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Old 08-07-2015
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Default Watch: Chris Farley As the Original Voice of Shrek

Watch: Chris Farley As the Original Voice of Shrek

Chris Farley is back in the zeitgeist these days, partly because of a new documentary called I AM CHRIS FARLEY, about the life of the late comedian and "Saturday Night Live" veteran, and partly thanks to a recent viral video inserting Farley into the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION trailer. Now here's more, a reminder that Farley was the original voice of Shrek, but he died suddenly in 1997 of a drug overdose before he finished recording his lines.

DreamWorks nearly scrapped production on SHREK after the tragedy, but after reportedly trying John Lithgow in the role of the now-iconic ogre, they got Farley's old SNL colleague Mike Myers to redo the part. At that time, Cameron Diaz also replaced Jeneane Garofalo, who'd been fired following Farley's death, as Princess Fiona. And Lithgow wound up playing the villain, Lord Farquaad. Eddie Murphy retained his part as Donkey, who you can hear opposite Farley in this recently uploaded test video for the animated feature:

Obviously Farley's version of the character was very different than what we ended up with. The Scotch-Canadian accent Myers brought to the role is hard to forget or imagine not being the true and only possible incarnation. Voiced by Farley, Shrek just sounds like Farley, and given how much Murphy is already putting into his character here, it sounds like Farley isn't trying hard enough. I hate to say anything ill of the guy and it's definitely sad the way things went, but I don't think he was a good fit for this.

Of course, Farley shouldn't be compared against Myers and the finished product. I'm reminded by a comment by the guy who posted the video online that the scripts for each version of the movie were very different. And first choice for the role Bill Murray would have given us a totally different ogre. Also let's not forget that this was very early in the making of the thing, so it's not fair to judge how the finished film would have been.

Shrek's voice isn't the only thing about the character that was changed along the way. Here are some early concept drawings of the character (below), some of which are more faithful to the illustrations in the book the movie is based upon.

SOURCE: Christopher Campbell
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