20 years ago today — May 18, 2001 — we were all introduced to a lovable green ogre and a wisecracking donkey, as the original DreamWorks animated film Shrek — adapted from a 1990 children’s book by William Steig — hit U.S. theaters. Here are Five Fascinating Facts about the hit movie that became a franchise!
5. Chris Farley was the original voice of Shrek, and but sadly, he died before completing his dialogue. Fellow SNL alum Mike Myers was hired to replace him. He recorded all the dialogue, but was then asked to re-record it all in a Scottish accent.
4. Smash Mouth’s 1999 song “All Star” was a hit before Shrek, but became a pop culture phenomenon after it was used in the film’s opening sequence. The band’s version of The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,” Shrek’s closing number, was also a hit. That song was chosen for its line, “I thought love was only true in fairy tales.”
3. Shrek was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay; it won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Eddie Murphy, who played Donkey, became the first actor ever nominated for a BAFTA — the British version of the Oscars — for a voice-over role.
2. In 2020, Shrek was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. It was the first non-Disney animated film to be so honored.
1. Shrek was so successful that it inspired three sequels, two TV specials, a Broadway musical, and series of short films. Plus, the Shrek spin-off, Puss in Boots, starring Antonio Banderas‘ swashbuckling feline, inspired an animated Netflix series. A sequel film, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, is due out in 2022.
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