The Voice Of Shrek's Gingerbread Man Went On To Direct Shrek 2 And More Animated Hits

If you're a millennial of a certain age, there's a good chance that you've said "Shrek is love, Shrek is life" at least once in your life. The 2001 DreamWorks animated film put the company on the map, and proved that animated features from companies other than Disney could be not only profitable, but popular.

In the two decades since "Shrek" hit theaters, its cultural relevance has never really died down. Just a few days ago, TikTokers were posting footage from "Shrek Rave 2," which was as chaotic and covered in green body paint as could be expected. Given the film's satirical approach to pop culture/fairy tales and the bevy of colorful side characters, "Shrek" truly had something for everyone. For this writer, that something was the Gingerbread Man.

Despite his minimal screen time, Ol' Gingy and his gumdrop buttons sugar stepped his way into my heart. His dramatic retelling of the saga of the woman married to The Muffin Man filled me with endless delight, and Conrad Vernon's voiceover work was easily some of the strongest in the entire film. Imagine my delight when I discovered he was also a story artist on the film and assisted the main actors during the process of recording their voice tracks. Vernon was such a vital part of the making of "Shrek," that he was the perfect choice to direct the inevitable sequel, "Shrek 2." In the years that followed, Conrad Vernon has helmed some of the most profitable non-Disney animated feature films, and has continued to lend his voice on other projects, making him one of the most important figures working in animation today.

Beyond Shrek

The success of "Shrek 2" is genuinely unbelievable. The film became the highest-grossing film worldwide in 2004, remains DreamWorks Animation's most successful release in history, and was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Vernon did not return to direct "Shrek the Third," instead focusing on an original project with Rob Letterman, the DreamWorks Animation comedy, "Monsters Vs. Aliens." The film didn't pull in the massive numbers of "Shrek 2," but did inspire a handful of specials and a Nickelodeon series inspired by the film. Vernon followed up by co-directing "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" alongside Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath. From there, he pivoted into an entirely different direction with animation, and joined Greg Tiernan to co-direct one of the highest-grossing R-rated films in history, "Sausage Party."

Leaving the world of family-friendly animation, "Sausage Party" is a vulgar parody of Disney and Pixar films with a screenplay from comedians Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg. Vernon's success with the "Shrek" films made him the perfect choice to direct a film like "Sausage Party," and his continued record-breaking financial success proves he knows what he's doing. Most recently, Vernon has continued co-directing with Tiernan on "The Addams Family" and "The Addams Family 2," and was at one point attached to direct a movie based on "The Jetsons."

Animated films take time so we're unsure what comes next for Vernon, but if there's one thing we can predict, it'll be funny, and make a metric butt-ton of cash.