There’s an 800-pound ogress on the set of Shrek 3, andit’s not Fiona. Well, not exactly. We hear that DreamWorks employeesworking on the third installment of the hugely profitable franchise arefrightened that Cameron Diaz’s pop-star boyfriend,Justin Timberlake, is ruining the movie.
The trouble began when DreamWorks execs asked Diaz—the voice of Fiona—if she had any ideas for the role of the Princess’s long-lost relative King Arthur, whom Shrek teaches to be a monarch. Before they could say “Just kidding!,”the actress immediately pushed for Timberlake—a suggestion the studiodidn’t think it could refuse, we’re told.
“The problem is that the plot of the movie basically rides on the backof this Artie character [the young King Arthur], and DreamWorks was having ahelluva time casting it, trying to find the right young actor with the rightvoice,” says a source close to the studio. “But after they made themistake of mentioning it to Cameron, they were backed into a corner. Theyneeded her, so to keep her happy, they had to go with Justin. But when he camein to record he was just awful. Every other time they’ve brought on a newcharacter—like Antonio Banderas or RupertEverett—they’ve added to the mix. Timberlake is just aliability.”
We’re told the Shrek team’s frustration came to a headat a story meeting about three weeks ago. “They were working off theboards and had Justin come in to do preliminary vocals, and he’s just nota voice actor,” says the source. At one point, DreamWorks animation czarJeffrey Katzenberg even joked that “he would give $10,000to any employee who could make Justin and Cameron split up,” the sourcesays. “As long as she’s dating Justin, he’s in themovie.”
Not surprisingly, the flacks were all ‘N Sync denying the story.Timberlake’s publicist, Ken Sunshine, dismissed claimsthat his client is having difficulties with the part, and Diaz’s rep,Brad Cafarelli, insisted that “Cameron had nothing to dowith casting.” DreamWorks spokeswoman Terry Press said that, “Mr. Katzenberg said none of this ever happened,” adding that he rarely attended story meetings.