Shrek Forever After may be an animated film made with children in mind, but that hasn’t stopped its cast from getting gushy about the film and its implications.
“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,” Cameron Diaz said of the film during a press event in Los Angeles. The actress voices Princess Fiona, while Mike Myers returns as the voice of Shrek. “It’s … my favorite moment from the first [Shrek] movie, that you get to experience all over again, because you get to take the journey with them of finding that love again. You open up on the two of them in the routine of a life that they’ve taken for granted… and get to see [Shrek] journey back, trying to regain his true love and it’s a beautiful love story,” she said.
In this fourth installment of the franchise, Shrek is getting antsy with his life, which now includes his wife and their three adorable baby ogres, living the suburban dream in a hut in the woods. When the mundanity gets to be too much to bear, he makes a deal with the movie’s evil stand-in for a devil to sow his wild oats for a day, and pays a hefty price.
The movie’s pointed themes have the cast mulling over some of the life’s lessons far beyond the set, and discussing what they’re grateful for in their own lives. For Mike Myers, it’s privacy — for the rest of us, it might as well be the Canadian native’s sense of humor. “It’s hard to be super full of yourself in Canada. If there was a motto of Canada, it would be ‘Who do ya think you are, eh?’” the actor quipped. “It’s very good training to being a person.”
Diaz took a broader view of gratitude, citing life itself as her greatest joy. “I think it’s pretty awesome,” she said. “I love my family and my friends, and that to me is the love of my life … and the experiences I get to share with them.”
Jon Hamm, meanwhile, got downright philosophical when he considered what messages Shrek Forever After might have for movie-going tots. “We live in a moment in time right now, where people have a lot of information about a lot of people instantly, but it’s all surface information, and it doesn’t really mean anything,” he said. The Mad Men star trades his character Don Draper’s office garb for that of an animated warrior-ogre named Brogan in the new film.
“And these things that [we in the cast have] been talking about, about what [we] love and hold dear and what [we] feel strongly about are things that are unquantifiable in their Twitter feed or Facebook page or… paparazzi photos,” Hamm continued. “It’s truly getting to know people and getting an understanding of them and trusting them and being vulnerable… and that’s the journey that Shrek makes, is taking his existence for granted,” he continued. “That’s what I think really resonates.”
Amid the pontification, it was Eddie Murphy — who reprises his role as Donkey — who was the most succinct. “Love is a mother-f–er,” he said. “Does anybody not love love?”
Shrek Forever After opens Friday, May 21. It’s rated PG.