SHREK 2 - Q&A with ANTONIO BANDERAS, RUPERT EVERETT, JULIE ANDREWS and JEFFREY KATZENBERG
Movie Interview by Neils Hesse
PHASE9 catches up with SHREK 2 stars Antonio Banderas, Rupert Everett, Julie Andrews and executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg at the London Press Conference
Jeffrey, congratulations you made six million pounds on previews this weekend, it has broken records here in England how many records have you broken in the rest of the world?
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: Well I'm very happy that the box office is good, but for me and my team the real reward is to stand in the back of movie theatres and hear the laughter and basically know that we are making people happy.
How many times have you seen the film?
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: Hundreds, but I never get bored
Julie, this is the first time you have done a voice over for animation, you have worked with animation before, but never this, how was it?
JULIE ANDREWS: I wasn't sure what to do as it is done solo in a booth so I was not sure whether to animate my voice make it higher or lower I wasn't sure what they wanted from me so I kept on changing, but then they told me they hired me because they wanted me, so I should be myself. I think I have had more work travelling to promote this film then actually working on it.
Rupert, were you surprised that they picked you to play prince charming?
RUPERT EVERETT: I'm amazed whenever I get a job. Antonio Banderas said to me that he loved the work because you are able to work on your own, and off course I agree with him, although the director of this movie Andrew Adamson is a very good actor himself and he mimicked the parts to us all to help us understand the film and characters more.
Antonio, did you enjoy the film and did it make some very special children of yours happy?
ANTONIO BANDERAS: I did not do it for my kids but I was in love with the first one and what I had to hear to do this one was SHREK!
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: Yeah we literally called up Antonio and were saying to him we are making SHREK and he said, "Yes" and I said, "No you don't understand" and he said, "Yes" again and I said, "We want you to do a part in the film" and he said, "Yes - don't you understand English or is my English that bad?"
ANTONIO BANDERAS: I love and own the first one and the production team and all the other teams behind this movie loved the actors - it is a joint effort. They asked me acting questions and this makes it easier and more cooperative to work with them.
Antonio could have probably guessed the image of his character, but Julie could you have guessed yours?
JULIE ANDREWS: Well I saw the storyboard so I had an idea of what my character would look and behave like.
Rupert, did any of you recognize your characters as being similar to yourselves?
RUPERT EVERETT: No, I did not recognize myself in my character, but still it seems as though it has taken a life of its own.
Antonio, how did you build the character of Puss?
ANTONIO BANDERAS: Well there was not much to it, I did not have to watch cats all day I just had a reference point from the first movie that really set the tone so I just jumped into the style, but I was very afraid especially when I had to do the hairball and at that time I was performing at the theatre with sixteen women and I was singing and I'd go to work and the girls would hear my voice and say you had a rough night huh. I will have to work very hard to overcome the cat. It is difficult to parody. If you overdo it, it becomes cheap. It was done intelligently making references to ZORRO, ALIEN and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. It was the most beautiful teamwork.
Julie, out of all your leading men who are the princes and who are the frogs and did you ever dream of becoming a dame of the theatre?
JULIE ANDREWS: No I never dreamt of it and it is a great honour, but I refuse to kiss and tell so I can't help you on that one.
To everyone: Which particular scene is your favourite?
JULIE ANDREWS: Donkey in the wagon on the way to Far Far Away and Puss at the end insisting that he must not cry no matter what happens.
RUPERT EVERETT: For me it was the fur ball scene with Puss
ANTONIO BANDERAS: The trip to Far Far Away and the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE sequence.
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: The scene where Puss tells Fiona for her he could be, when she mistakes him for Shrek.
Jeffrey, Jennifer Saunders sings very well herself, was she intimidated?
She wasn't scared of anything at all.
To everyone: Is Hollywood really as shallow as it is parodied in this film?
ANTONIO BANDERAS: As long as there are movies like this to make fun of Hollywood then we are fine.
JULIE ANDREWS: No it is not shallow. There is an enormous amount of work going on. Then there is a wonderful history in all studios.
Jeffrey, did any other actors approach you for parts in this film?
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: We work under the radar and we got lucky with each person here as they were our original choices we were blessed to get them all. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
What is next for Shrek and we have decided that we are not going to let you out of this room until you answer this question?
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: One of our secrets is that there is a larger story to Shrek, but as the first one was such a risk all we could do was fantasize and now you have seen two of four chapters of this story. Ultimately, coming back to Shrek in the swamp and how he got there. It is an opportunity for us storytellers with triumphs like THE LORD OF THE RINGS. We aim to complete our four chapters but in our case it will take us fourteen years to complete all aspects of our story.
All the references you make to merchandising and characters do you need permission to do it?
JEFFREY KATZENBERG: Some are public domain but otherwise we seek permission like for the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE sequence we had to seek Tom Cruise's permission because he had not allowed anyone to use his MISSION IMPOSSIBLE setting for the past ten years but he liked the movie and he accepted it. The issue of Sir Justin Timberlake, one of our directors had the idea of putting a picture of a famous pop star in Fiona's bedroom and we got permission from Justin two years ago and then a year and a half later, "boom-bada-bang" and so I was very unsure whether to call up Cameron and ask her about it but eventually we just went ahead with it either way. [Everybody laughs]