Chris Farley never really got his due. A comedic actor with impeccable timing, physicality, voice modulation, and a willingness to go all the way, he too often got pigeonholed into the self-described box, Fatty Falls Down. The tragedy of his death is that the last couple projects he worked on did nothing to change that perception, although the ones he had in the hopper just might’ve done the trick. Some newly surfaced footage finally gives us a glimpse of the alternate universe where Chris Farley went on to play Shrek.
Before he passed away in December of 1997, two projects in development had Farley branching out. One was a biopic about silent film star Fatty Arbuckle, which would’ve been his first dramatic film; the other was Shrek. Farley had recorded about 85% of his lines, in a version of the film that was much different than the one we now know.
According to Brad Evans’s terrific assessment of the lost roles of Chris Farley for Splitsider, “There was talk of having a Farley impersonator record the last portions but that plan was scrapped. [director Andrew] Adamson recalls, ‘We spent a year banging our heads against the wall until Mike Myers came onboard. Chris’s Shrek and Mike’s Shrek are really two completely different characters, as much as Chris and Mike are two completely different people.’ Myers asked that the script be completely rewritten so that he wouldn’t be starring in the Chris Farley version of the film.”
Now that footage has surfaced on Reddit, we can see how the lovable ogre would’ve resonated with Farley’s voice, and imagine what might have been–both for the character, and the person originally behind him.