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‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ Director Joel Crawford on Why Panic Attack Scene Was an Important Moment for Both Kids and Parents

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Karen Idelson When director Joel Crawford considered including a realistic panic attack in “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” he knew it would be an important moment for kids and adults alike. “We know so many people who struggle with anxiety or we struggle with it and have panic attacks ourselves,” Crawford says. “Children can handle these scenes, maybe sometimes better than adults, and it can help everyone to feel seen if we create a scene that feels like it’s drawn from something that really happens.” In the scene, Puss is overwhelmed by fear as he considers that he’s used up eight of his nine lives.

Though the character’s signature state of mind is that of a daring, playful and extroverted cat, this new film takes him in a more vulnerable direction.

As Puss is struck by panic, he slumps down the side of a tree while he breathes heavily and tries to regain his calm. As he goes through the panic attack, his friend, a little dog named Perrito, gently places his head on Puss’ stomach to soothe him.

While he pets Perrito, the charismatic feline can breathe normally again and regains his peace of mind. Lynn Bufka, a clinician with training in the area of panic attacks and associate chief of practice transformation at the American Psychological Association, says breath control is a crucial part of learning to manage panic attacks and Perrito’s support is also a significant lesson. “Breathing and working with your breath is very important in terms of learning to manage anxiety and panic attacks because the cycle of a panic attack can involve this type of heavy, rapid breathing that if you learn to control you can better manage what happens,” Bufka says. “Also, the way Perrito comforts Puss is very important because he’s not

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