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Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy, and Jon Hamm Talk About 'Shrek Forever After'

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Puss in Boots photo from Shrek Forever After

Antonio Banderas poses with his character, Puss in Boots, in 'Shrek Forever After.'

© DreamWorks Animation
May 16, 2010 - Eddie Murphy's back for the fourth time as the voice of Shrek's best friend, Donkey, in Shrek Forever After. Also returning to take on the part of a furry sidekick is Antonio Banderas, tackling his third Shrek as one of the cutest animated cats ever created: Puss in Boots. This fourth - and final - movie of the series finds Shrek (Mike Myers) wanting to revisit the days when he wasn't tied down as a husband and father of three, those carefree days in his ogre life when villagers fled from him in terror.

Making a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, Shrek's life is completely turned around, leaving him without a wife, kids, or his trusted friends Donkey and Puss in Boots. Shrek quickly figures out he made the wrong decision and spends the rest of the film trying to regain his former life with the reluctant help of a skeptical donkey and and a super fat (but still adorable) Puss in Boots.

The Shrek veterans and Shrek newbie Jon Hamm (Mad Men) took part in a press conference in LA in support of Shrek Forever After.

Shrek Forever After Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy and Jon Hamm Q&A

What’s been the secret to the success of Shrek?

Eddie Murphy: "I think it’s really funny and very well made. I think it’s that simple. It’s really well made. It’s very funny. It’s smart, and those things add up to a hit sometimes."

Antonio, how much fun have you had making these movies?

Antonio Banderas: "A lot, actually. And unexpected. Because I came to this country without speaking the language, then I found they called me to use my voice very surprising. Fun, every time at recording sessions. And still do. I had a lot of fun."

Jon, how did you get the role of Brogan?

Jon Hamm: "Wow! I don’t know. I don’t know why the character I play on TV would necessarily lend itself to be the first choice to be an animated character. I honestly don’t know, and I can’t believe I’m sitting here. When it came my way and they were still trying to figure out what I was going to be - a love interest or a rival - we weren’t sure, but I was just like, 'I don’t care. I just want to be a part of this.'"

"I’ve loved the last three versions of this and went and saw all of them in the theatre like I was a 13-year old. The pure fan in me was like, 'I’ll go play somebody who talks backwards, on top of his head and turns around. I don’t even care.' The fact that they were able to work with me and my personality to create this person who is sort of this cheerleader of sorts was fun to do."

Tell us about the Puss in Boots spin-off.

Antonio Banderas: "It’s sad in one side, but very satisfying because I think I did four movies of Shrek. Actually, sometime [when] you’ve been playing against pop culture, [it's] became pop culture itself. That’s what it is now. I was in New York this year, and watching the parade from my house. The Thanksgiving parade, here it was, the Shrek big balloon just crossing in front of my window and behind him was Mickey Mouse. It’s part of American pop culture right now and I am thinking, 'It was beautiful what we have done.' It is 10 years of working."

"It was sad one side, the other side, yes, the characters going to continue its own saga. I hope it goes well. But it’s totally different. What we are doing so far, nothing's going to be the same narrative process than Shrek. It goes the different direction, takes more from Sergio Leone’s kind of '60s movies, probably Western. We divide the screens and stuff like that. It’s a lot of fun too, but it’s in a different context."

Are there any fairytales you would like to rewrite?

Jon Hamm: "Any fairytales I'd like to rewrite? I think the great thing about this franchise is that it kind of takes the classic fairytales and puts them on their heads. So this is a perfect example of it. And when the original book came out, and maybe my timeline's wrong, there were quite a few books that were coming out and were sort of reworked and sort of twisted fairytales that were taking the classic damsel in distress and handsome prince and putting them on their head or swapping roles. So I think, not only this franchise, but there have been several that have done quite well. And then when you add in the unbelievable talent on this stage and the animators, it makes this incredible thing come to life. So I don't think I could certainly do any better than this. This is amazing."

Jon, how did you find the transition going from television to voice acting?

Jon Hamm: "It was easier - a lot easier. Certainly less was demanded of me and my role in the film than it was in the television show, so that was a lot easier as well. But a whole different kind of acting, and of being in a scene when you are reading opposite people that have other constructed performances that you haven't necessarily heard. And that again speaks to the incredible competence of the people who put this together to make that all seem seamless."

"I was learning as I went along. The character wasn't funny. The character was changing and it kept changing, and I had to keep going back in and I had to redo it, the arc involved with who this character was because it was a new character and was constantly shifted and there would be notes. And maybe it's not this, it’s that. And that was a really fun process to be a part of because it's not happening live. It's sort of deferred until they get it exactly right. And when you're in the hands of people who want it to be excellent, that's a very comforting and welcoming feeling. So I tremendously enjoyed it, and it was a really interesting thing to learn on the fly."

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