Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas reckon being Hispanic in Hollywood is no longer the limitation it once was.
After all, they wonder, when have Hispanic actors ever landed such big feline roles as the leads in the animated adventure Puss In Boots?
"When I started out, Hispanic roles were very limited," Salma said at the Cannes Film Festival, where she and Antonio joined DreamWorks Animation to show off footage of their Shrek spin-off, out this November. "Roles were very limited. There were one or two kinds of characters you used to do. Now we get to play the cats! It's OK to be a Hispanic, even if you are a cat."
"Cats were British, normally," Antonio added at a question-and-answer session after the footage screened.
"I feel very proud, actually," the actor said of his role in expanding the types of parts open to Hispanic performers. "I never pretended when I first went to Hollywood to be a guy from Oklahoma. I am what I am. And fortunately, the Spanish community in the US has grown in the last 22 years that I have been there."
After the screening, Antonio, 50, and Salma, 44, posed for photos on a giant pair of boots bearing the movie's title.
Antonio reprises his voice role from the last three Shrek films, providing the voice of Puss in Boots, the tiny cat with the big heart, big ideas and bigger ego.
A prequel chronicling Puss' adventures before meeting ogre Shrek, the movie has the cat as an outlaw, looking to pull off a big score. But his scheme is interrupted by another calculating cat, Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma), who is in league with Puss' pal-turned-foe Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).