Eric Bauza talks about voicing Puss in Boots in Netflix Animated Series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots”

Eric Bauza is one of the most talented voice actors in the business. He is wel known for voice characters like Tiger Claw in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to Chet in “Turbo FAST”. His latest role is also one of his biggest in which he is starring as Puss in Boots in the new Netflix animated series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” from DreamWorks Animation. The show premieres today, January 16, 2015, on Netflix. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Eric about this role and his voice work.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about what we can expect from the new Netflix animated series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots”?
Eric Bauza: Basically it is the same character that we have grown to love from the feature films and now he is getting his very own Netflix series, which is very exciting. The possibilities are endless here. They have him on the go again and he stumbles upon this town by accident and he was looking for – (in Puss’ voice) I was looking for treasure and as a humble gato, I was also looking for my next meal (end Puss’ voice). He finds this city and falls in love with the town and swears to protect it again outlanders. It is funny because even though he is a good guy, he always has that bit of mischief that follows behind him. He was basically after the town’s treasure but ends up becoming their protector since the town, of course, has orphans in it and he himself is an orphan.

MG: How does this show differ from the “Shrek” films and “Puss in Boots” spin-offs?
EB: I think we have a little more breathing room and knowing that the end of each episode is not the end of the show, since it is an ongoing series. So we have a lot time to explore. There is a lot of background explored as well as some great new characters. These are things that usually don’t have in a feature. As an actor, I think that is very comfortable to be in that situation.

MG: Is there any possibility of well-known characters from the series popping up in this show?
EB: I would love to have any of the flagship characters from the “Shrek” universe making an appearance. But we do have an abundance of new fairy tale creatures that we are bringing in. We also have a few great celebrity guest stars that we are bringing in like Danny Trejo, John Leguizamo and H. Jon Benjamin have done some characters for us. There are so many surprises that are coming up but I do not want to spoil them all, so tune in and find out for yourself.

MG: You have voiced numerous characters in your career; which have been your favorites?
EB: Puss in Boots is definitely up there for me and one of my favorites. Antonio Banderas is such a huge star and (in Puss’ voice) to do a part that was done by Antonio, as a voice over artist that is something else (end Puss’ voice). I have done Marvin the Martian for Warner Bros and to me Mel Blanc is the Godfather of voice over. So to know that I was able to do a Mel Blanc character is huge.

MG: Going from Puss in Boots to Tiger Claw in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to Chet in “Turbo FAST”; what kind of characters are your favorite to play?
EB: That is the tricky about Puss in Boots because he always starts off as the rough around the edges – he is either an outlaw or a hero. I have done a vast amount of bad guys though. I voiced Destro from G.I. Joe. Marvin the Martian, like I said, he is a bad guy. I love being the bad guy every now and then. And I am a Canadian, so it is hard for me to be bad [laughs].

MG: Later this year you have “Transformers: Robots in Disguise”; what can you tell us about these projects?
EB: Yeah, “Transformers”, you are talking about an icon there. I got to work with Peter Cullen aka the voice of Optimus Prime. Khary Payton voices Grimlock and he also voiced Cyborg in “Teen Titans”. We all are like huge nerds already, so put us all in the same room and it’s a lot of fun.

Blu-ray Review “Puss in Boots”

Directed by: Chris Miller
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Zeus Mendoza, Constance Marie, Guillermo del Toro, Bob Joles
Distributed by:Paramount Pictures
Release date: February 24, 2012
Running time: 90 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

When this film was released in the theaters, I had no interest in seeing it. I saw all of the “Shrek” films and I thought that each one was worse than the last. I have always thought that Puss in Boots was one of my favorite characters and it is great to see him get his solo story. Well when I watch this film on Blu-ray, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was so well-done, it was very sharp and funny. I thought the trailers for “Puss in Boots” didn’t capture any of the film charm. I really think this stands alone from the “Shrek” franchise and really entertains. I would love to see more installments from this series.

The story serves as an origin story for Puss in Boots. Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) works with his old schoolmate Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) and female feline Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek) as they chase down criminals Jack and Jill (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris). They are in search of magic beans which will create a beanstalk to the clouds.  Up the beanstalk, there is a castle which contains the legendary golden goose who lays golden eggs.

The Blu-ray presentation is absolutely spectacular. The 1080p Blu-ray transfer is superb and looks so sharp and colorful. The film’s sound is also extremely notable boasting a fantastic Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless track. It works so well with the films action and music. The Blu-ray combo pack also comes packed with a DVD copy of the film and also a digital copy. It is not an Ultraviolet digital copy but still enjoyable to take the film on the road with you. I enjoyed the 2D version of this film but I still prefer the 3D much more, if you have the preference.

The special features on the disc are very impressive just like the film. Firstly it includes an all new adventure short called “Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos”. This runs about thirteen minutes, it is very fun and worth checking out. There are a few Blu-ray exclusive features, the first is called “A DreamWorks Fairy Tale”, an interactive feature to create your own rhymes. The second is called “Puss’ Paw Pouncing Challenge”, which is a fun game using the remote for the kids. “The Animators’ Corner”, which is a picture-in-picture feature with director Chris Miller and producers Joe Aguilar and Latifa Ouaou. It contains comparisons from storyboards and animation tests and an interesting look at the film’s production. It is a must-watch if you enjoyed the film. Lastly there is a trivia track which provides cool facts and information throughout the movie.

Some of the additional features included are “Purr-Fect Pairing: The Voices Behind the Legend”, which is a look into the voice work from Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, and Billy Bob Thornton. There are a three test deleted scenes including “Humpty Plots with Jack & Jill”, “Humpty Repays His Accomplices” and “Puss in Boots Fights the Giant”. “Kitten to Cat” is a feature with focus on the development of Puss in Boots’ character. “Glitter Box Dance Off!” focuses on the dance choreography from the film. “Klepto Kitty” follows Dusty, a real-life cat burglar. “Kitty Keyboard” includes feline versions of “3 Blind Mice”, “Humpty Dumpty”, “Jack and Jill”, and “Little Boy Blue”. “Fairytale Pop-Up Book” includes the ability to view your favorite scenes and lines from the film’s characters. “Kitty Strikes Again” is a fun ‘find the differences’ game for the kids. Lastly there is “World of DreamWorks Animation”, which includes trailer and music from other Dreamworks films.

Film Review “Puss in Boots”

Starring the voices of: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis
Directed by: Chris Miller
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour 30 mins

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Ah, Shrek. You are truly the Ogre who keeps giving. After four films featuring you and your pals you’ve stepped aside and given us “Puss in Boots,” a film that is simply, along with your studio-mate “Kung Fu Panda 2,” one of the best animated films of the year. Or any year.

Having graced previous “Shrek” sequels, the film finds our sad eyed feline hero reminiscing about his childhood as he plots his most daring deed. It seems that Puss (Banderas) wants to get his paws on the fabled magic beans in the hopes of nabbing the goose that lays golden eggs. This has been a lifelong dream of Puss, who as a young orphan became best pals with another famous nursery rhyme figure, the oblong (and very fragile) Humpty Dumpty (Galifianakis). Currently the beans are in the possession of the hideous Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and his equally ugly wife Jill (Amy Sedaris). But, with the help of a new femme feline fatale named Kitty Softpaws (Hayek), Puss is sure he is the right cat for the job.

Playing like a film by Robert Rodriguez or Sergio Leone, “Puss in Boots” is many films in one. It’s an old fashioned spaghetti western. It’s a comedy. It’s a buddy film. And it’s in 3D! The film is anchored by the vocal talents of its cast. Banderas is smooth as silk as Puss, a tough talking el gato who will duel you one minute and then sweetly lap up a glass of leche’ the next. Hayek brings life to Kitty, infusing her with a toughness that belies her appearance. As Humpty Dumpty, Galifianakis shines. Beneath his beige exterior Humpty is truly a bad egg, and Galifianakis hits just the right notes.

The film also excels visually. There are several great set pieces throughout the movie, with a highlight being an initial duel between Puss and Kitty. That the battle is a dance off only makes the action more exciting. Like “Kung Fu Panda 2” before it, Dreamworks proves again that when it comes to animation and the 3D process, they are the tops. Director Miller, who also directed “Shrek the Third,” keeps the film moving ahead with a steady stream of visual delights. Dare I say, in honor of Humpty, that the film is “egg”ceptional?


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