<p>Shrek was released in the US, 20 years ago today</p>

Shrek was released in the US, 20 years ago today

DreamWorks

It’s been 20 years since the US release of the 2001 film Shrek and, despite the two decades that have passed, it seems people are just as enthused about the franchise as they were when the first one came out.

Really, who can forget Mike Myers’ Scottish accent?

As fans mark the day by remembering their favourite quotes and characters from the movie, indy100 has put together some interesting facts that you might not know about the popular film series:

Chris Farley was the original Shrek

Chris Farley was an Oscar award winner in 1997AFP via Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine anyone else besides Mike Myers playing the icon green ogre – but one person technically did.

Comedian-actor Chris Farley had recorded somewhere from 80-95% of the dialogue before he died in 1997, which saw the film get scrapped completely at the cost of $34 million.

The film is based on a book – written by an 85-year-old

An image of the book cover Shrek! by William SteigAmazon

Shrek was loosely based on William Steig’s 1990 picture book, Shrek!

Steig was a cartoonist for The New Yorker and a children’s writer who Newsweek once named the “king of cartoons.”

Two years after Shrek‘s release in 2003, Steig died at the age of 95.

Shrek’s accent was originally not going to be Scottish

Myers first voiced Shrek with a Canadian accentGetty Images

Could we even imagine what Shrek would be like if he didn’t have his iconic Scottish accent?

Honestly, we can’t.

But that almost became a reality as Myers originally went with his natural Canadian accent for the character’s voice.

Luckily, he changed his mind and went with the Scottish lilt – though it had some financial consequences.

The studio spent an additional $4 million to start over and redo everything in the new voice, according to DreamWorks SKG co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Whatever the cost, it was definitely worth the money.

Nicolas Cage turned down the role of Shrek

Nicolas Cage, the one that got awayGetty Images

Who could possibly turn down this role of a lifetime?

Well, apparently Nicolas Cage can.

Cage told the Daily Mail that he turned the role down because “I just didn’t want to look like an ogre,” – but it’s not just any ogre Nicolas, it’s Shrek.

Cage added: “Maybe I should have done it, looking back.”

Stephen Spielberg bought the rights to the original book

Imagine what Shrek could have been if Spielberg went ahead with his original ideaGetty Images for Turner

Shrek could have looked totally different if Stephen Spielberg went ahead with his initial plans.

When the award-winning director purchased the rights to Steig’s book, he imagined the film to be a standard hand-drawn animated film for his Amblin Entertainment company.

He had two comedians in mind for the lead roles – Bill Murray as Shrek and Steve Martin as Donkey.

Spielberg couldn’t get the project off the ground until years later though1994 — after DreamWorks SKG, the studio he ran with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, came to be. The rest is history.

Shrek saved DreamWorks

2005 film, Madagascar was also a success for the studioDreamWorks

Thanks to the resounding success of the film – making $484.4 million at the box office – DreamWorks was able to continue making movies.

This enabled the studio to make other popular animation franchises such as the Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon.

There’s a festival dedicated to the franchise called ShrekFest

Yes, you read correctly.

Shrek became somewhat of a cult classic and, 20 years on, super fans are still celebrating the movie by attending “an annual celebration of love and life.”

ShrekFest takes place every Labor Day weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, where there are different events on related to film, of course.

Some of the activities include channeling your inner ogre with a roaring contest, an onion-eating competition and live bands playing the movie’s iconic soundtrack.

On it’s website, the origin of the festival is explained: “Shrekfest started as an Internet joke in 2014, but people believed in it so hard that it became real”

The festival was started by the art collective, 3GI Industries and ever since then and “have seen it explode into an international phenomenon.”

John Lithgow broke a personal rule to play the role of Lord Farquaad

Lord Farquaad in the first film of the Shrek franchiseDreamWorks

John Lithgow, who is 6”4, revealed in an interview with the LA Times that he broke a person rule to play the notorious 4”6 villain.

He said: “I always said I would never play anyone short, and then came [“Shrek’s”] Lord Farquaad.”

We’re glad he bent the rules on this occasion.

It became a Broadway musical

(L-R) Sutton Foster, Brian d'Arcy James and Daniel Breaker perform a song from "Shrek the Musical" onstage during the 63rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2009Getty Images

Like many popular film franchises, Shrek was turned into a Broadway musical production and was first performed in 2008.

It is mainly based on the first film but also has elements of the other three sequels, while the production also drew from the 1990 book by Steig.

The music was by Jeanine Tesori while David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the book and lyrics.

A West End production in the UK ran from June 2011 to February 2013, with Britain’s Got Talent Judge, Amanda Holden and Girls Aloud’s Kimberly Walsh playing stints in the role of Princess Fiona.

Shrek is a German word

The name “Shrek“ is derived from the German word “Schreck”, which means “fright” or “terror”.

Although he was a frightening ogre at the beginning of the movie, we’re not sure this is an accurate description of everyone’s favourite ogre – as he turns out to be a big softie.

Smash Mouth’s “All Star” in the opening credits wasn’t meant to be used

Shrek’s soundtrack is almost as iconic as the movie itself so we can’t fathom the possibility of the opening song not being Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”

Yet it was never meant to be – the song was only a placeholder for test screenings until a new song could be found.

But test audiences loved it, and the producers kept it in. When the producers decided to keep “All Star” they decided to let the band perform the last song in the movie, “I’m a Believer.”

An excellent choice, giving the people what they want.

20 years on, and Shrek is still a meme

20 years after the first US release, and Shrek is a reminder of Noughties nostalgia. As a result, the internet has allowed Shrek to remain at the forefront of culture, with the beloved character frequently used as a meme.

Here are a few examples of how Shrek infiltrated the internet despite being made before the social media era.

Shrek has also found a home on Gen Z social media platform, TikTok with videos about the character amassing millions of views and likes.

Shrek is a popular topic on TikTokTikTok/ladytomhanks and brunospt

We salute you, Shrek.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)