“Puss in Boots” Paris Press Conference

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The Latest big-budget American film to make a splash in France is "Le Chat Potté"; aka "Puss in Boots"

The promotional bandwagon for the new Dreamworks animated film “Puss in Boots” arrived in Paris during the week, where the film’s director, stars and their French-dubbed voice stars set up temporary camp in the very comfortable surroundings of the Georges V hotel in Paris.

The film tells the story of Puss in Boots during his pre-Shrek days. The eponymous hero is joined by seductive sidekick Kitty Softpaws, with Humpty Dumpty as the brains of an operation to make off with the famous goose that lays the golden eggs.

Salma Hayek and director Chris Miller have a giggle at the Paris press conference

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas reprises the role of Puss in Boots that he played in the Shrek series while Salma Hayek provides the voice of Kitty Softpaws. For the French version, their voices are dubbed by French actor Boris Rehlinger and Belgian actress Virginie Efira respectively. Rehlinger is one of those French actors who specialise in providing dubbed voice-overs for foreign films. In France, he is known as the voice of Jason Statham and of our own Colin Farrell and in “Puss in Boots”, his voice-over is done with a Spanish accent (for those of you who understand French, you can get a behind-the-scenes taster of the dubbing work by clicking here).

All the stars admitted to being fond of cats. Both Banderas and Hayek own cats and director Chris Miller says that he “adores cats and has several of them.” He lived, he says, in a feline universe for the last three-and-a-half years in the preparation of this film and reckons that he has downloaded just about every cat video on planet earth. Moreover, he says, “I like tuna!”

Both Salma Hayek and Virginie Efira expressed an admiration for the redoubtable character of Kitty Softpaws – someone whose cunning turns her lowly standing and disadvantages to her own advantage. As for her role in the film, Efira says that “It’s quite crazy being the last links in this chain, but what a chain! When I was called and asked to be the voice of Salma Hayek, it was more than an honour.”

Boris Rehlinger attends 'Puss In Boots' Paris Press Conference at Hotel George V on November 21, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images)

As for Rehlinger, he’s happy with the work: “For me, the adventure has kept going for ten years now, so thanks Antonio for not speaking French!

“I’m not too far off my on-screen character – a little bit ‘milk-and-soup’ myself. I think that the notion of word-of-honour amongst friends has become a bit rare nowadays. Behind a fairy tale or a cartoon, you can get across certain themes between the lines, so to speak; certain essential values that work and that are valid no matter what the culture or the country where the film is shown.”

High brow indeed. French audiences will get a chance to see their version first when “Le Chat Potté” opens across France on November 30th. Irish audiences will have to wait until December 9th, when it opens in cinemas nationwide here.

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