Another person who appeared in the first Shrek movie is John Lithgow. Lithgow recently shared some behind-the-scenes stories from Shrek, and he revealed that the Gingerbread Man was played by his inexperienced voice-acting partner.
John Lithgow played the iconic Lord Farquaad
Lithgow lent his voice to the villainous Lord Farquaad in the first Shrek film in 2001.
Lord Farquaad is the ruler of a fictional city called Duloc, and he desires to marry Princess Fiona. However, whoever wants to marry Fiona must first rescue her from a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. Instead of going there himself, Farquaad decides to hire Shrek to do it, and in return, Farquaad would clear Shrek’s swamp of fairy tale creatures.
Lithgow has a history of playing antagonists in other movies as well. For example, he played B.Z. in Santa Clause: The Movie and Roger Ailes in Bombshell.
John Lithgow’s inexperienced voice-acting partner became the Gingerbread Man
By the time he joined the cast of Shrek, Lithgow was already quite experienced in acting. However, when recording his voice for Lord Farquaad, he was joined by an inexperienced person, who ended up getting the part of the Gingerbread Man.
“You’re just in a south booth, giving a bunch of raw material to a bunch of strangers behind a glass booth,” Lithgow explained to GQ.
“The only person with me was one of their staff who was there only to feed me my lines. I never acted with Eddie Murphy or Mike Myers or Cameron Diaz. I only acted with him … and he did such a great job as the Gingerbread Man that he became the voice of the Gingerbread Man.”
The person Lithgow is referring to is Conrad Vernon, who was a writer for the movie. Vernon has since worked on numerous animated films in various roles, including other Shrek movies, Monsters vs. Aliens, Madagascar, Bee Movie, and Sausage Party.
John Lithgow knew ‘Shrek’ would be ‘history making’
Shrek has become a pop culture phenomenon, and many people still enjoy it even 20 years after its original release. At the time, Lithgow also realized he was a part of something unique in the entertainment industry. Speaking to GQ, Lithgow shared that, when he visited the animation studio, he was struck by something he saw.
“I walked through this place—still a year before the film came out—to all these computer cubicles where all these animators were working,” he said.
“One was in charge of nothing but milk being poured out of a pitcher into a glass. One was in charge of only leaves blowing in the wind. One was in charge of mud when a wheel went through the mud, working on this for months in this technology that not many people had used yet.”
Lithgow continued, “And I suddenly realized I am in something history-making, and I didn’t even know it.”
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