Parliament? That was my kids show. That sort of like [with an English accent] Id like to say something Answer the question SHAME RESIGN [Laughing] It was like, elbows flying just to be seen and to be able to talk at the table. But most of my acting for the first little while, I didnt act from down here [below his chest] because the table was here so when I went on stage at Second City what do I do with my legs? [Laughing]

So you like to have that control. Do you lose that control as an actor for hire?

MM: I think control is crazy. If youre working with really talented people, what you wanna do is the most you can be. You know, like a big freighter, it takes like a hundred miles for it to turn around? And the ratio of the rudder to the freighter the most you can do is try and steer a little bit here and there. And just let all the great artists, like Jay Roach came in with a full set of storyboards, he knew exactly what he wanted to do at all times. And all I would just sort of be is a comedic stunt coordinator. And then you get weird conversations too, like, a talking squirrel would never say that. [Laughing]

Are there directors you might consider working for?

MM: I consider working with every director.

No questions asked?

Oh yeah, of course. Would I care to mention who those directors are? Stephen Frears Dead or alive? Well, dead is easier [Stanley] Kubrick of course, Id move cinderblocks for Kubrick.

If Woody Allen asked you, how would you get along?

MM: Id be honored.

For both of you, is the stardom of your characters in Shrek different from your real-life stardom?

AB: In my case, no, because its very obvious that we use some mocking of some of the characters that I have done before. And even in some way, peoples perception of my own persona which doesnt correspond with reality actually. [Laughing]

MM: Its a hundred percent accurate actually. [Laughing]

AB: The possibility that the character gives me to laugh at some of the characters that I have done and laugh at myself is very healthy. And Ive been always open for that and having problem doing so at all.

Antonio, can you say anything about the Puss In Boots spin-off that we keep hearing about? Have they ever really come to you and talked about it?

AB: Yes, it happened a little before the Cannes Film Festival, two years ago. [They] came to me and said, you know I think we have a possibility of doing a movie with just the cat. At the beginning it came out as an idea to do a television movie, but then they thought about it and they saw a possibility of creating a feature film. And I know that they have a script already, and I understand that right now the set of movies that they have prepared for Shrek, from what I understand is five movies [This was not officially confirmed]. So Puss In Boots would be in between 4th and 5th. But you know, we have related to audiences, when you do a franchise and you have movie after the other, its just related to whatever the audience is going to say. Obviously, we hope that the movies will perform fantastic with audiences all around the world so we will have the opportunity to make these movies. But I would love to have the opportunity to develop more personality of this cat. I never thought when they called me in the beginning I was called just to be a recurring character, that I was going to be in one episode and leave the series. I am very happy now that I am part of the family.

What about Shrek The Halls, whats different about that from the theatrical films?

MM: Well its broken up for commercials, first of all [Laughing]. I guess thats obvious. Its very sweet. They have a lot of charmth charmth?... charmth!...

AB: Dictionary please? [Laughing]

Are you involved in Shrek the Halls?

AB: Ah, yeah. We tell the story of how we understand Christmas to him. [Mike]

MM: Yes. Shrek doesnt know I dont know how much Im allowed to give away, thats the only thing.

Mike, do you think a bunch of ten-year-olds would know who Shrek is but not you?

MM: I had the oddest experience in New York City, like three-year-olds, theres Mike Myers and ninety-three-year-olds, I dont know how, its not anything by design. Little kids, because of DVDs now and whatever, theyll find theyll see one movie then theyll see all the movies of that guy. Thats kind of the thing I found. Its weird. But it is a great experience when little kids light up and are happy to see Shrek.

Can you talk about the challenges of playing Keith Moon in See Me, Feel Me: Keith Moon, Naked for your Pleasure? His personality on-screen, in depicting that?

MM: About four and a half years ago, I got a call from security that Roger Daltrey wanted to come and see me I was like, that guys like, ROGER DALTREY! So he came and he said, [with an English accent] Id really love you to play Keith. I was like cuz Ive drummed my whole life, I love The Who, I loved Keith, I was just so fascinated, I am fascinated by that time, I made Austin Powers because of my fascination. I grew up in an English house, theres nobody more English than an Englishman who no longer lives in England. So I was just inundated with English culture. And Donald Marguiles the Pulitzer winning playwright has written the screenplay. And its great so Im excited. It will probably be The Love Guru then Moon.

So no more Austin Powers?

MM: No, theres a fully conceived idea for the forth. I can just say that its from Dr. Evils point of view. So if you balanced how much it was Austin and Dr. Evil, its more Dr. Evil than Austin.

Antonio are you gonna be in Sin City 2?

AB: I dont know, everybody said that to me, but I dont know, I didnt receive a call from Robert Rodriguez. If Im gonna be, he may call me the night before.

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