Chris Farley Shrek

Before he passed away, Saturday Night Live veteran and Tommy Boy star Chris Farley was slated to be the voice of the ogre Shrek in the DreamWorks Animation film of the same name. In fact, he had completed about 95% of the dialogue for the movie and was still working on it one week before he died in December of 1997.

As we all know, Shrek went on to be voiced by Mike Myers and the film became a huge hit that spawned several big screen sequels. But many are still curious as to what Shrek would have been like with Farley on board, and thanks to a story reel that has surfaced online, you can find out. Hear what a Chris Farley Shrek would have sounded like below!

Here’s the story reel from 1997 with Chris Farley voicing Shrek (via Bedhead Bernie):

And if you want to see how this compares to the final film, check out this video from a Development Producer at DreamWorks:

In addition to the differences above, back when Farley was Shrek, the character looked far different:

Shrek - Early Design

That image is just one of the early designs, and you can see that it doesn’t even exactly match with the version that we see in the story reel above, so who knows what the final version would have looked like. In fact, the final version of Shrek in the movie looks much more like Chris Farley than the above versions, and you can actually catch some of his facial expressions in the character, so I wonder if DreamWorks Animation was already leaning towards changing the design at this point.

According to the Lost Media Wiki on this abandoned version of Shrek, the story would have seen Farley as a teenage ogre who wasn’t too keen on taking over the family business of scaring people, instead desiring to be a knight with a bunch of friends by his side. It sounds like the story changes allowed for a better arc, and the final version of the film also gave a better reason for Shrek being a little rough around the edges, allowing him to have more development by the end of the movie.

Another interesting note from the story reel, that song that begins to play just at the end of the bonfire scene is the Tom Waits song “Innocent When You Dream.” It was likely used as temporary score since it didn’t make it into the final cut of the film. However, DreamWorks Animation did end up using an alternate version of the Tom Waits song “Little Drop of Poison” on the soundtrack for Shrek 2. That tune actually originally appeared, in different form, on the soundtrack for The End of Violence. The more you know, right?

It’s now a little strange to think of Shrek without a Scottish accent, which actually may have made the grumpy ogre a little more endearing, even when he was a bit of a jerk to Donkey (Eddie Murphy). But hearing Chris Farley as Shrek is still very cool, and a little bittersweet. The performance sounds very genuine and earnest coming out of his mouth, something Farley always brought to all of his roles. We’re sure to learn even more about Farley in the documentary I Am Chris Farley that’s in limited theaters now and on VOD next week.

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