Shrek’s story was saved by this simple fix from Fiona
Shrek’s screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio were hardly allowed to feature a shapeshifted Fiona, until they changed a single word.
The story of the original Shrek was saved by a very simple fix from Fiona. The 2001 DreamWorks movie was widely praised for its vocal performances and humor, full of jokes that made fun of fairy tales and Disney. Shrek won the inaugural Oscar for Best Animated Feature and has grown into a franchise that includes three sequels, a spin-off, holiday specials, and a live musical.
Shrek follows a misanthropic ogre, played by Mike Myers, as he attempts to get rid of the fairytale creatures now residing in his swamp after being banished by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). He makes a deal with the dictator to save Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from her imprisonment in a castle guarded by dragons. Shrek ranges from a reluctant buddy comedy as the ogre teams up with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and a subversive fairytale romance.
However, Fiona is hiding a huge secret: she transforms into an ogre after dark. It was this aspect of shapeshifting that created a conflict between DreamWorks and screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio. Talk to Creative screenwriting, they revealed that the studio deemed the ogre idea inappropriate, but all it took was a simple wording change to get this crucial plot point approved. After pressure from studio executives, Elliot and Rossio decided to subtly change their pitch to focus less on “metamorphosis“and more on”enchantment“.
According to Elliot, the writers took issue with the idea that the change in shape “does not seem suitable for the fairy talesâ. They delivered a concise counter-argument, noting Ariel in The little Mermaid and The beauty and the Beast. Considering the long history of physical transformation in fairy tales, this seems like an incredibly weak excuse for wanting to give up on the idea. ShrekSurely the producers would have been aware of these stories, suggesting that the real reason may have come from a reluctance to have an “ugly” princess. Of particular concern was the description of Fiona’s transformation script. By Elliot, “All we wanted was for her “ugly self” to be particularly ugly to her, not to be a female version of Shrek but to be a unique version of herself, as unique as her. human appearance was.. “It seemed like a losing battle, until the writers changed their approach with a slight change in wording. It didn’t change form anymore, but”delightedâ.
This more alluring and magical term for Cameron Diaz’s now-retired Fiona has given the writers’ story endorsement, and Shrek continued as originally planned. Elliot continues, “If we had done this in the first version I don’t know if we would have had any issues. âIt’s emblematic of completely unnecessary interference in the studio. There are many instances of films being ruined by studios fighting against filmmaker control, especially in the superhero subgenre. Zack Snyder Justice League is a prime example of a studio removing crucial plot points and twisting stories into what they mistakenly believe viewers want. Elliot and Rossio have admirably stuck to their vision of Shrek, rejecting other ideas such as making the ogre friendlier, with the desire to gain respect by becoming a knight. Outdated social conventions have almost had an impact on history, with rulers deciding for themselves what an audience can understand and accept.
Pirates of the Caribbean the progressive vision of screenwriters Elliot and Rossio for Shrek remained largely intact, saving the film from the more traditional story of the worthy hero falling in love with a classically beautiful princess. All did not work out, and the writers admitted that they would have preferred Fiona to stay “delightedRather than becoming an ogre permanently, to avoid hinting that she belongs to Shrek because of her looks. It would have improved their themes of self-esteem and acceptance, but the overall story managed to hold the ideas of inner beauty through Fiona.
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