15 Things You May Not Know About 'Shrek'
It's the 15th anniversary of the big green guy and his little donkey.
It's been fifteen years since Shrek hit theaters in the Spring of 2001. The movie was unheralded but quickly became a fan favorite, eventually grossing almost $500 million worldwide. Children loved the goofy antics of Mike Myers' ogre and Eddie Murphy's donkey and adults enjoyed the film's satirical play on famous fairy tales and the land of "far, far away." Now, 15 years later, we look back on the movie and reveal some interesting facts you may not know.
1. The term "shrek" means "monster" in Yiddish and is derived from the German word "schreck" meaning "terror" or "fright."
2. Chris Farley was originally cast as Shrek and even recorded most of the character's dialogue before his death in December of 1997. Mike Myers, Farley's Saturday Night Live friend and castmate, replaced him. Shrek's air quotes in the movie are a tribute to Farley, who famously air quoted everything as Bennett Brauer on SNL.
3. Myers recorded Shrek in his normal voice before the film was test-screened. Afterwards, he decided it wasn't right and decided to go with a Scottish accent. He said, "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." Shrek was the fifth time Myers had utilized the same accent (SNL, Wayne's World 2, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and as Fat Bastard in the last two Austin Powers movies).
5. The line "You're on your way to a smacked bottom." was improvised by Myers after he got annoyed at one of the directors (Andrew Adamson or Vicky Jenson). If it sounds familiar, there's a reason. Myers said the same line as Austin Powers in Madonna's video for "Beautiful Stranger."
6. The line "What are you doing in my swamp!" was recorded by Myers in the back of producer Jeffrey Katzenberg's limo after everyone realized it had never been included.
7. Princess Fiona's burp was written in after Diaz burped drinking Coke in the studio.
8. The principal actors never met each other. They all read their parts separately, with a reader feeding them the lines. John Lithgow later admitted that, while he enjoyed playing Lord Farquaad, he was a little disappointed he never worked directly with Myers, Diaz, or Eddie Murphy, who plays Donkey.
9. Nicolas Cage was originally offered the role of Shrek.
10. Murphy and Katzenberg have known each another since they each started in the industry. They vowed that, one day, they would do an animated film together, which culminated with this film. Katzenberg even recommended Murphy for the part of Donkey and no-one else. He thinks it's Murphy's best work.
11. The song "I'm a Believer," one of the series' theme songs, was chosen specifically because of the line "I thought love was only true in fairy tales."
12. Diaz, having undergone Kung fu training during the making of Charlie's Angels, became very physical when recording her moves for Fiona's fight with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. At times she even broke into Cantonese.
13. Myers improvised many lines in the film, including Shrek's speech to the guests at Fiona and Farquaard's wedding.
14. Steven Spielberg was originally going to produce Shrek, loosely based on William Steig's 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!, in 1991 when he was in charge of Amblin Entertainment. The plan was for Bill Murray to star as Shrek and Steve Martin as Donkey.
15. Robin Williams was going to have a role in the film, but he had a bitter falling out with Katzenberg when the latter was still working at Disney and refused to work with him.