Mike Meyers and Antonio Banderas Interviewed – SHREK THE THIRD

     May 6, 2007




This is another of the many transcripts I’ll be posting from yesterday’s “Shrek the Third” press junket. Since all of you know the story of “Shrek” I’m going to keep all of the intros extremely brief.



Instead I’m going to try and focus on the highlights from each interview and place the juicy stuff at the top.



Highlights from Antonio were:



On a “Puss in Boots” movie:



Antonio Banderas: It’s fantastic. Donkey doesn’t have one. (Laughs.) No, I was very happy about that. I couldn’t expect at all that it would develop like that. Really, I said it to Mike before that I felt that it would be fun to do a recurring character like many others in the film, just be happy to do an assist. But the character it hooks with different audiences.



On “Sin City 2”:



In every roundtable they ask me that, but I didn’t receive a call from Robert. Knowing Robert he’d give me a call the night before.”



I already wrote the highlights from Mike Myers and posted it…. But in case you missed it he talks about his new movie called “The Love Guru”:



Mike Myers: In two months I’m starting a movie called ‘The Love Guru’ which I spent the last two and a half years developing. I came up with this character and I would tour it in theaters in New York. Just have little secret shows. The Marx Bros. used to tour their movies for a year before they filmed them. I did this same process with ‘Austin Powers.’ When I did ‘Wayne’s World’ I had ‘Saturday Night Live’ to tour it. When I left ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I toured ‘Austin Powers.’ And the last three years I’ve been developing ‘The Love Guru.’ And now, it’s at Paramount and I’m shooting in August. And after that there is a slot and I’ll probably do the Keith Moon movie. That’s also been in development at that time. You see, when you write stuff…I didn’t write Keith Moon, that’s Donald Margulies, a Pulitzer prize winning playwright. He wrote an amazing, brilliant script. But, he invited me into the process, like, ‘What did you think? What did you think?’ And I’m like, ‘Great.’ ‘The Love Guru’ — the average movie takes 60 months from the first kind of ‘Hmm, could this be a movie on the screen?’ to it being on the screen. I tend to take about 36 months. But, I am there all 36 months.



Can you tell us about the character?



Yes, he is a Canadian who is raised in India, becomes a guru and helps the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. (big Laughter) Yeah, I feel like I did hog, did you want to ask?




Here is the rest of the roundtable interview as a Q and A. As always you can download and listen to the interview as an MP3. With Antonio Banderas’ accent this is a great interview to listen to as I can’t say with certainty that every word in the transcript is 100% accurate. Trust me…listen to how he speaks and see if you could do any better.



“Shrek the Third” gets released on May 18th.





Q: Did you feel comfortable coming back to this all over again? And how soon did you know after the second one you’d be coming back for number three?



AB: In my particular case it was easy, the only pressure was like, did I do something special that I was not totally in control in the second one that made the character so special and I may have just forgotten? But, no, immediately I got in front of the microphone and it was almost like a continuation actually of the other one. As everything was so specific at the beginning – we’ll talk about that — we had a script that actually we know that is going to be changing all the time in making the whole entire movie. So, you don’t put a lot of attention into that. You know that the characters are going to growing the course of the movie.



MM: I love the world so much. It’s such a fun world and I get to see my old friends. And it’s an odd experience though, because you are in this booth. So, it’s kind of like being a combination, like, a goal judge in hockey and like in the witness protection program. Like you are in this thing and you don’t really get a lot of feedback. You see the people in the booth and occasionally they go, ‘Let’s try another one.’ So, I have developed imaginary friends. I have this imaginary eagle that sits with me and I talk to her. And if it’s a particularly good take she goes ‘Ka!’ (Laughs.) And if it’s a great take it does three ‘Ka’s.’ And I go, ‘What’s that? I was pretty good in that one.’



Q: Do you have input in terms of the overall direction of the movies?



MM: No, and nor would I want to. Every time I meet with the people, the team, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is just a great artist in his own right and Chris Miller and Aaron Warner and Andrew Adamson. When you meet with them, their world is so complete and their ideas are so great, that the dialogue begins because you are never shown a script. This is the entire script, they don’t even know what it is. You only record like a little bit at a time, so you start to ask questions, because as Antonio was saying, he’s like, ‘Well, how big is the cat?’ He didn’t even know when he first started. So, the dialogue begins with clarification. ‘Am I scared at this point? Do I know this person?’ All that stuff. And what happens is I end up asking the 4-year-old questions. Like, it’s like, ‘Do we have the airplane tickets?’ ‘Oh! The airplane tickets.’ That’s sort of the way, and I know that I have asked a hard question because they get quiet. So, I go, ‘In the end, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And they go, ‘Ah, we’ll get back to you. Let’s go on to the next line.’ And then they come back and they have answers and that’s kind of the thing. Cause I’m not in the room when they are writing it. But, it’s been a great experience. These guys are just really committed to it being excellent and quality. I feel like I’m on a Stanley Cup winning team. These guys, Jeffrey is literally tireless. No aspect of it isn’t improved. I think this is the best of the three. I think the animation has gotten better, the story is better — all the characters are great. And it’s a great message, well told. And the music is great. I am — because I normally create the stuff I do for me. And Antonio has directed twice and produced and stuff, I think we were talking before is that what we love is just being able to come in and it just being…



Q: Antonio, what was it like being told that your voice was now coming out of the donkey?



AB I couldn’t believe I was going to be trapped in that sack of potatoes. (Laughs.) But it’s just 15 minutes in the movie. No, I think it creates more comedy for the characters. You see a donkey talking like a cat and all that. It actually just makes stronger the rivalry between the two characters, which is great, because at the end they actually love each other very much. But, there is something very interesting between those two characters that I love. It is kind of a message that there was a solitude that both were living until they found Shrek and actually that is the essential motif for Donkey to be upset and jealous, because he approach him coming from nothing. He was a solitary guy and nobody loved him, he was alone there and suddenly this cat comes with a totally different flair. So they are both of them competing for Shrek’s friendship. And when they get it, I think that is a beautiful message. The kind of message about diversity that the whole entire movie is giving and the counter-cultural side of it, which was really important for me even when I wasn’t part of the family and I was a spectator and I enjoyed the first movie. I was saying, ‘Oh, finally. This is something fresh and different.’ It’s actually taking characters that we grew with them as kids and looking at them from a totally different angle and I think that is actually the essential side of the movie. And my character is very present because he establishes a contrast to what he looks like as a pussycat. But he doesn’t be have like that. He behaves totally conquistador. He’s got all of this…



Q: He’s got all those cat girlfriends…



AB: He has a lot of girlfriends. He didn’t decide to just sit his head in the same mistake, no translation, just to have a life with a family? No way, he has too many girlfriends. (Laughs.)



Q: So, Puss-In-Boots was the breakout character in the last movie and now he’s getting his own feature. How is that?



AB: It’s fantastic. Donkey doesn’t have one. (Laughs.)



MM: Wow. Wow. I’m gonna take this chair and move it.



AB: There was a Puss-In-Boots movement! (Laughs.) No, I was very happy about that. I couldn’t expect at all that it would develop like that. Really, I said it to Mike before that I felt that it would be fun to do a recurring character like many others in the film, just be happy to do an assist. But the character it hooks with different audiences. I’m totally happy to be part of this family, because in the backend, besides all the economic stuff around ‘Shrek’, it’s a very, very profitable movie, but I think there is something in the family that you immediately see and it’s the fact that they are conscious of having a legacy in their hands. They are behind the change the history of animation movies. And that is very important, because they never relax. They are always looking for something new. New characters, the credit side is working very heavy. But the technological side too, you have to think that some of the programs that are used in the movie are developed in the same studio. So, it’s a whole entire team working together in a very strong way to leave something behind that makes sense for all of us. And that is very beautiful, because you feel it. You feel it in the air. Sometimes you are in a production and they are too sloppy and you just feel that they are trying to use the success of the first movie to do something a little lesser in terms of economics to make more money and then you can feel it in the air that is not working the same way as the first one. And in this case, it was quite the opposite, it’s almost like they are pushing even more as we are advancing in the movies. It may just happen that the movies don’t have the same qualities, that is absolutely normal, but the guarantee is that there is not a relaxation within the team. They are pushing to go further than they were before.



Continued on the next page ———–>


||SPLIT||



Q: There should be a ‘Shrek 4,’ when it comes around to recording for that movie, would either of you be interested in recording together such as the cast of ‘Surf’s Up’ did? To allow for more improvisation.



MM: No, I like this process. Because, I start to fall in love with Puss and I fall in love with Donkey and Fiona. And when I get there it’s like a radio play. I mean I like them all, who hasn’t fallen in love with Antonio? (Laughs.) Who hasn’t? (Laughs.) But there is something great, because in the process they don’t even know what the script is and they are constantly evolving it. I don’t think it actually…



AB: It wouldn’t be possible. It wouldn’t be possible to be so creative. Because if you made an appointment with all the actors in one session for a week, right? And the movie would be locked. There would be no possibility to grow into the movie, developing creatively. In that year and a half many things happen. Characters go in one direction that you want to develop that story even more and if we do that, it would be impossible to put these ten people together, eight, nine times together in a year and a half, because we have many different projects. Not only the fact that we are not working together, I think it is thought in that way, because it allows them to rethink the movie in the process of creating it.



Q: Mike, Shrek has a lot more to ponder in this movie. When you saw the script did you think, ‘Oh, great, more stuff to chew on’ for Shrek?



MM: Oh, yeah. I feel extremely well served in terms of stuff to play. In the first movie it’s getting over the self — he has to learn to love himself in order to be in a marriage. And in this one he needs to learn to love himself in order to step into fatherhood or be the king of a country. For me, I approach this as a dramatic part with some comedy. And that’s me happiest. I like making stuff making stuff, just believing and making, that’s the fun part. So, I was really happy that they – and that unity of 1, 2 and 3 is what I’m most blown away by…



Q: Are you currently writing anything right now and who do you think is going to win the cup?



MM: Oh, gosh. The problem is that hurts. The hockey one. We’ll, I’ll make a prediction the Leaf’s are not winning the Stanley Cup. Ah, the pain every year. Why do I put myself through it? I get so emotionally involved. Buffalo, I didn’t watch this last week, I just got too busy. Buffalo is still doing good?



Q: They are tied.



MM: They’re tied? They’ll win. I predict Buffalo. Now, on the other thing. On the average I take about three or four years between movies, because I create them, then I write them, then I produce them and then film them. In two months I’m starting a movie called ‘The Love Guru’ which I spent the last two and a half years developing. I came up with this character and I would tour it in theaters in New York. Just have little secret shows. The Marx Bros. used to tour their movies for a year before they filmed them. I did this same process with ‘Austin Powers.’ When I did ‘Wayne’s World’ I had ‘Saturday Night Live’ to tour it. When I left ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I toured ‘Austin Powers.’ And the last three years I’ve been developing ‘The Love Guru.’ And now, it’s at Paramount and I’m shooting in August. And after that there is a slot and I’ll probably do the Keith Moon movie. That’s also been in development at that time. You see, when you write stuff…I didn’t write Keith Moon, that’s Donald Margulies, a Pulitzer prize winning playwright. He wrote an amazing, brilliant script. But, he invited me into the process, like, ‘What did you think? What did you think?’ And I’m like, ‘Great.’ ‘The Love Guru’ — the average movie takes 60 months from the first kind of ‘Hmm, could this be a movie on the screen?’ to it being on the screen. I tend to take about 36 months. But, I am there all 36 months.



Q: Can you tell us about the character?



MM: Yes, he is a Canadian who is raised in India, becomes a guru and helps the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. (Laughs.) Yeah, I feel like I did hog, did you want to ask?



Q: I just wanted to know if you had a favorite of the ‘Shrek’s’?



MM: This one. It has incorporated two and three and the wonderful Antonio Banderas.



Q: Antonio, are you doing ‘Sin City 2’?



AB: In every roundtable they ask me that, but I didn’t receive a call from Robert. Knowing Robert he’d give me a call the night before.”



(Lot’s of cross talk so getting an accurate word transcription is impossible – I suggest listening to the audio)



Question: Mike are you going to try and get the Toronto Maple Leaf players and the real Stanley Cup for the movie?



MM: Yup. I’m so excited, I can’t even tell you.



Q: Where would you take it if you had the cup?



MM: Where would I take it? They are so propitious of the cup; they probably wouldn’t let me near it. But, I’d it to Lake Ontario and swim with it.








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