Friday, August 07, 2015

Long Ago ... Far Away

Years ago (like eighteen?) Shrek was in development at DreamWorks Animation. And Eddie Murphy was working with a comedy actor from Saturday Night Live ...

... and it wasn't Mike Myers. ...

Chris Farley had the lead, and as director/story artist/animator Tom Sito once told me, "He brought a lot of energy to the part. Chris was big, made me feel like Twiggy. And he had a different take on the role than Myers did." ...

Shrek did not have a smooth ride from book to screen. The studio went through several directors. The board artists struggled to get the right balance of comedy and story, gags going into sequences then being pulled out again. Jeffrey Katzenberg considered using motion capture but then rejected it.

And in the midst of production with 90% of the dialogue recorded, the actor in the title role died.

It's amazing, when you consider all the ups and downs of the production, that the feature turned out as well as it did. When finally released, not only did Shrek open at #1, but the feature went on to gross almost a half billion dollars against a budget of sixty million. And it was the first winner for "Best Animated Feature" beating the Pixar and Nick entries.

What Shrek might have been with Chris Farley? An unknowable unknown.


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