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Chris Farley's Shrek Test Footage Shows A Very Different Ogre

The world of showbiz was dealt a massive blow on December 18, 1997, with the untimely death of comedian Chris Farley at the age of 33. Farley, of course, rose to prominence during his run as one of the ensemble players on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" from 1990 to 1995 and ventured into films with several of his "SNL" co-stars, most notably David Spade in the 1995 comedy hit "Tommy Boy."

One project that Farley worked on before his death was "Shrek," a fractured fairy tale comedy that was eventually released in 2001. Farley provided the voice of Shrek, a green ogre who lives a lonely existence in a swamp until an adventure with a talking Donkey leads him to meet and fall in love with Princess Fiona. Of course, while most people associate the role of Shrek with Mike Myers, who replaced Farley after his death, hand-drawn test footage eventually surfaced to give viewers a look and listen at what Farley sounded like in the role.

The footage mainly shows interactions between Shrek and Donkey, since Eddie Murphy had already recorded some dialogue for the film. Perhaps what's most notable about the way Farley voiced the role — at least in the test footage — is how low-key his interpretation was. Known for his boisterous characters on "SNL" — his Matt Foley, who lives "in a van down by the river!" is classic — Farley's read on Shrek is more of a humble one with no discernable accent. Myers' delivery, as fans have come to know and love through the "Shrek" movies and TV specials over the years, includes a heavy Scottish brogue, which makes the character feel more animated.

A Farley impersonator was considered to finish the actor's dialogue

The lost test footage of Chris Farley voicing Shrek to sketches of the character first surfaced on Reddit in 2015, and according to Fast Company, Farley recorded roughly 85% of his lines for the film. With that much time invested in the character, "Shrek" director Andrew Adamson was left in a huge quandary.

Adamson said the production considered hiring a Farley impersonator to complete the actor's dialogue, which of course didn't materialize. Instead, Mike Myers joined the cast, a last-minute actor replacement that saved the movie. "We spent a year banging our heads against the wall until Mike Myers came onboard," Adamson told Splitsider (via Fast Company). "Chris' Shrek and Mike's Shrek are really two completely different characters, as much as Chris and Mike are two completely different people.'" To make the separation, Adamson said, Myers requested a rewrite of the "Shrek" screenplay "so that he wouldn't be starring in the Chris Farley version of the film." However, a video from YouTube creator Just Hannah that shows comparisons between Farley's and Myers' reads on "Shrek" reveals that some of the original lines remained in the film. Since the first batch surfaced in 2015, the YouTuber located more test footage featuring Farley's voice.

"Shrek" went on to make history by becoming the first winner of the best animated feature film Oscar, leading to Myers becoming a permanent fixture in the entire "Shrek" timeline, which reaches across multiple movies, video games, short films, and TV series.