Puss in Boots, that suavest of swashbuckling cats, surely had a life of adventure before hooking up with Shrek and Donkey and the gang. DreamWorks Animation and director Chris Miller certainly thought so.
With that premise in mind, "Puss in Boots," a "Shrek" prequel with Antonio Banderas returning as the voice of the sexy but manipulative tabby, hits theaters Nov. 4.
In this adventure, Puss reunites with his old friend Humpty Dumpty and joins a feisty young feline named Kitty Softpaws to save the world from the murderous outlaws Jack and Jill.
"It is not a send-up of fairy tales," says Miller, who wrote and co-directed "Shrek the Third." "Our approach was, you thought you knew how all of those fairy stories went, but they went this way. Then from there, let's make sure the characters are driving the comedy and story, steer away from the popular culture references and make it a real character piece."
But even with those guidelines, the "Puss" team got a little stumped in shaping the movie — until Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy") joined the team as an executive producer. "Guillermo was a gift to us," Miller says. "The film had been coming together in this great way, but we had hit that point where in a weird way we had taken it as far as we could. We needed someone to liberate us creatively and sort of shake the tree. He expanded the way we saw the film at the perfect time in the process. He's been just a gift for us."