The parents behind “Puss In Boots”

Antonio Banderas at the "Puss In Boots" premiere

Calendar and Directories Editor Mala Blomquist participated in a recent phone interview with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, who are promoting their new movie, “Puss in Boots.”

Banderas plays Puss In Boots, one of the most beloved characters of the “Shrek” universe. This tale is about Puss’ early adventures as he teams with mastermind Humpty Dumpty and the street-savvy Kitty Softpaws (Hayek) to steal the famed Goose that lays the Golden Eggs. The Dreamworks Animation film opened Friday.

Their characters may be larger than life but Mala found both actors to be very family-oriented — they provided very thoughtful replies when she asked them what they like to do with their families.

Banderas: Well, movies, [which is] like a paradox, because that’s our professional world, but we love to go to the movies. Alexander, my stepson, is 26, and he lives by himself in Brooklyn, NY. Dakota is 21. She’s making movies already. Stella is the one that is still going to school. She’s 14, she’s going to be (in two weeks) 15 years old.

We spend a lot of time outside of the house, so the luxurious thing for us to do is just to be together. Friday night arrives, and we get in bed with a good movie, a big bucket of popcorn in between us, the kids, Melanie on one side of the bed and I’m on the other side, and the kids in the middle. That was, for us, like the happy times, you know.

We try to understand what they (the children) are interested in. For example, my daughter Stella is a compulsive reader. She loves to read. And I love that, because I think it enhances the perception that she may have about the world. She learns about relationships, human beings and their complexities. And so we comment about books. They’re all very, very related to art.

Alexander plays music. He plays piano. He plays guitar. And I do, too. So I try to relate with him in those aspects.

Dakota is now making movies, so she’s very close to our professional activities. We talk about how she can confront, in the years to come, this professional role with all the difficulties that you may find, not only just what you find in front of the camera, but all the parallel lives that exist around this professional life that is actually not only difficult, but sometimes, eventually could be even dangerous.

Then we talk also with them about general issues, including politics, society and poverty, ecology…it is a number of things that we do. I must say that the one who sets out the ecology mood in our home is the little one, Stella, because she actually is coming from a school with some lessons that when I was in school I didn’t learn. So she is the one with the “this is for plastic, this is for recyclables.” She’s the one who runs the whole entire thing. So I think that sometimes we also have a lot of things to learn from our kids.

Hayek: Well, I am a crazy mother. I like to… I actually do dress-up with her [daughter Valentina] and we play cards. My daughter likes to play actress, which is not very convenient because sometimes I work the whole day and I just want to go home and be me. I did four movies this year. I know I have to come home, and be the gardener or, I have even been a chair or a table, some of her things that are her games. She loves to play different roles and she’s sort of a director in it, because she tells you what’s your name, what is it about, you should be doing this and that.

She loves to read. We love to scare each other. Oh, my God, we really to love to scare each other. Thank God I have a healthy heart because she’s really getting good at it. And we love to sing together. We cook together, I make her do chores all the time. If it is really important, she likes it. You know what she’s beginning to do, and I am so proud of it, she sees that I’m very busy so she wakes up and she goes, “Mommy, how can I help you today?”

She’s good at helping me because she’s very neat. For example, she’s helping me pack. She’s beginning to help me out. She’s all like, “pack all the jewelry here and organize it over there,” all the way. And she does such a good job.

Even though I think it’s so important to play, it’s also important to make sure that they have chores and that we participate together in those chores, like teaching her how to make the bed and things like that. I think it’s so important.


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