A/V Room









Shrek 2 - Jeffrey Katzenberg Q&A (Executive producer)

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. How many records has Shrek 2 now set, because it seems that everywhere you go you tumble another one.
I guess it's probably tumbled the record for making the most amount of people happy. I think the box office things are certainly wonderful, but I think for all of us, whatever the numbers are, the real reward is to stand at the back of movie theatres and hear the laughter.
That's the thing that, literally, cannot happen enough times for any of us, and that's the reward for all of us.

Q. How many times do you reckon you have seen it?

Q. What's going to happen in the Shrek franchise?
Well, one of our secrets that we were all way too scared to ever admit to anyone, is that there actually is a larger story to Shrek, which we very much talked about and fantasised about when we made the first movie.
But the first film was such a risk, and one that we were very anxious about, because it was such a departure from anything anyone had ever done before in animation.
So we had fantasised about the larger story, of which you have now seen two of four chapters.
If you actually look at it, you sort of see that Shrek 1 left open a very large question. Who was Fiona and why was she locked away in this castle guarded by a fire-breathing dragon? And who had put this spell on her? And what are the consequences of this spell having been broken by an ogre, as opposed to her promised Prince Charming?
Two literally starts where one ended, and proceeds to answer a lot of questions about one.
The other two chapters - three and four - we are working on now, and each of them go to complete what is ultimately the full story, when the full circle will be completed. We will ultimately come back to where we started, with Shrek, which is in the swamp. How did he get there? I can't tell you any more than that.
But I have to say that for all of us, as storytellers, to be able to tell the story that we had in our mind originally, is one of the real great rewards that have come back to us by the success of these first two films.
I think probably the greatest cinema triumph of, certainly my years in the movie business, is what Peter Jackson did with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They had the guts and the courage to step back and do it all at once, and it's an amazing thing. It is stand-alone as a singular accomplishment in film-making and story-telling.
But we're having do it in an equally challenging way. It will take us 14 years to tell our four chapters!

Q. Did you ever receive phone calls from people who wanted to be in the movie?
It actually didn't work that way. I guess we were under the radar when we start these things, they're so many years in advance. So each of the people here were our dreams. We were actually blessed, because it's that rare thing, to actually get who you hope for.
It doesn't matter who you are - whether a producer, or director - it's so rare that their schedule and your ambition, and what they want to do in their career, actually comes together. It sort of happens once in a lifetime.

Q. When you are sending up a recognisable piece of comedy business, based on another film, is permission needed? And are people willingly taking part?
Some of them are public domain things, or things that are absolutely people's intellectual properties. So, if that's the case, we go to them, whether it's Starbucks, or Versace. Those are things that we did approach and get permission to do.
Mission Impossible became absolutely the property of Tom Cruise; that's his franchise, he's worked very, very hard to make that an important franchise, and he's not let that piece of music out for anybody, under any circumstances, in the last ten years.
But we approached him, we showed him the movie, and he loved it, and, yes, Justin Timberlake...
The amazing thing about that, it just shows you how crazy things are in life. One of the directors had the idea of going around Fiona's world as a princess, and having Sir Justin. So they made this poster up, for by her dresser, and we got permission from him a couple of years ago. Literally, two and a half years ago, and we called him, showed him the poster and he signed off on it.
But then a year and a half later, boom, bada-bing, I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to call up Cameron and explain the irony of it. But she was a great sport.
But we did, as I say, anyone who had intellectual property there, we went to them.

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