The beloved animation, Shrek turns 20 today. It’s true what Smash Mouth said “the years start coming and they don’t start stop coming”. Here some little known facts about the famous DreamWorks animation classic.
Two decades ago, Shrek premiered across American May 18th, 2001. The hit animation won over both critics and audiences and became one of the highest grossing animation films since The Lion King.
The world fell in love with the grumpy ogre, cheeky donkey and fierce princess. With multiple sequels and even video games, Shrek turns 20 and becomes a pop-culture legend.
1. Shrek Turns 20 With 5 Movies
Not many film series can boast 5 successful sequels. However, Shrek’s audience keeps coming back for more. The lovable trio and their funny friends have kept movie goers excited from 2001 to 2010 and are still going strong today.
2. Shrek Is Based On A Book
Shrek turns 20, however, the books in which the movies are based on is over 30 years old!
William Steig’s fairy tale picture book, Shrek!, which came out in 1990. Not only that, Steig was 83 years old when he wrote the book!
Saddly, Steig passed away at 95 in 2003, two years after Shrek’s release.
3. The Producer’s Kids Gave Shrek the Green Light
Producer, John H Williams’ kids, who at the time were in kindergarten and pre-school actually bought Shrek! to their fathers attention.
The two children loved the book so much that Williams brought is to Katzenberg, and the project took off!
4. Chris Farley Was The Original Shrek
The late funny man, Chris Farley, was not only cast as Shrek but actually recorded almost 95% of his dialogue before he passed away in 1997.
Farley’s version of Shrek was a teenage ogre who didn’t want to go into the family business and actually wanted to be a knight!
5. Mike Myers Chose To Do Shrek In A Scottish Accent After Seeing a Rough Cut
Myers tried a thick Canadian accent but ended up settling for the now famous Scottish inflection.
Apparently, the studio spent an additional $4 million to start over doing it Myers’ way.
6. Nicholas Cage Turned Down The Role Of Shrek
Cage told the Daily Mail that he turned down the leading role simply because he didn’t want to look like an ogre. Nevertheless, Cage ultimately regretted that decision, “Maybe I should have done it looking back.”
7. No One Told Mike Myers He Was Replacing Chris Farley
Myer’s actually guessed he was replacing his former SNL co-star, although he didn’t find out until 2012.
8. John Lithgow Broke His Personal Rule When He Decided To Play Lord Farquaad
The famously tall actor, who is 6’4″, said he would never play a short person but just couldn’t resist the Shrek role. He believes part of the joke of him being cast as Farquaad was due to the vast difference in his height and the characters.
9. The Original Princess Fiona Was To Be Janeane Garofalo
Unfortunately, Garofalo was fired from the project and still to this day does not know why. A report states that her sarcasm was to balance out Farley’s optimism but with the change of Shrek, Fiona’s part needed to change as well.
10. The Movie Was Supposed To Look A Lot Different
Shrek was conceived to be a live-action/CGI animation hybrid, but the test screening in 1997 wasn’t up to par. DreamWorks’ production partners were set to make the animation for all of Shrek’s 31 sequences, with 1,288 shots in each sequence and 36 different locations.
11. Shrek Was Screened By DreamWorks And Disney Lawyers To Avoid Lawsuits
With the general cynicism toward traditional fairy tales, Shrek was considered to have taken jabs at Disney. Although there was no legal action, several Radio Disney affiliates did not allow DreamWorks to purchase ad time to promote Shrek.
12. The Gingerbread Man Co-Directed The Sequel
The voice of Gingie, Conrad Vernon started as a storyboard artist and then directed Shrek 2 with Andrew Adamson and Kelly Asbury.
However, Vernon refused to direct the third Shrek because it took up too much time.
13. The Movie Saved DreamWorks
In 2007, Katzenberg said that Shrek saved the company financially and gave DreamWorks Animation an image. Which allowed them to create Madagascar,, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train A Dragon.
14. Shrek Won The First Academy Award For Best Animated Feature
When Shrek was released, animated films didn’t win major awards at the Oscars. However, in 2002 the category for best-animated feature was made and, Shrek was the first winner.
15. Shrek’s Name Originates From The Yiddish Word “Terrible”
Shrek isn’t just a random word, its actual meaning comes from the Yiddish word “Shreklekh” which means awful/horrible.
The world is also found in German, which means dreadful.
16. Shrek Was Adapted Into A Broadway Musical
After the huge success of Shrek, it didn’t take long for Broadway to turn it into a musical.
It was on Broadway from 2008 to 2012 staring Brian d’Arcy as Shrek and Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona. Also, taking home the Tony award for best costume design in 2009.
17. Shrek 2 Was The Highest-Grossing Film Worldwide in 2004
Shrek 2 was released in 2004 and was the highest-grossing movie worldwide, even beating Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and Spider-Man 2.
Furthermore, to this day, Shrek 2 is the fifth highest grossing animated films.
18. It Is Part Of The Library Of Congress’ National Film Registry
One of the 25 movies to be added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress was Shrek!
It is honoured as one of the most influential movies in the U.S. and has had major cultural and historical importance in the nations film heritage.
19. Donkey Was Modelled After A Real Life Miniature Donkey
Pericles, also known as Perry, was born in 1994 in Palo Alto, California. Additionally, his companion, who is regular sized donkey, is Miner Forty-Niner or Niner for short.
20. The Filmmakers Went Above And Beyond
Last but not least, In order to really get into the film making process, some members of the movie’s development team took mud showers to study the movement of mud.
Art director, Douglas Rogers, visited a magnolia plantation for research and was chased by an alligator.
Overall, this movie franchise has played a huge part in a lot of our lives. Many of us, who are now all grown up now, remember going to the first Shrek with our families.
Shrek turns 20 today, and we hope you will all celebrate by binging all 5 movies! You can watch every single Shrek movie on Netflix!