From his groundbreaking work on Saturday Night Live, Mike Myers took his unique characters to the big screen, with such successful franchises as Wayne’s World and Austin Powers.
But perhaps his most recognizable role is one where he’s never seen – Shrek the Ogre. In the fourth and final chapter of the franchise, Shrek Forever After, the ogre is now a domesticated family man with three children, who is a reluctant celebrity, begrudgingly autographing pitchforks. Longing for the old days when he would scare the villagers away, Shrek is tricked into signing a pack with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin, and finds himself in an alternate reality of Far Far Away, where Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) have never met.
Mike Myers spoke with us about the final movie in the franchise.
Looking back on all the years of the Shrek films, what’s been one of your favorite moments of the past 10 years?
I think, when Jeffrey (Katzenberg) said, ‘Would you like to be in an animated movie?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said it was called Shrek and I said, ‘That’s the worst title I’ve ever heard in my life.’ And I didn’t know what it was going to be.
The first time I saw it with an audience and the line, ‘But you are beautiful to me’ got a gasp, (I knew that) people were so into the whole romance and the whole heart of it that I was just blown away that an animated movie could move people. And that it was something that people would be invested in, emotionally. And I think that’s been the most satisfying thing to me.
In this movie Shrek and Fiona are starting all over again from scratch. Was that challenging for you as an actor to make that fresh, since we have seen them as a couple with kids?
Well, the writing’s so great and all the filmmakers are so committed to just being excellent, it’s kind of like a Lamaze birth going back into the (world of Shrek) every time.
In the film, Shrek is tired of being the town hero, the tourist attraction basically. Is there a parallel in your own life?
I do now live in a swamp. (he laughs) I like my privacy. But, I love being part of this (doing press for Shrek) When I’m not doing stuff I like to go away. I enjoy being a person a great deal.
Do you think being a Canadian helps you with the “being a person” stuff?
It’s hard to be super full of yourself in Canada. If there was a motto of Canada it would be, ‘Who do you think you are, ay?’ (he laughs) and I think it’s very good training to just be a person, growing up in Canada. People say a lot of things about Canada, that it’s boring and stuff, but if you look around the world I would praise boring. I think it’s a very civilized place to grow up.
Is this movie more a film for adults or kids?
I think Shrek is a little bit like Flintstones vitamins. You’re eating Barney and Dino and you don’t need to know it’s good for you. It’s has built-in vitamins in the message. But, the delivery system is very enjoyable.
I’ve called kids that are sick and I’m always stuck by how incredibly accepting they are that Shrek is calling them. It’s like, ‘Ah, Shrek, good. Anyways, here’s my idea’. I’m like, ‘Isn’t this a little bit extraordinary?’ That’s the part that always kills me. It’s like, ‘Can you put the Tooth Fairy on now?’ (In his Shrek voice) ‘Yeah. I’ll go get the Tooth Fairy’.
But I love the message of these movies. The lessons that Shrek has to learn and has learned are ones that we all can relate to. To be able to inhabit a character and convey that process is an amazing journey for me as an actor.