Back in 2001, Shrek ended up becoming one of the biggest animated hits of all time at the box office, positioning Dreamworks Animation as a major player in the world of non-live-action cinema. However, the film almost turned out quite different from the version everyone’s familiar with.
Saturday Night Live alum Chris Farley was originally in line to voice the film’s title character, having completed most of the recording process in early stages of development. Following Farley’s tragic passing in late 1997, the role ultimately was re-recorded by Mike Myers, and the film’s release led to three sequels and a Puss in Boots spinoff movie (to date, that is).
Now, courtesy of VimeoPro user John Garbett, the general public can now get a better idea of what the late Farley would have sounded like as Shrek (see the video above). This rough story footage was based on an early version of the film’s script, as much of its content does not appear in the final movie cut (though Eddie Murphy still wound up providing the vocals for the Donkey character,).
For starters, based on this Shrek footage reel, it appears that Farley’s version of the now-famous curmudgeonly ogre was younger and perhaps motivated more by a desire to make his parents proud – rather than a deep-seated loneliness and fear of not being accepted by those around him (as the Myers version was in the first Shrek movie). Moreover, the rough character designs for both Shrek and Donkey give us a look at how the film visual aesthetic evolved over the course of its development.
It’s impossible to know if Farley’s Shrek still would have given rise to the highest-grossing animated film series of all time (with an estimated worldwide gross of $3.5 billion, including Puss in Boots). Nonetheless, his approach to the ogre certainly would have been far different than Myers’ wearier, Scottish-accented take, bringing Farley’s specific comedic sensibility to the character while keeping the story’s heart firmly in check.
The discovery of this lost Shrek footage comes on the heels of the debut of I Am Chris Farley, a new documentary on the comedian set to air on Spike TV this month, on August 10th. Still remembered fondly for his SNL character work and such 1990s comedies as Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, it’s interesting to imagine how Farley’s career path could have changed on account of Shrek.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for any updates on the Shrek franchise as they arrive.
Source: John Garbett