The Raunchy R-Rated Version of ‘Enchanted’ We Missed Out On
When you think about it, Enchanted is sort of like the anti-Shrek, and not just because Amy Adams and Mike Myers are close to exact physical opposites. Whereas Shrek applied some real-world cynicism to a fairy tale world, Enchanted brought fairy tale logic to a real-world setting, resulting in stuff like a legit Disney musical number about sewer rats and cockroaches helping clean Patrick Dempsey's apartment. Sure, he probably had to have the place fumigated after that, but it was a nice gesture.
So it’s ironic that Enchanted was almost Shrek before Shrek. The original script, written by screenwriter Bill Kelly in the mid-1990s, has been described as “racier” and “more adult” than the final product. While it probably didn’t involve the displaced fairy tale princess performing any hardcore sex acts on camera, it was adult enough that Disney only agreed to purchase it via Touchstone Pictures, the label they used to release very non-Disney movies like Con Air or Pretty Woman.
The first thing the producers did upon buying this witty and original script for a reported $450,000 was, of course, fire the guy who came up with it and kick it over to half a dozen other writers. In the meantime, movies like American Pie and There’s Something About Mary brought the gross-out genre back into vogue, and the producers decided Enchanted needed to be like that, but with talking animal sidekicks or something.
According to director Kevin Lima, the “cynical” and “more R-rated” version of the movie included stuff like the protagonist meeting Dempsey’s character at a bachelor party after somehow falling in with some strippers. A few elements of the gross-out version were still present when the movie went into production, hence the deleted scene where the princess meets some NYC sex workers. They can be seen in the background of an early scene in the finished movie:
Lima, who also worked in movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and A Goofy Movie, says it was his idea to turn Enchanted into a “love letter to Disney.” And, sure, this approach ended up doing pretty well ($340 million on an $85 million budget), but it's still interesting to imagine a world in which Enchanted was the original Shrek. If the idea was to emulate There’s Something About Mary, they could have even gotten Cameron Diaz to play the princess before Shrek did, and it isn’t that crazy to imagine a Mike Myers fresh off the success of Austin Powers as the schlub the princess falls in love with. Also: Eddie Murphy as, let's say, the talking chipmunk.
On the other hand, one of the directors attached to the raunchy version of Enchanted was Hairspray’s Adam Shankman, who ended up directing Disenchanted — and reviews for the latter suggest this was not a good combination. Maybe the more accurate way to look at this is that Disney fans dodged a bullet that ricocheted for years and eventually hit them anyway a decade and a half later.
Thumbnail: Walt Disney Pictures