Animation today is a multi-billion dollar industry and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. While Disney is still the leader in the field, companies like DreamWorks have given Mickey some competition in the past few decades. DreamWorks Animation was formed in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg. While the studio has produced dozens of movies, the Shrek series has remained one of their most popular and financially successful franchises.
Shrek was released in 2001 and featured Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz as the voices of Shrek, Donkey, and Princess Fiona. The characters are known all around the world, but some things about Shrek might still be unknown to most people. Here Are 10 BTS Facts About Shrek.
10 Chris Farley Almost Voiced Shrek
Mike Myers is known for being the voice of Shrek, but Chris Farley was originally cast as the character. Development began on Shrek in 1995 but since Farley passed away in 1997, he was unable to finish voicing lines for the character so Myers was brought in.
When Steven Spielberg had considered producing the film in the early ‘90s, he envisioned Bill Murray as Shrek and Steve Martin as Donkey. It’s also believed Alan Rickman was going to voice Lord Farquaad, but he chose to play Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone instead.
9 Mike Myers Originally Portrayed Shrek As Canadian
While imagining Farley voicing Shrek is strange enough, it’s even weirder to think Myers originally voiced him with a Canadian accent. Myers originally voiced the character with his regular voice, but eventually settled on a Scottish accent similar to his character Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers franchise.
It took a few times for me to get the voice right. I first tried it in a sort of Canadian accent, but it just didn't connect, and, because fairytales are a European thing and ogres are more earthy, the Scottish accent just felt right.
At the end of the day, Myers' effort paid off.
8 'All Star' Wasn’t Meant To Stay In The Film
Smashmouth was formed in 1994, but the band became even more famous when their song “All Star” was featured at the beginning of Shrek. The song comes on during Shrek’s morning routine and is one of the highlights of the film, but the song wasn’t originally supposed to be featured in the final cut of the Shrek.
Since “All Star” had been playing on the radio a few years prior to Shrek's release, the animation team was planning on using a newer song. “All Star” was meant as a placeholder until they found the right song. After the team saw the sequence with “All Star,” they loved the combination and Jeff Katzenberg recommended they just keep the song.
7 Shrek’s Art Director & The Alligator
Computer animation has come a long way since Toy Story was released in 1995, but animators still have to do a lot of research to make elements of the film look realistic. With a good portion of Shrek taking place outdoors, the film’s art director (Douglas Rogers) decided to attend a magnolia plantation to get a feel for what Shrek’s swamp should look like.
When he was there, Rogers was apparently chased by an alligator while he was conducting his research. Making an animated movie is usually safer than filming an action movie with a lot of crazy stunts, but apparently, that wasn’t the case for Shrek.
6 Mike Myers Recorded A Line In The Back Of A Limo
Shrek is no doubt a very quotable film. From puns about fairy tale creatures to a hilarious conversation between Donkey and Shrek about onions, Shrek was able to keep fans laughing from start to finish. That being said, one of the most important lines of the film was almost omitted.
After Shrek finds all of the fairy tale characters in his swamp, he exclaims, “What are you doing in my swamp?” The line was crucial to the scene, but since they forgot to record it, Jeff Katzenberg had to fly to New York to have Myers say Shrek’s line.
5 The Effects Department Got Their Hands Dirty
While the entire animation process is very complicated and technical, there are certain things that are harder to animate than others. Donkey’s fur was one element of Shrek that was more difficult to animate, as was the mud shower scene near the beginning.
Shrek’s mud shower only takes up a few seconds of the film, yet the effects department really took mud showers to analyze the way mud would slip and drip off their skin. This just goes to show the dedication of the animators that DreamWorks had at their disposal.
4 Shrek Throws A Lot Of Shade At Disney
After Jeff Katzenberg had his falling out with Disney and was forced to resign, he became the co-founder and CEO of DreamWorks. Things didn’t end smoothly between Jeff Katzenberg and Disney CEO Michael Eisner, which is part of the reason why many people believe Shrek throws shade at Disney.
For example, the “Welcome to Duloc” song is a parody of Disney’s “It’s a Small World,” while some have suggested Lord Farquaad was even designed after Eisner. Since Shrek went into development soon after Katzenberg left Disney and co-founded DreamWorks, it certainly seems like Shrek throws jabs at Disney; although, the company would never admit it.
3 Janeane Garofalo Was Fired Without Explanation
Like Mike Myers replaced Chris Farley, Cameron Diaz replaced Janeane Garofalo as Princess Fiona. Garofalo is known for roles in projects like Mystery Men, Wet Hot American Summer, and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. The actress was originally hired to voice Fiona alongside Farley as Shrek, but after Farley’s death, she was fired without explanation.
It’s possible she was chosen specifically to balance out Chris Farley’s voice but they decided to get someone else after Mike Myers was hired. To this day the actress still doesn’t know why she was let go, but at least she still got to be apart of a famous animated film by portraying Colette in Ratatouille.
2 John Lithgow Originally Didn’t Want To Play Anybody Short
John Lithgow voiced Lord Farquaad in Shrek, but DreamWorks were lucky to get him. Lithgow is a critically acclaimed actor, being nominated for Terms of Endearment and The World According to Garp, but is also well known for his role of Dr. Dick Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Lithgow is one of the taller actors in Hollywood, coming in at 6’ 4’’ but he once swore to never play anybody short. Farquaad is obviously short in Shrek, but Lithgow agreed to voice the character because he thought his tall stature was part of the joke behind Farquaad.
1 Shrek Put Dreamworks On The Map
DreamWorks first movie was Antz in 1998, followed by The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, and Chicken Run. Shrek was the fifth DreamWorks film to be released, but it is the film that put the animation studio on the map. Shrek not only made a ton of money at the box office, but it was also the first-ever film to win the award "Best Animated Film" at the Academy Awards.
DreamWorks is still going strong today, winning a total of three Academy Awards. If it weren’t for Shrek though, the company could have gone bankrupt and wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.