Illumination, Eddie Murphy Want ‘Shrek 5’ and a Donkey Spin-Off
Contrary to popular belief, it is not, in fact, all ogre now.
After the smashing success of spinoff film Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the suits and celebrities of the Shrek universe are eager to revive the not-so-jolly green giant and his dragon-loving donkey companion. Eddie Murphy has been beating the drum for a Donkey spinoff since before The Last Wish grossed almost half a billion dollars, and the film’s executive producer and Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri confirmed to Variety earlier today that he would, in fact, like to continue printing money.
According to Meledandri, whose company’s other pet project, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, is poised for a massive opening tomorrow, talks for Shrek 5 are already underway, and he thinks Donkey could support his own spinoff film à la his feline friend “without question.” The box office is about to have another Shrekoning.
“We anticipate the cast coming back,” Meledandri optimistically commented, “Talks are starting now, and every indication that we’ve gotten is there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of the actors to return.” Meledandri anticipates that Murphy, Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz will all be on-board shortly, despite the recent revelation from the lattermost star that she quit acting after an awful experience working with Jamie Foxx.
Meledandri said that the early stages of Shrek 5 preparations – the Shrekarations, if you will – are “not that dissimilar” to the process of adapting Mario to the big screen, saying, “You look at what the core elements are that audiences have loved, and you do your very best to honor those core elements.” Meledandri emphasized the importance of the series’ illustrious cast, saying, “Then you’re hard at work to build story elements and new characters that take you to brand new places. The original cast is a huge part of that.”
One huge part of that original cast has been vocal to the point of vociferousness about his future in the film franchise — back in January, Murphy made some unsubtle complaints about only one side character getting spinoff movies, saying, “They did Puss in Boots movies. I was like, ‘They should have done a Donkey movie.’ Donkey is funnier than Puss in Boots. I mean, I love Puss in Boots, but he ain’t funny as the Donkey.”
When asked about Murphy’s comments and the possibility of a Donkey-devoted branch of films, Meledandri said, “It’s evidence of his strong enthusiasm for a role that he so brilliantly inhabited and really created alongside the artists at DreamWorks. I found that comment to be very exciting.”
What we’d really like to see is a live-action Lord Farquaad spinoff – Meledandri should see if Michael Eisner can fit it into his schedule.