Many Shrek fans know Chris Farley was originally tapped to voice the big green ogre. Mike Myers only took over the role after Farley passed away. Lots of viewers also know Myers’ first attempt at the character sounded very different. The Austin Powers star recorded his lines with a Canadian accent before redoing the entire part with Shrek’s signature Scottish one. Clearly it was a good choice, since it launched a billion-dollar franchise. But few people realize just how different Shrek once looked, too. And without that change the series might not be the behemoth we know. A new clip from the movie’s 1995 test film shows that instead of a friendly, kid-appropriate Shrek we could have met a much scarier ogre.
The Zoom Art Studio shared a brief YouTube clip from the original Shrek test. The footage (which we first learned about at Gizmodo) stars an off-brand Shrek we’d expect to meet in Times Square. Or, as Zoom Art Studio describes it, the kind of Shrek who’d appear in a “a dark edgy low budget film.”
This original take on Shrek has a longer face, a bigger nose, and even gnarlier teeth. He’s a lot more like the type of creature you’d expect to see in a story where the ogre is the terrible monster rather than the lovable hero.
Aside from his appearance, though, this clip feels very Shrek-like. It’s set to the classic “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown. (The above embed features improved audio.) The footage also has the kind of playful silliness and inverting of fantasy tropes that define the franchise. This is a slightly more unhinged Shrek, but kids might have come to love him anyway. But even then, this version of Shrek, Scottish accent or not, probably would not have become a box office giant. Good thing this version of the fantasy had a happy ending.