Swashbuckling swordsman Puss In Boots was the breakout character of the Shrek franchise, so much so that after a dormant decade Dreamworks is returning to their world of off-kilter fairytales for a second solo adventure about the debonair feline assassin, memorably voiced by Antonia Banderas.
The inspired premise: after a care-free (some might say reckless) few years Puss has burned through eight of his nine lives, and goes in search of a wishing star to top up his extra lives.
“When he sets out on that journey, it's an opportunity to see a much deeper side of Puss,” director Joel Crawford says, while talking to Total Film for the latest issue of the magazine, featuring Top Gun on the cover. “He never experiences fear because he’s always so cool in every situation. But now, he's down to his last life, and there's a lot of comedy that comes from him being on his back foot.”
Alongside Banderas, Salma Hayek returns as Puss’ love interest Kitty Softpaws. New additions include What We Do in the Shadows actor Harvey Guillén as Perro, a “charming and hilarious” stray dog (seen below in our exclusive image), John Mulaney as Jack Horner (who has grown up to be a mafia boss) and Wagner Moura as the Big Bad Wolf.
Also stepping off the page are Goldilocks and the Three Bears who have been reimagined as a cockney crime family voiced by Florence Pugh as Goldilocks, Olivia Colman as Mama Bear, Ray Winstone as Papa Bear and Samson Kayo as Baby Bear.
“There's an element of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly where you've got everybody after this ultimate fairy tale prize which is this last wish,” Crawford says. “It's fun to see them zigzag and run into each other along the way.”
Given the trailer also features a striking blend of contrasting animation styles, bringing to mind the aesthetic of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and that Puss will be facing his own mortality in The Last Wish – a surprisingly deep prospect for a kids’ film – ambition is evidently not in short supply here. “On the surface, this is a story about death. But in tone and execution, it's a comedy and celebration of life,” says Crawford, who points out that the film also will still skewer the fairy tale fantasy, as we’re used to seeing in the Shrek universe. “There’s elements of heist movies, adventure, spaghetti westerns. It's a lot!”
For more from Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, and a World Exclusive look at Top Gun: Maverick, featuring interviews with Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, the new cast, check out the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves on Thursday 31 March. Top Gun: Maverick opens in UK cinemas on May 25, and US cinemas on May 27.
If you’re a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so you never miss an issue? Sign up via MagazinesDirect and you’ll save money on the cover price, as well getting exclusive subscriber covers like the one you can see above. And with our current subs offer, you can also get a free pair of headphones.