But first let us set the scene. Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh provide voices and personalities for two best friends--and charming con artists--who live in Old Spain. Tulio (Kline) is the ostensible leader; he's the practical, cynical half of this pair of rapscallions. His partner, Miguel (Branagh) is the dreamer. At the top of the film, just before their scam-in-progress is unmasked, they get their hands on a map to the legendary golden city of El Dorado. On the run, they accidentally end up as stowaways on board ship to the New World with Cortez who is himself in search of El Dorado. Well, one thing leads to another, inclusive of five Elton John/Tim Rice songs, a romantic interlude with a character voiced by Rosie Perez, and you've got yourself an entertaining family film lovingly modeled on the old "road" movies starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour.
Unlike other animated movies, in which actors record their voice tracks alone in a booth, Kline and Branagh were invited to record their scenes together. Rather than stick to the script, they "embroidered," adlibbing and creating dialogue out of whole cloth, which the Dreamworks animators turned into whole celluloid. When Kline and Branagh are ushered into the Regency Hotel room in New York for this interview, it becomes instantly clear that their characters on screen are not so very different from these two actors in real life--at least when they're together.
When asked about the similarity between The Road to El Dorado and all those Hope/Crosby movies, Branagh begins, "In large part the film will play to a generation of people who probably haven't either seen or even heard of those films. But that sort of bickering-yet-affectionate relationship is a nice thing to play. If we could have cast the other part in the way I originally wanted, I think it would have been terrific. As it is, it sort of works. I think Kevin, sometimes gets some value out of it, though not as much as some of the other actors. You don't mind me saying that Kevin, do you?"
Kline blinks a few times and says, "What? Sorry, I tuned you out years ago." Then, after being asked what he thought of the film's formula, particularly the addition of the love interest played by Rosie Perez, with mock seriousness Kline says, "I find it gratuitous, frankly. I don't think she was necessary. Although it was a great pleasure working with Rosie Perez, and she was wonderful in the film, I really don't think we needed her." Branagh bursts out laughing. So do we.