DreamWorks Animation has released a batch of “fun facts” regarding its upcoming Shrek the Third. Featuring a slew of new trivia about the movie’s making, the list presents some very surprising numbers, as well as interesting details on the film’s crew and design. The third entry in the Shrek franchise will hit theaters on May 18th.
But Who’s Counting…? (Well, We Are!)
•The approximate size of the Shrek the Third crew was 350.
•There are a total of 37 sequences and 1,320 shots (to date) on Shrek the Third.
•While some artists got busy animating babies for the film, others got busy, well, having the real thing. A total of 28 babies were born to artists during the making of Shrek the Third.
•It takes approximately 20,000 man weeks, or a million man hours, to animate an entire movie – and this film is no exception!
•Over 130,000 frames were created to bring Shrek the Third to the big screen.
•Shrek is seven feet tall. (Fiona would prefer that we don’t reveal her height – but she’s up there for sure.)
•Shrek and Fiona have been married for eight months by the time Shrek the Third starts.
•Approximately 4,500 different costumes were originally designed for the crowd scenes in Shrek the Third, but only 2,500 made the final cut (get it, cloth, cut… oh never mind).
•For those who will be keeping track, 23 key fairytale/fantasy creatures appear in Shrek the Third (with additional dwarves, evil trees, witches, evil knights and pirates all making appearances throughout the film)! These include:
Puss In Boots
The Three Little Pigs
The Big Bad Wolf
The Gingerbread Man
Three Blind Mice
Little Red Riding Hood
•The scene when Dragon and the Dronkeys fly over the theater where Prince Charming is performing features the largest crowd shot in Shrek the Third, with 1,373 characters with 2,646 ray-traced eyes and 31,579 individual parts to be rendered.
•There are 4,378 approved men and women in the library of generic characters that animators could chose from to create crowds.
•Number of stone bricks used to build the stone docks in the dock sequence: 1,602.
•Number of wall bricks used to build the sewer walls in the sewer sequence when the Princesses escape the castle: 3,196.
•Number of lady cats bidding farewell to Puss on the docks: nine (lucky cat).
•In Shrek the Third, there are (on average) a total of 62,173 branches per tree and 191,545 leaves per tree.
Look Who’s Talking
•Director Chris Miller – who was the voice of the Magic Mirror and Geppetto in the first Shrek, as well as that of penguin Kowalski in Madagascar – is the voice of the Puppet Master (one of the villains hanging out at the Poison Apple Bar) in Shrek the Third.
•Producer Aron Warner voiced the Wolf in Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third. (Please note the restraint of NOT inserting a joke about producers here.)
•Shrek 2 director Conrad Vernon returns in this third adventure… as the voice of the Gingerbread Man. He also voices the Headless Horseman.
•Production designer Guillaume Aretos, who was a sitcom star in France before starting his career in animation, is the voice of Raul, the beauty salon owner providing the makeover eye for the green guy (and his wife) prior to one of their official engagements. He was also the voice of one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men in Shrek and that of the Fairy Godmother’s receptionist in Shrek 2.
•Additional voice-overs by the Shrek the Third crew have been performed by:
Chris Knights (2nd Editor) – Bohort, Evil Tree
Latifa Ouaou (Production Manager) – Cheerleader, Guinevere
Dave Smith (Story Artist) – Evil Dwarf #1
Walt Dohrn (Story Artist) – Evil Knight #1, Nanny Dwarf, Principal Pinchley, Male Student #2
Kelly Cooney (Story Production Supervisor) – Cheerleader, Female Student #2
Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2 Director) – Master of Ceremonies
•In Shrek 2, a picture of Sir Justin was pinned above the bed of Princess Fiona. This time, Sir Justin himself, Justin Timberlake, voices Artie in Shrek the Third.
•Cameron Diaz ran screaming out of the room (in a very good way) the very first time she saw Fiona animated with her voice, she was so shocked at hearing her voice coming from Fiona’s mouth – guess she never really thought of herself as the green princess type.
•Cody Cameron, who voices Pinocchio and the Three Little Pigs, has served as a story artist on all three Shrek films.
•Director Chris Miller was a fan of Monty Python’s John Cleese and Eric Idle growing up. Now, he gets to work with them – Cleese voices King Harold and Idle voices Merlin.
•Doris is a bit more of a princess in Shrek the Third and is joined by the other ugly stepsister, Mabel, voiced by Regis Philbin… Mabel now takes over the Poison Apple Bar!
Clothes Make the Ogre (And the Princess, and the Pig, and the…)
•The amount of clothing created for Shrek the Third is approximately 10 times the amount created for the original movie.
•The physics and the dynamics of the clothes in Shrek the Third, already typically hard to re-create in CGI, were even more challenging, since garments in the Middle Ages were “fabric heavy” and featured voluminous folds.
•To create each character’s key costume worn in the film, costume designer Israel Segal executed an initial series of drawings, and then met with the Shrek the Third director and creative team to finalize the look. Segal then created a more detailed drawing (usually in color) and, once approved, fabric swatches were assigned to the designs to give surfacing artists a “look” to replicate.
•The cheerleaders from Worcestershire Academy originally wore shorter dresses with chastity belts, but their final uniform became a much longer skirt… not only was it more period appropriate, it was also much less distracting. They were also originally supposed to cheer with spiked iron balls instead of pom-poms – but they were just too heavy for the poor girls, and ended up looking more awkward than funny.
•Q: What does the well-dressed sorcerer (that would be Merlin) wear under his tunic? A: Well, long black biking shorts, naturally. Merlin’s tunic – with its folds in constant movement – is entirely simulated. Since the tunic motion is all simulated, the animators had to stare at a naked Merlin while animating. A few of them were a bit squeamish about this (rightfully so), so Merlin got some of his self-respect and decency back when he was provided with a little black spandex.
•What would Worcestershire Academy be without its own cliques? (Ah, high school…) The “generic” high schoolers in attendance were outfitted according to their corresponding group, including Goths, Jocks, and all the rest.
Let Us Draw You a Picture…
•Early in production, the filmmakers considered making Cinderella a complete slob (due to her perpetually having to clean up during adolescence) and Sleeping Beauty completely caffeinated and constantly awake (you can guess why). Eventually, they decided to go in different directions, with a Cinderella obsessed with cleaning and a Sleeping Beauty with a slight case of narcolepsy.
•One of the storylines at one point middle school students Artie, Lancelot and Guinevere; it was eventually moved to high school and focused on an older Artie.
•Because computer animation techniques are continually being refined, this time around animators were able to add more details in the characters’ expressions (such as subtle wrinkles in the nose) not possible when the first two Shreks were made.
•Shrek the Third co-director Raman Hui served as a supervising animator on Antz, as well as on Shrek, Shrek 4-D and Shrek 2.
•When the villains take over Far Far Away, some of the storefronts and signs are re-named to reflect the change: Go Go Away, Grimâ€™s House of Ale, The Skeleton Key, Plowed Pub, Evil Way and Mean Street.
•Animators traveled to local high schools to study the mannerisms of teenagers as reference for the students at Worcestershire Academy (in general) and Artie (in particular).
•Mirror, mirror… A mirrored room at PDI/DreamWorks allows the animators to “act out” their scenes, while studying their movements and facial expressions for reference. Three walls had mirror which enabled them to study different angles of the same expression.
•A Shrek the Third animation library was built, replete with a collection of walks, runs, facial poses, hand poses, etc., for the leading characters. Animators were able to avoid reinventing the wheel every time these basics were called for by hitting the library.
•A few crew members’ “other” babies – of the feline variety – served as reference for some of the Shrek cats. Proud owners Denise Cascino, Holly Edwards and Mark Decker volunteered their pets for the task.
•When Donkey is stuffed inside a Worcestershire Academy locker, the savvy viewer will notice post-its with such things as a list of school supplies (lunch, scrolls, cape, ink) and a love note to “Harrison” (complete with Xs and Os).
•In the scene where Donkey pulls the covers off Shrek’s legs, the ogreâ€™s leg hair had to be trimmed back from the original. They were just too gross and hairy, even for an ogre.
•The music played by the Worcestershire Academy marching band was actually performed by Los Angeles’ John Burroughs High School marching band. The group recorded three tunes – Celebration by Kool and the Gang, Wayward Son by Kansas, and Smash Mouth’s All Star, from the first Shrek. All Star ended up being picked for Shrek the Third.
•Shrek the Third production designer Guillaume Aretos also served as production designer on Shrek 2 and as art director on Shrek.
•Homecoming: Most of the artists on Shrek the Third also worked on the first two films and felt like a family (with Shrek as one of the members) after almost 10 years of creating together. Their group comfort level was such that they could freely exchange ideas and discuss anything.
•There are 82 different environments in Shrek the Third. Only 15 of those were re-used from earlier films which means that 67 are brand new environments including the docks outside of Far Far Away, Merlin’s tumulus, the Worcestershire Academy…
•Rapunzel’s golden hair extensions vary in length throughout the movie, ranging anywhere from 4’6″ to 85′ when Gingy uses it as a stunt braid!
•As an overall reference for the film, the production design team studied the Medieval theater and Commedia dell’arte (a classic form of Italian street theater). And while Italy was a reference for Shrek 2, the colder climates of Northern Europe influenced the creation of Worcestershire Academy, where Artie attends school.
•Shrek the Third takes place in the fall, which reflects the transitional phase in the life of the characters at the heart of the film. (Likewise, the first two films took place in the spring, as the characters’ journeys, in many ways, were just beginning.)
•The art department inserted many jokes at Worcestershire Academy… from the tags on various stones, to notices on the pillar in the center of the school.
•Snow White made three appearances in the first Shrek: she (along with Cinderella) appeared in Magic Mirror as a hopeful marriage candidate for Lord Farquaad; she (and her glass coffin) was pushed off the table in Shrek’s house; and finally Snow White (along with Cinderella again) fought for the bouquet at Shrek and Fionaâ€™s wedding.
Hocus-Pocus… with Effects
•For the shot where the princesses light a bra on fire, the effects team actually brought a few bras to the studio and ignited them outside their building (just for reference, understand).
•The effects department created varying concepts for the hologram in the scene where Merlin is introduced. The effect was so elaborate and stunning that the directors felt it was too modern and scientific, so they re-worked the sequence to be more Medieval and ethereal in tone.
•As with the flowing garments, the long and flowing hair of the princesses was one of the biggest challenges facing the team on Shrek the Third.