Mexican American actress Constance Marie has been seen as mother characters in beloved comedies (The George Lopez Show) and dramas (Selena) over the years. Now, she’s getting animated as another motherly figure in Puss ‘n Boots, which opens in theaters on tomorrow. She shared with Latina.com who she plays in the film, which “mom” role has been her favorite to play, what it’s like to be animated.
Who is your character, Imelda, in “Puss ‘n Boots”?
Imelda is essentially Puss’s mom. She’s not a cat. She actually runs the orphanage where Puss grows up. She’s the one who nurtures him through his past and sort of like the moral compass. Puss can use his powers for good or he can use them for evil and I try to steer him in the right direction… I am actually younger than my character Imelda in Puss ‘n Boots. Just in case anybody thinks that I’m a 55 year-old, frumpy Spanish woman, I am still a decade younger than that but I am used to playing older.
How does Puss in Boots pick up?
It sort of goes back in time and talks about the origins of Puss and how he was raised and how he made choices in his life and again, uses his powers for good and not evil. You know, when you’re a teenager, you can go both ways. You always have a choice to make. He’s so absolutely charming. I never got to see the movie before the premiere and I was so pleasantly surprised and so charmed by that character. It’s really a stand-alone movie.
Did your own experience as a mother influence your approach to the character?
Oh my gosh. Totally! I play mothers so much better now that I actually know the thankless yet wonderful job that it is. It’s the most amazing thing that I’ve ever done so it really has [influenced] all the roles that I do.
Of all the “mom” roles you’ve played, which has been your favorite?
I think I would have to say that playing Selena’s mom was the best mom role so far. She was an actual mother, like a person. And it was such a character with the accent and wigs and everything possible to change me into somebody that it was a complete transformation.
What was the experience like working on an animated film?
Oh my God! It was so much easier! You go in, you don’t need hair and makeup, you don’t have to look cute, you don’t have paparazzi. It’s so much easier. You just have to conceive of the character in your brain and it’s just you alone in a dark room with a microphone and your imagination. It’s a pretty awesome place to be.