If you’re a fan of ogre phone cases and/or bagged lunches, you’re probably aware that Chris Farley was the original voice of Shrek. But sadly, the Tommy Boy actor died before being able to finish recording his dialogue, so the part was re-cast and given to another Saturday Night Live legend, Mike Myers. A reel featuring Farley’s voice as Shrek was leaked back in 2015, but as documented by Meghan Boilard in “Uncovering the Hidden History of Shrek,” a treasure trove of footage from the Oscar-winning, meme-inspiring animated film has recently unearthed by lost media enthusiasts.
In the mid-2010s, “a YouTuber known by the handle unclesporkums happened upon an expired eBay listing for a Farley-era storyboard,” Boilard writes. It showed a toothy Shrek encountering a human mugger in an alley and singing and dancing to “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown. There was another eBay listing with “early animation tests recorded on an unmarked VHS,” Boilard continued, but “by the time this listing was unearthed by lost media enthusiasts, it had already been sold, likely to a private collector unwilling to leak the animation online. The promising lead culminated in a dead end.”
But the mystery was slowly being peeled away, layer by layer, like an onion.
Lost Media Wiki user DingleManBoy discovered 31 previously unseen “I Feel Good” frames on the Vimeo demo reel of an animator associated with Shrek’s pre-production. The dry spell was over, and the new crumbs of information rekindled widespread interest in the obscure proto-Shrek. Midway through August, in the dead of night, two Redditors (using the handles Hotter_Cooler and AccomplishedWorld823) made a breakthrough after five years of rooting around. After an exhaustive search through every individual name credited under the movie’s Los Angeles pre-production phase, another animation reel was found on Vimeo. And against all odds, there it was – seven uninterrupted seconds of the “I Feel Good” footage in all its original glory.
You can watch it here, or with “I Feel Good” below.
Lost 1996 Shrek Test Footage pic.twitter.com/oCv5qbZbsM
— Wildest Moments on Cartoon shows and Movies (@toonsgowild) August 24, 2022
In recent weeks, hundreds of sketches and videos have been “uncovered,” according to Boilard, including crude test animation of Shrek that’s paired with Farley’s voice. Shrek is naked in the clip — which you can watch here — but that’s the least remarkable thing about it. The internet is 75 percent naked Shreks. The other 25 percent? Naked minions.
You can read “Uncovering the Hidden History of Shrek” over on Off-Topic.