Before Shrek gained widespread popularity upon the release of the 2001 film, the lovable green ogre was considered something of a loser, and working as an animator on the project was a punishment. According to the book The Men Who Would be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies and a Company Called DreamWorks, animators who failed on other features were made to work on Shrek, which most assumed was doomed before it was made. In the book, author Nicole Laporte writes that one animator told her that "it was known as the Gulag. If you failed on Prince of Egypt, you were sent to the dungeons to work on Shrek.” Yet despite all of the troubles, like the loss of voice actors and early reports of rotten animation, the movie was a smash hit. As of 2020, there have been three sequels. So for those Shrek animators, the fairy tale had a happy ending.
- Before his untimely death in 1997, Chris Farley had completed most of the dialogue as the title character in Shrek.
- Mike Myers, who ultimately replaced Farley in the role of Shrek, recorded his dialogue in his natural Canadian accent, but then insisted on re-recording it with a Scottish accent.
- Nicolas Cage turned down the title role Shrek because he worried about how voicing an ogre would make children view him.