The Latin cats of 'Puss in Boots' -- a boost for Spanish-speaking culture?


Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation

The cat speaks English, but those purrs have a distinctive Latin accent.

So is Puss in Boots a step forward for diversity?

Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek showed off footage from the upcoming Shrek spin-off in Cannes on Wednesday, and discussed how unusual it is for the two main characters in an American animated movie be voiced by Spanish-speakers. “I feel very proud, actually. I never pretended when I first went to Hollywood to be a guy from Oklahoma,” said Banderas, who was born in Spain. “I am what I am.”

Hayek plays Puss’s rival/lover, an alley cat pickpocket named Kitty Softpaws, and said their accents would have prevented them from getting those lead voice-acting roles in the past. Now it’s considered a plus, lending the world of Puss in Boots a Casanova vibe. “What’s interesting and great about it is it’s not contrived,” Hayek told EW. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, there’s a good Spanish market. Let’s now target them because we have not yet done the Mexican princess.’” Banderas’ version of Puss in Boots, she said, “got a life of its own, and that’s what created this, organically.”

Puss in Boots started out as a colorful supporting player in 2004’s Shrek 2, but gets the stand-alone treatment in a comedy (out Nov. 4) about the intense cat’s efforts to snatch magic beans from gunslinging outlaws Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris). Hayek’s feline wants the beans for herself, while Puss’ double-dealing old friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) turns up to join the heist.


Image Credit: Mike Marsland/

“When I started out, Hispanic roles were very limited,” the Mexican-born actress said. “There were one or two kinds of characters you used to do. Now we can play the cats! It’s okay to be a Hispanic, even if you’re a cat.”

Banderas joked: “Cats were British, normally.”

He and Hayek not only previewed footage at Cannes, but took part in a photo call on the pier of the Carlton Hotel, posing atop a giant pair of boots while flamenco dancers performed below. Banderas emphasized it’s not a niche-film, targeting the Latino audience. “It’s general,” he told EW. “For everybody.” But he did acknowledge the impact of a changing demographic. “Fortunately, the Spanish community in the United States has grown,” he said. “It’s been an explosion, not just in Hollywood, but other parts of society too. We have different positions of authority in society, we have senators, we are on the supreme court.”

And one swashbuckling feline is representing, too.

For more on film, follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter @Breznican.

Read More:
Puss in Boots: Cat has egg in face as Humpty Dumpty joins Shrek spin-off

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
  • kate

    yay for puss in boots! i’ve always thought AB’s spanish accent was sexy!!!:D

    • Cygnus

      I think there should be more Swahili accents and language in movies. Our primarily english-speaking country just doesnt have enough of that.

  • w g alvira

    I think all Spanish speaking people in America should learn how to speak english already.

    • whatevs

      As long as Mexico continues to think that the United States owes them something, that’s not going to happen. This coming from a Hispanic.

    • Tom

      As a third-generation hispanic man in college, I think all English-speaking people in America should learn how to speak and write English (by the way, you should capitalize ‘English’)correctly already. It’s disturbing how many of those same people who criticize Spanish-speakers for their purported lack of English skills, don’t even know how to speak or write proper English themselves. In fact, in my English composition class, the two highest-ranking students, and the only two who got As, were latino.

    • T@w g alvira

      Before you bash latinos for not knowing English, learn English yourself. “English” has an uppercase “E”, you moron.

      • w g alvira

        Ok . I now have changed my mind about Spanish speaking people. Those that weren’t born here should be deported . The Hell with it .

      • w g alvira

        Furthermore, I’ll bash anyone I want . I was born in the U S A. And , I’m Hispanic. However, I respect America unlike some Latino’s who live here who don’t respect it, by not even trying to learn ” English ” .

      • Manuel

        wg alvira: It’s “Latinos”, not “Latino’s”, you need a comma between “America” and “unlike”, and you don’t need a comma between “And” and “I’m Hispanic”. Also, “Spanish-speaking” needs a hyphen between the two words. There, try to learn, after all, if you respect America as much as you claim, you have got to use its most widespread language correctly, right?

    • Strepsi

      What part of ACCENT don’t you understand, you racist, ignorant troll?

  • w g alvira

    My message to U S Latinos : apredan ingles, muy estupidos.

    • Daniela

      Mas estupido o estupida eres tu, que aparentemente no puedes hablar ni el ingles ni el espanol correctamente. You should look in the mirror before trashing other people. Y antes de que me digas que tengo que mejorar mi ingles, te advierto que yo hablo espanol, ingles y frances y no naci en este pais. So there you go.

      • w g alvira

        Si. Pero, cuantos cupones tienes en tu cartera!

      • w g alvira

        Y, cuantas latas de deposito Llevastes al mercado la ultima vez!

      • w g alvira

        By the way, how much of the rata killing “Tempo” have you sold on the corner? Or oranges on the highway?

      • Joe

        lol!!!! You have got to give it to WH Alvira. He can’t speak/write proper English or Spanish, and yet has the balls to look down on Latinos (not Latino’s. Learn to use apostrophes correctly, mijo) that don’t speak English. I have a hunch that he is either a bigoted ‘gringo’ or a self-hating Latino who was probably taught by his parents not to speak Spanish just so he wasn’t made fun of. Pathetic in either case.

      • w g alvira

        Thanks . I do like to make others laugh.

  • Daniel Troppy

    Interesting article and Selma is always so STYLISH….

  • Elena

    Great. Spanish explosion in america. If mexico is so great and so are your people, STAY THERE. Yes, I am only speaking of mexico. Welcome to america where I have the right to think your country is disgusting. And obviously many mexicans agree or else why the rush out? So stop being so defensive about the truth.

    • w g alvira

      I dedicate the song ; ” La Gran Cucaracha” to all the Mexicans. Yiiiiihaaa, ariba andale ,yiiiiihaaa !!

    • Daniela

      Elena, you are a very ignorant person. I am not Mexican but having visited Mexico I can tell you that indeed, at least Mexico City, is a very impressive city. Does the country have tons of problems? Yes it does and so does the US, every country does. I am sure that if Mexicans were able to feed their families with what they make in Mexico they would not come to the US. It is a pity that they are desperate enough to do so but they mean no harm, not all of them. I wonder if -say you believe in God – you would have the guts to say all the hateful things you say in front of him/her? Maybe you should listen to yourself before expressing your ignorance.

      • w g alvira

        I think that what Elena is trying to say is that she’s tired of people pretending to be entitled to things they’re not to begin with . I agree . There’s too much cultural narcism in America.

    • kate

      what exactly is your point? it seems like you just want to say smth stupid/ignorant/controversial to start some kind of debate

    • Nacho Libre

      @ Elena, Mexico is in America. Why would you welcome us to our own continent?

  • John

    If they promise that Shrek and Donkey are not in this movie I will take the kids to see it.

  • w g alvira

    I never said all Latinos don’t speak English. I said I find those who don’t even try to learn it a nuisance. Muy estupidos! Idiotas! Largensen del E .E. U. U.! Fuera! Ay caramba!

    • Manuel

      WgAlvira, learn to speak and write English AND Spanish first, then complain about others not knowing it….

      • w g alvira

        I’ll complain whenever I feel like it . Thank you very much ! This is the reason why I like living in a nation that encourages freedom of speech. Everyone else gets to complain about even more trivial issues than peoples’ narcism.

  • w g alvira

    To all patriotic U S citizens. I beg of you . For the love of God. Say NO to Mexico and las cucarachas! How much more can we take ? Now we have Spanish cats who speak poor “English ” running around America!

  • trollatc

    When you learn to speak Native American (one of the many Indian laugages), then you can complain about people not speaking perfect English.

  • w g alvira

    This silly blog just confirmed to me why I like making fun of my own people . The Latin-American community is so sensitive about the most stupidly said things . I admit my English and Spanish suck . However , I at the very least try my best . My English is good enough. I’m good at what I do best .My complaint is mostly with the government having to send out notifications in 20 plus different languages because some people don’t want to learn English at all. I just think its narcism. A quality I really detest. I mean , this is a blog about a talking cat from Spain! So silly ! People in this world need to stop being such sensitive cry babies! Larn to get along , and keep it real!

  • Joe

    Many people are very brave to make racist statements here belittle-ling Mexicans, and all Spanish cultures using the Hispanic label. I dare anyone of these internet warriors to say this things in the public of the targeted group. You will see that the real explosion is about to happen against this xenophobic racist views that have prevailed in this land for far to long. The Spanish American cultures within the United States and the neighboring countries are of great beauty, and rich cultural diversity and heritage. We are 50 million strong and growing and is time we stand up to all forms of discrimination towards Spanish Americans, Native Americans, African Americans and all people who are exploited and oppress just for being different. I hope that anyone that encounters and witnesses words or actions like the the ones posted in this site-as it is so commonly heard all around our society-find the strength to stand up to these people in a civil manner and confront these negative views aimed towards our communities. Our people are honorable, hard working and strong we don’t need to feel any shame for our Hispanic and native American heritage because others have a superiority complex when they need us more than we need them

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