Shake the Scene: Chris Farley as Shrek


Shrek (2001)

Shrek Mad MagazineThe Scene: A clip from the original voice recording of Chris Farley as the titular character, Chris Shrekenberg. 

Why This Scene Is Neat: Once upon a time, Chris Farley was hired to provide the voice of a lovable but temperamental ogre. Then, he took one too many drugs (Farley, not Shrek) and died. The End. At least it was for Farley’s version of Shrek. Even though rumor has it that he had completed 95-99% of his voice work, the studio was thinking franchise for the character, which would be hard to do given that the star was now feeding worms for years to come. Also, having a kids’ movie voiced by someone who just died from a drug overdose wasn’t an image Dreamworks wanted to convey (much like the recasting of Kurt Cobain’s voice as Mufasa in The Lion King). So as a result, Farley was replaced by the completely harmless Mike Myers, who thought a Scottish accent would be a dandy idea, and the movie was altered to suit the new, hairless Shrek.

For some reason, I’ve always been curious about what Farley would have sounded like, especially after hearing that his performance was some of the best voice acting ever put to film. Until now, it was nowhere to be found, locked away for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, but likely had something to do with Mike Myer’s being self-conscious. So Farley’s performance was like The Day the Clown Cried of animated children’s films. Fortunately, like The Day the Clown Cried, a small snippet of footage has been released. And it’s… ok, I suppose. Farley sounds fine, and it probably would have been a good movie with his voice, but it doesn’t really blow my donkey-skin socks off. He does have a good ogreish voice, especially when he’s yelling (which just kind of sounds a lot like Matt Foley), but he’s no Robin Williams as the Genie or anything.

It would be cool if we could see the entire film with Farley’s voice, but that’s unlikely to happen. So based on this alone, I’d say they made the right choice with Myers.      

12 thoughts on “Shake the Scene: Chris Farley as Shrek

  1. Interesting! And… Informative! I didn’t know Farley was originally Shrek’s voice. I really don’t love those Shrek movies. Is it just me? Anyway, from that I think they definitely made the right choice with Myers instead. I loved them both, though – I see them as being from “my” SNL era. Plus Farley grew up really close to me so I always liked that. Because no one famous is from Wisconsin. No one!!! Hmm. Maybe Willem Dafoe… I’ll shut up now. But I know you love my long, rambling comments. 🙂


  2. That was boring. It was literally just Chris Farley talking normal. Not that Myer’s Scottish accent was groundbreaking or anything but at least it was entertaining. They should have casted Dan Haggerty to voice Shrek.


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