I can't get over these surprising Shrek design facts

A shot of Shrek with his arms out on a green background
(Image credit: Dreamworks)

When you think of classic animations, the Shrek franchise is one that instantly springs to mind. In fact, it's deemed so impactful that in 2020 the original Shrek movie was inducted into the US National Film Registry for being 'culturally significant' (yes, really). And it's probably fair to say the franchise is a masterclass in iconic character design.

Since its release in 2001, the series has continued to take the internet by storm with no small amount of memes and weird crossovers (Remember that bizarre Supreme x Shrek collab?). And much like any other animated movie, production was a long process – and there are plenty of intriguing facts that a devoted Shrek following continue to dig up over 20 years on. As conversation about our favourite green ogre pipes up once more on social media, we've compiled a few of our favourite Shrek secrets and facts below.

01. Shrek originally didn't have a Scottish accent

A promotional image of Michael Myers pictured next to Shrek

Don't you miss the weird early 2000 promotional images?  (Image credit: Dreamworks)

This interesting Twitter thread that details 'useless animation facts' reveals that Michael Myers originally recorded the script for Shrek using his own Canadian accent. However near the end of his recording time, he experimented with a Scottish accent. Both Myers and the production team liked this rendition so much they went back and re-recorded the entire film. Myers stated in an interview that "it just didn't connect, and, because fairytales are a European thing and ogres are more earthy, the Scottish accent just felt right".

02. Naughty animators got sent to the Shrek room

Promotional shots of both The Prince of Egypt and Shrek film posters

Whilst there's no denying just how beautiful The Prince of Egypt is, it's hard to compare it to Shrek when it comes to being so iconic (Image credit: Dreamworks)

Animators at Dreamworks were working on both Shrek and the critically-acclaimed Prince of Egypt at the same time. At the time of production, Shrek was viewed as the 'ugly stepchild' by the studio and was a low-budget project that risked not seeing the light of day. Because of this, employees revealed that if they made mistakes on The Prince of Egypt, they would be sent to temporarily work on Shrek instead and as this New York Post article explains, the process was lovingly dubbed as being 'Shreked'.

03. The designers got dirty (for research)

A shot from Shrek of Shrek in a mud shower

I'll admit I always thought the mud shower looked fun when I was younger (Image credit: Dreamworks)

This Reddit thread shows just how committed the creators of Shrek were to artistic accuracy. Although only pictured in the film for a few seconds, the designers went all out in ensuring Shrek's mud baths were as accurate as possible by taking actual mud showers. This was done to study fluid dynamic simulation and work out exactly how the mud would fall onto a person. If you think you've had a bad day at work, art director Doug Rogers apparently visited a magnolia plantation to also study the environment for research and got chased by an alligator during his excursion. Ouch. 

04. The movie was based on a children's book

Two pages of the original Shrek book showing illustrations of the ogre and a man

The Shrek movie would have been very different if our protagonist had laser eyes (Image credit: William Steig)

Did you know Shrek started out his life in literature? The book was originally written by William Steig all the way back in 1990 and details the familiar story of a disgusting green monster that ends up marrying a princess. The book has some departures from the film, such as the ogre being a lot more nasty and the donkey playing a much smaller role without any funny quips. Oh, and Shrek has laser eyes and can breathe fire. 

05. All Star wasn't meant to be in the final movie

A photo of the band members of Smash Mouth all close up to the camera

Speaking of early 2000 staples... The shades were not a good look.  (Image credit: Jay Blakesberg)

The iconic song All Star is a staple of the Shrek franchise and most people can't hear it without thinking of the green ogre. However, the popular song by Smash Mouth wasn't meant to stay in the film. All Star was put at the start of the movie as a place holder until they found a song that would be a better fit as it had been popular on the radio at that specific time, but as the animators saw the opening sequence paired with the song they fell in love with how the two matched and decided to keep it in there. 

For more awesome trivia about a famous animation, take a look at these mind-blowing Toy Story 4 facts.

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Abi Le Guilcher
Ecommerce Writer

Abi Le Guilcher is Creative Bloq’s Ecommerce Writer. With a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Design for Game and Film, Abi enjoys almost anything creative and will either be found crafting or gaming in her spare time. Her previous experience as a retail assistant at CeX means she has a wide range of knowledge in both technology and media and loves to keep up to date with the latest tech. Abi is an avid cosplayer and has most recently worked with PlayStation and Santa Monica Studio on a promotional campaign for the release of God of War Ragnarök.