In the early 2000s, the silver screen was forever changed by an unconventional fairy tale that blended humor, emotion, and pop culture references like no other. At the heart of this sensation was a green ogre named Shrek, who, with his ragtag group of fairy tale misfits, brought laughter and heartwarming messages to audiences of all ages. This was no mere animated film; it was a cultural phenomenon, leaving an indelible mark on cinema and pop culture. The brilliance of Shrek wasn’t just in its animation or storyline, but significantly in its stellar voice cast that brought the denizens of Far Far Away to life.
The likes of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and others transformed these characters into household names. Myers’ thick Scottish accent as Shrek became instantly recognizable, while Murphy’s infectious energy as the lovable Donkey provided endless entertainment. And who could forget Diaz’s portrayal of Princess Fiona, a damsel who most certainly was not always in distress? These actors, with their unique takes on their characters, became as iconic as the characters themselves.
It’s been years since the last movie in the series was released, and one can’t help but wonder what the incredible talents behind these beloved characters have been up to. Whether they’ve delved deeper into the world of animation, returned to live-action roles, or explored entirely new avenues in entertainment, the world is eager to know. So, fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, as we embark on a journey to catch up with the voices that made Far Far Away feel so incredibly close to home.
Mike Myers: From Comedy King to Ogre Overlord
Before lending his iconic voice to the green, swamp-loving ogre Shrek, Mike Myers had already made waves in the entertainment world. Beginning his career in his home country of Canada, it wasn’t long before his comedic genius was recognized, propelling him to the big leagues in the United States. With six memorable seasons on the revered sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, Myers showcased a wide array of characters and impersonations, each one more entertaining than the last.
His cinematic breakout came with his hilarious portrayal of Wayne Campbell in the cult classic Wayne’s World, which he co-wrote. But it was his role as the groovy, cheeky spy Austin Powers in the self-titled trilogy that truly cemented Myers’ reputation as a comedic juggernaut. His catchphrases became part of the global lexicon, and his unique style of humor secured his place in the comedic hall of fame.
After bringing Shrek to life, a character that resonated with both children and adults alike, Myers explored a variety of roles. This included starring in the comedic yet controversial film, The Love Guru. He also surprised audiences with a brief yet impactful appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning drama Inglourious Basterds. In recent times, he has continued to showcase his versatility, with roles in the thriller Terminal and even a brief appearance in the acclaimed biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody.
In a heartfelt 2022 conversation with GQ, Myers took a moment to reflect on his career, expressing a particular fondness for the character of Shrek. “I loved playing Shrek,” he said with a smile, “If I had to do one Shrek a year I’d be thrilled.”
While his on-screen exploits have made him a legend, off the screen, Mike Myers is known to prioritize family above all else. He’s a dedicated husband to Kelly Tisdale and a doting father to their three children. Balancing his family life with his successful career, Myers remains an inspiration for many in the entertainment industry.
Eddie Murphy: From SNL to Donkey’s Shenanigans
Eddie Murphy, the iconic voice behind the ever-lovable Donkey in the Shrek series, was no newcomer to the world of comedy and cinema when he landed that role. Decades before introducing us to the chatty and charming character, Murphy was already a dominant force in Hollywood. He showcased his unparalleled comedic genius in timeless classics such as Beverly Hills Cop and Trading Places. The versatility of his talent was evident when he transformed himself for roles in The Nutty Professor and the family-friendly Dr. Dolittle.
Yet, it wasn’t just comedy that Murphy mastered; he demonstrated his dramatic prowess in critically acclaimed movies like Dreamgirls, where he earned an Oscar nomination, and in Mr. Church. More recently, audiences were treated to his comedic brilliance once more in Dolemite Is My Name, a tribute to the legendary Rudy Ray Moore. Murphy then transported us back to the fictional land of Zamunda with the long-awaited sequel, Coming 2 America, reuniting fans with beloved characters.
Beyond the bright lights and cameras, Murphy, a devoted father of 10, is building a future with his fiancée, the beautiful Paige Butcher, showcasing that his real-life story is as engaging as the tales he brings to life on screen.
Cameron Diaz: From Model to Shrek’s Royal
Cameron Diaz, the iconic Hollywood star and the voice behind the beloved character Princess Fiona in the Shrek series, had already established herself as a leading lady in the industry long before her animated endeavors. With her breakthrough role in The Mask, she dazzled audiences with her charm and charisma.
Her remarkable performances in romantic comedies such as My Best Friend’s Wedding and the hilariously memorable There’s Something About Mary cemented her status as a versatile actress. These roles not only showcased her impeccable comedic timing but also her ability to portray depth and vulnerability. After delving into the world of fairy tales with Shrek, Diaz’s star continued to rise. She warmed hearts in the festive favorite, The Holiday, and touched upon the nuances of motherhood in What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
But Diaz’s talents stretched beyond the confines of the cinema. Venturing into the literary world, she authored two best-selling books that aimed to educate and inspire readers about health and well-being. These books became a testament to her passion for promoting a balanced lifestyle, both mentally and physically.
On the personal front, Cameron’s life has been equally eventful and fulfilling. In a romantic union, she tied the knot with the talented musician Benji Madden from the renowned band Good Charlotte. Their love story has been a subject of admiration for many. Adding to their joy, the couple welcomed a beautiful daughter in 2019, further enriching their lives and giving Diaz another cherished role to play — that of a doting mother.
Antonio Banderas: The Swashbuckling Feline
Spanish sensation Antonio Banderas was no stranger to Hollywood when he began voicing Puss in Boots. From classics like Philadelphia to the iconic The Mask of Zorro, Banderas’ Hollywood journey was already illustrious. Post-Shrek, he bagged roles in movies such as Life Itself and the acclaimed Pain and Glory. His voice role of the charming Puss earned him a standalone film, and its sequel, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, even received an Academy Award nomination in 2022. Banderas, a father to a daughter with his ex-wife Melanie Griffith, is currently in a relationship with Nicole Kimpel.
John Lithgow to Julie Andrews: From Farquaad to Far Far Away’s Queen
John Lithgow, best known to many for his unforgettable portrayal of the diminutive yet arrogant Lord Farquaad in the iconic film Shrek, boasts an impressive career that spans decades and various genres. With an expansive list of roles under his belt, Lithgow has graced both the big and small screen with his captivating performances and has cemented his place as one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors. His achievements are highlighted by a plethora of awards that include not only Tony’s for his mesmerizing stage presence but also Emmy’s for his television work.
Despite the rather humorous and untimely demise of his character Farquaad, gobbled up by a dragon, Lithgow’s star didn’t dim. Instead, he continued to shine, proving time and again his mettle in both the world of cinema and theatre. From dramatic roles that tug at the heartstrings to comedic turns that leave audiences in stitches, Lithgow’s range is truly remarkable, making him a treasure in the entertainment industry.
On the other hand, the inimitable voice behind Queen Lillian is none other than the iconic Julie Andrews, a beacon of Hollywood royalty and legendary prowess. With a career spanning several decades, Andrews has won the hearts of multiple generations with her timeless roles. Her Oscar-winning performance as the magical nanny in Mary Poppins and her unforgettable role as Maria in The Sound of Music not only solidified her standing in cinematic history but also placed her among the luminous elites of the entertainment world.
Continuing her legacy of versatility, after lending her voice to the world of Shrek, Andrews didn’t stop. She further expanded her portfolio by voicing characters in popular animations such as the box office hit Despicable Me. Moreover, her enchanting voice narrated the widely-acclaimed and binge-worthy Netflix series, Bridgerton, captivating a whole new generation of fans. The depth and range of her work is a testament to her enduring talent and undeniable charm.
The Enigmatic Ensemble: Cleese, Saunders, & Everett
John Cleese, the legendary British comedian and actor, brought his signature wit and humor to the role of Fiona’s father, King Harold, in the beloved animated franchise. His performance not only added a regal and endearing touch to the series but also introduced his comedic genius to a whole new generation of fans. Beyond the confines of the fairy-tale world of Shrek, Cleese remained a dynamic force in the comedy realm.
He continued to delight audiences worldwide with his solo comedy tours, showcasing his unparalleled ability to merge satire, slapstick, and cerebral humor. Furthermore, Cleese ventured into the world of theatre, where he adapted and brought to stage numerous plays, reflecting his diverse and ever-evolving talent. His contribution to comedy, both on-screen and off, remains unparalleled and serves as a testament to his lasting impact on the world of entertainment.
Jennifer Saunders, an indomitable force in the entertainment world, seamlessly transitioned from the small screen to the grandeur of film. She brilliantly captured the essence of the devious Fairy Godmother in the iconic animated film Shrek 2, leaving an indelible mark on audiences of all ages. Her versatility and distinct voice have made her a sought-after talent in Hollywood. After her standout performance in Shrek, Saunders further showcased her vocal prowess in critically acclaimed movies like Coraline, where she played Miss Spink, and in the star-studded musical animation, Sing.
But Saunders hasn’t just limited herself to the world of animation. Branching out even further, she has taken to the stage, immersing herself in theatrical productions over the recent years, further cementing her status as a multifaceted and immensely talented artist. Her journey through various facets of entertainment has solidified her legacy as one of the industry’s most enduring and dynamic figures.
Lastly, the incomparable Rupert Everett has graced our screens and stages with his undeniable charm and wit. Recognized by many for his standout roles alongside industry icons like Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding and Madonna in The Next Best Thing, Everett showcased his vocal talents by lending his voice to the suave and cunning Prince Charming in the globally acclaimed Shrek series.
But Rupert’s artistic journey doesn’t stop at the animated world of Far Far Away. He’s also delved deep into the world of theatre, starring in critically acclaimed productions both in the West End and Broadway. Not one to be pigeonholed, Everett also ventured into the realm of documentaries, providing insightful and often candid perspectives on subjects close to his heart. Moreover, he showcased his talents behind the camera as well, producing a deeply poignant biographical drama on the literary genius Oscar Wilde.
This film not only highlighted Everett’s passion for storytelling but also his commitment to bringing authentic and oft-overlooked narratives to the forefront. Rupert Everett remains a versatile and enduring figure in the world of entertainment, continually surprising and delighting audiences worldwide.
This trip down memory lane reminds us of the magical world of Shrek and the equally magical talents that brought it to life. While Far Far Away might be fictional, the impact these stars have made in Hollywood is undeniably real.