Shrek is the titular character of the huge Dreamworks franchise. Originally starring in the self-titled film (Shrek) from 2001, the green ogre has become one of the world’s most loved characters.
The film was spawned three successful sequels (Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After) and two specials (Shrek the Halls, and Scared Shrekless). There have even been video games and one of the later heroes gained his own movie – Puss in Boots. The Shrek franchise is the highest-grossing animated series to date.
The first film was based on the 1990 William Steig picture book of the same name, starring a green ogre who left his home to see the world. Interestingly, the name Shrek came from German and Yiddish roots meaning ‘fear’ and ‘terror’.
Voiced by Canadian actor and comedian Mike Myers (infamous for Austin Powers and the Wayne’s World series’), Shrek has a broad Scottish accent. He lives in an insect infested mud swamp, where he enjoys painting keep out signs and making candles from his own earwax. While being extremely strong, Shrek only fights when necessary and prefers to intimidate human villagers by telling them that he’d squeeze the jelly from their eyes (which Shrek believes to be ‘quite good on toast’).
He wants to live on his own but as the stories progress, he finds himself living with others. Shrek married the love of his life, Princess Fiona (a princess who turned into an ogre) and they had three children, Farkle, Fergus and Felicia. Originally thinking himself to be a rubbish dad, his children love him dearly. This could perhaps stem from a strained relationship with his own father, who tried to eat him on numerous occasions – Shrek would be bathed in barbeque sauce and put to bed with an apple in his mouth.
Shrek has made multiple enemies on his travels, from Lord Farquaad (in Duloc) to Prince Charming and his mother Fairy Godmother, and con artist Rumpelstiltskin (in Far Far Away).
He’s never far from his new found friends though; talkative Donkey and his wife Dragon, ex-assassin Puss in Boots, the Three Blind Mice, the Three Little Pigs, the Gingerbread Man, Big Bad Wolf and Pinocchio.
Originally opening in Broadway in 2008, and later moving onto London’s West End, Shrek the Musical opened to rave reviews. Millions of fans of the original movie were not disappointed, even when more of Shrek’s background was revealed.
In the musical, it was revealed that Shrek left his home to see the world, when he was just seven years old, a popular trait in ogre families. People on the street hated him instantly, except a very young Princess Fiona who waved to him (she was instantly pulled away by her overbearing parents, King Harold and Queen Lillian). Eventually he came across his swamp home, where the story truly begins.