The ‘Shrek’-naissance is upon us.
DreamWorks is reportedly working to expand the beloved “Shrek” franchise more than a decade after the titular ogre voiced by Mike Myers lumbered onto movie screens in 2001.
In an interview with Variety published Tuesday, Illumination founder and Chief Executive Chris Meledandri said he wants to return to the world of “Shrek” with some familiar names.
“It’s not that dissimilar to the process that we went through with ‘Mario,’ where you look at what the core elements are that audiences have loved, and you do your very best to honor those core elements,” the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” producer said. “And then you’re hard at work to build story elements and new characters that take you to brand new places. The original cast is a huge part of that.”
Set in the fictional land of Duloc, “Shrek” starred Myers as a grumpy green ogre tasked with saving damsel not-so-in-distress Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), along with a hyperactive sidekick named Donkey (Eddie Murphy). The computer-generated film’s snark, sneaky adult humor and play on fairy-tale tropes made it an animated classic and box-office smash that brought in more than $484 million worldwide.
DreamWorks followed the first film with several sequels, the “Puss in Boots” spinoff franchise, several TV specials and a television series.
Meledandri, who serves as a creative partner to DreamWorks Animation, said he and the studio “anticipate the cast coming back,” though no deals have been made just yet.
“Talks are starting now, and every indication that we’ve gotten is there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of the actors to return,” he added.
“You People” star Murphy told Etalk in January that he’s “absolutely” open to reprising his role as Shrek’s fast-talking, four-legged companion and that the studio should consider a Donkey-centric spinoff because “Donkey is funnier than Puss in Boots.”
Meledandri seems to be taking the comedian’s comments to heart.
“It’s evidence of his strong enthusiasm for a role that he so brilliantly inhabited and really created alongside the artists at DreamWorks,” he told Variety. “I found that comment to be very exciting.”
Decades after its premiere, “Shrek” has stood the test of time, living on in pop culture, internet memes and a Broadway musical adaptation.
“I can’t account for how wonderfully impactful to the culture it’s been, but it’s been great to be a part of it,” Myers told The Times in 2010. “And I didn’t know a person was allowed to care that much about a character in the world of animation, and that was a really awesome revelation.”