It may be hard to imagine now after 14 years and four movies, but Shrek — the animated ogre with the flute-shaped ears — almost turned out very differently.
A newly surfaced video clip shows storyboard sketches of Shrek voiced by actor-comedian Chris Farley, who was cast as the title character before he died at the age of 33 in late 1997 of a drug overdose.
The clip features Shrek and Donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy, talking beside a campfire about Shrek’s desire for a home and someone to share it with. As played by Farley, the character sounds less grumpy — and much less Scottish — than the version eventually voiced by Farley’s “Saturday Night Live” colleague Mike Myers.
The late actor’s brother told Yahoo last week that Farley had recorded almost all his lines for the movie before his death.
“The (original) concept was the Shrek character was a little bit more like Chris, like a humble, bumbling innocent guy,” said Kevin Farley, who is executive producer of a new documentary, “I Am Chris Farley,” about the life and career of his famous brother.
The audio, leaked on Reddit and elsewhere, also suggests that the heavyset Farley, who was much more a physical match for Shrek than the diminutive Myers, might have brought an innate poignancy to the character.
“People see me and they go, ‘Help! A big, stupid, stinky, smelly, ugly ogre! I’m so scared!’ And they judge me before they even know me,” he says in the clip.
Released in 2001, “Shrek” was a worldwide hit and spawned three sequels, two TV specials, a stage musical and countless toys.
Its screenwriter, Terry Rossio, had nothing but praise for Farley’s work on the movie.
“We worked with Chris … for over a year, up to the final weeks before his death,” he wrote in a blog post. “What struck me most seeing him work was his willingness to reveal himself, lay himself out bare, over and again, for the sake of his performance.”