bill murray shrek

Shrek was originally conceived as a 2D animated film starring Bill Murray

Happy 20th anniversary, Shrek!

Today, the beloved animated film Shrek celebrates the 20th anniversary of its worldwide premiere. The film about the grumpy green ogre was the first to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 74th Oscars. It grossed over $484-million worldwide and spawned three successful sequels.

Based on the children’s book of the same name by William Steig, Shrek spent a decade in development before being made into the movie we all know and love. The film was produced and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures, a company founded by Hollywood heavy hitters Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Spielberg bought the rights to Shrek in 1991 for another one of his companies, Amblin. His initial vision for the film was extremely different from its final product. Spielberg had originally intended for Shrek to be a traditionally animated film, with Bill Murray as the swamp creature and Steve Martin as Donkey.

At other points in time, Nicolas Cage was in talks to play Shrek but eventually turned down the role “because of vanity.” Chris Farley was in fact cast as a teenage version of the ogre in what would have been a very different film. He recorded the majority of his lines but ultimately passed away before the film’s completion.

Rare audio footage of Chris Farley as Shrek

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