‘Puss in Boots’ helmer Chris Miller on ‘wishlist cast’ being cat’s meow [Video]

The nine-lived “Puss in Boots” has nine chances to win Annie Awards and the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. Victories there could make it a serious threat against “Rango” and “The Adventures of Tintin” at the Oscars. The “Shrek” spin-off starring the adorable, Antonio Banderas-voiced feline has an impressive $142 million domestic gross and and 86% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Director Chris Miller tells senior editor Adam Waldowski he had thought Puss in Boots merited his own film for years. “I worked on ‘Shrek 2,'” he explains, “and that’s when the character was first introduced … From the first time we saw Puss storyboarded, before he was even animated and on-screen, we knew there was something special about that character … There were no rules with him.” Miller thinks the voice behind the character makes him a scene stealer: “The persona that Antonio Banderas gave to that cat was large enough — larger than life — it was only a matter of time before he would have his own movie.”

Assembling “the wishlist cast” — Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Sedaris, and Billy Bob Thornton — was “shockingly easy.” “They all said ‘yes,’ which was amazing,” he laughs. “They all came down and saw what we were going for and they were all enthusiastic.”

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