Cameron Diaz made her feature film debut at the age of 21 in Jim Carrey’s The Mask, and has gone on to star is such mega-hits as My Best Friend’s Wedding, There’s Something About Mary and Charlie’s Angels.
In 2001, she voiced the character of Fiona in a new DreamWorks’ animated movie called Shrek. Nine years, and three movies later, the final chapter of the franchise, Shrek Forever After, is coming to the screen. In it Shrek is tricked by the evil Rumpelstiltskin into signing a deal in which he is taken to an alternate universe where Rumpelstiltskin is the King of Far, Far Away and Shrek has never met Fiona. In order to save his friends and restore his world he must reclaim Fiona’s love.
I spoke with Cameron Diaz about her ‘alternate’ Fiona and the ending of the popular franchise.
This film goes back to the emotional roots of the first Shrek.
Yeah, since you get to see true love happen all over again, for the first time between Shrek and Fiona, because they get to find one another. That’s your favorite moment from the first movie that you get to experience all over again.
We get to take the journey with them of finding that love again. You open up on the two of them sort of in the routine of a life that they’ve taken for granted, or Shrek has for sure, and then we get to see him journey back through trying to regain and find his true love.
That, ultimately, is just a beautiful, lovely story and you get to fall in love with Shrek and Fiona all over again.
Was it a challenge for you to make their relationship fresh since we have seen them as a couple and with kids?
It’s well-structured and clear as to what the two of them are going through. The animators are great actors. They’re really the actors, the animators who put the looks in our eyes and the chemistry between us.
Fiona is very empowered in this film. She’s a leader and warrior in the alternate universe, and is kicking butt. Do you feel that being a wife and mom in her life with Shrek is a little less great for her?
You know, for me Fiona’s always been a warrior. I’ve always seen her as that. She’s been a warrior of love through all these films. It’s what she’s worked for, what she’s fought for; the love that she has for herself and the love that she has for Shrek and her family and her friends. So, she’s always been a warrior.
It’s just in a different tone for this film and her responsibilities are a little bit more obvious as far as the Resistance. But, she’s always been a warrior to me. And I think that is her nature and it has given her all the things in her life that she values.
Is there anything you would like to have changed doing the series?
Well, if I had known that Fiona’s parents both had British accents when I first did this, that it was Julie Andrews and John Cleese, I might have (used a British accent) because when I first started the movie, when I did my voice I didn’t know who was playing my parents. So, it was like ‘Wait a second! How come I sound like I’m from California?’
We see love and happiness in the film as being very important. Shrek and Fiona’s love is what matters. What do you love a lot?
I’m in love with life. I think it’s pretty awesome when you’re engaged in it. And I love my family and my friends and that’s the wealth of my life; my friends and family and the experience that I get to share with them. And it puts a smile on my face and in my heart.
Do you feel this is more a film for adults or kids?
It think it’s for adults and children. I think you’re never too old or young to learn these lessons. I think that’s been the case through all the Shreks and why they’ve been so successful. They’re not just speaking to one audience. Anyone who watches it can walk away understanding exactly what Shrek and Fiona are going through relevant to their own life.
Do people come up to you and do your character’s voice?
Nobody comes up and does Fiona’s voice for me but I’ve had parents come up to me, ‘You know who this is? This is Princess Fiona’ and kids are like in tears. I try to stop them before they tell them because, as a kid, you believe the characters you are watching and you fall in love with them. You want to believe they’re real. You don’t want to believe that there’s a human being behind it.
Same way you want to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. You don’t want that myth to be ruined and dispelled. I’m always like, ‘Please don’t tell them. Let Fiona exist as Fiona.’
What if this isn’t the end? Would you come back to do another Shrek ten years from now?
It’s like if somebody asked me, ‘Are you going to do Charlie’s Angels ten years from now?’ I’d go,’ What?!’ It’s a little bit different fitting in those pants from ten years ago, but Shrek, of course. We’d get to go back to whatever they will be doing ten years from now. And hopefully we won’t have to wait that long.