Julie Andrews and Cameron Diaz team up once again to revisit the kingdom of Far, Far Away in Dreamworks Animation’s Shrek the Third, and this time the ladies get to kick some ass. When Prince Charming invades the castle, he captures Fiona and the other princesses and it’s up to the Queen and Fiona to help the girls go from helpless to heroines. The fairy tale legends must pull together if they want to defeat Charming, but can Queen Lillian and Fiona make them stop acting like princesses long enough to conquer the villains?
ComingSoon.net talked to Andrews and Diaz about what it was like reprising their roles.
ComingSoon.net: Julie, did they tell you you’d be butting down walls with your head?
Julie Andrews: No, and I was thrilled, it was like, “Oh, thank you.”
CS: It was a little more physical for you.
Andrews: And I think it’s great. I love it. I think the Queen really comes into her own, and I’m delighted.
CS: When you got the call that you were coming back, is that something that you definitely said yes to?
Andrews: Absolutely. No question.
Cameron Diaz: No, me neither.
Andrews: No, how nice can it be?
CS: When did you find out after the second film?
Diaz: I don’t recall.
Andrews: I don’t either.
Diaz: I think it’s just sort of been like this i.v. that’s been in my arm, kind of like this lifeline.
CS: You do a little bit of humming of some tunes that might be familiar.
Andrews: It’s funny how many people pick up on that. (Everyone laughs) Really, it is. I just love the fact that she does this head butt twice and it makes her slightly delirious. I love that slight satire.
CS: The thing about these animated movies is they are around forever, and twenty years from now they’ll be putting out a special, special edition.
Andrews: When they are done as well as “Shrek” is done, it’s such a joy, because you know it’s going to be an iconic movie.
CS: Is that part of the appeal for being in one of these?
Andrews: You’re very grateful I think, isn’t it true darling?
Diaz: Definitely. I’m so happy to be a part of it because of the integrity of the film, the message that it puts out every time. The fact that it’s for so many audiences and even the message that Fiona gives the princesses are the vehicle for that story they tell the story of don’t just sit around and wait to be rescued, go out and take care (of it) if you want this, go and get it. You can’t wait for somebody to do it for you. That’s a message for everyone. And it’s for boys and girls, men and women, and it’s for people who’ve known it all along and need to hear it again, and it’s for people who have never heard and need to hear it for the first time. So it’s that kind of delivering that and putting that out into the world, I’m honored to be a part of that, I want to be a part of that. Plus the fact that you know that they’re going to take that technology they made you look at the first one to the third one.
Andrews: The quality of this third one is superb. It’s luminous and it’s pretty and I’m so pleased that everybody else picked up on it. Everybody in all my interviews yesterday, they were saying, (she gasps) “It’s just – who knew that digital animation could go even further than it was.”
CS: Cameron, were you delighted when you read it and found the princesses go a little “Charlie’s Angels”? Was that something you suggested, or they just do that?
Diaz: No, they just did that. I had no idea. You know, it’s a discovery for me, every time I go in it’s what’s going to be? I was like, “Really?” I love how they’re just ripping off their sleeves. It’s brilliant. And the great thing is it’s how they deliver that. They deliver that message with humor, they deliver it in the best possible way, and they do it as turning the traditional fairy book princess on its ear.
CS: They don’t need to be rescued, they’re going to do the rescuing…
Diaz: Yeah, they hit so many different levels, in delivering that message and it’s fun, it’s really fun, I love it.
CS: Has the process changed at all in the three films, or is it pretty much been the same, just a repeat each time?
Andrews: Well, no, the actual work process doesn’t change, you go into a booth all by yourself, and you don’t meet your fellow actors, which is sad. It’s just the way animation is done. We do, thank God, all meet up later.
Diaz: This is when we get to work together.
Andrews: Or when we travel somewhere together, we go on the flight together, or something like that.
CS: But as this being the third movie, you obviously both know your characters so well, can you suggest anything?
Andrews: They are open to suggestion.
CS: Can you think of any instances, especially on this movie, where you’ve done that.
Diaz: You know, it’s very true, the first “Shrek” I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t know Fiona at all, I had no idea who she was, I didn’t know what context she fit into the story. And now I do, I look out for her in a totally different way, I respect her, I want to protect her, not that I have to because they all have her best interest as well obviously, they want to be true to Fiona as well. The once instance, the only thing I can think of is after Fiona and Shrek got married there was a slight nag that started to happen that I was not so keen on. I was like, “She cannot be a nag.” And a nag I mean like she was a little bit selfish about how she expected Shrek to show up for her, and I just didn’t feel it was fair to him.
Andrews: You’re absolutely right, because she’s so sweet.
Diaz: Yeah, she knows Shrek, she knows his weaknesses, she knows it’s hard for him to be out of the swamp and be in the kingdom, and she can’t expect him to show up for her every single time. And even in that scene where they have to get dressed up, that was sort of that thing of like, “Come on Shrek, do this,” we turn it into like, “Please do this, I know it’s hard for you, but please can you do it.” Not, “I can’t believe you’re not going to do this for me.” So it’s that kind of mentality.
CS: Do each of you believe in happily ever after or is that just a myth?
Diaz: Well, it depends on what your idea of happily ever after is. I think everybody has a different idea of what happily ever after is, so I believe in happily ever after, I’ve never seen it written in a book, I’ve never seen any princess act it out for me, but I definitely have a happily ever after.
Andrews: I do, I think I do, I think happily ever after probably comes from here first (points inside), and how much two people want to do happily ever after, depending as you say what it is. We’re both so blessed. How could it not be happily ever after?
Diaz: If it ended today, it’s happily ever after. Somebody asked me the other day, “How come you’re always so smiley?” I’m like, “Doh! Because I’m grateful for everything that I have in my life, I have no reason not to be smiling. I have like the best life ever.”
Andrews: No, I have the best life.
CS: Is there any frustration that after you’ve done the recording and you see the movie, and it all works, but you having a perspective of having done it, know that you could have done something else to make it work better?
Andrews: Well, if they’re not quite satisfied with what you’ve done, you can go back in, or vice versa, you can say, “I’d love to try that again if I could.” But they ask you to give so many variations on the same line. I don’t know how much you did, but with mom they weren’t sure with Harold and everything.
Diaz: Yeah, they always have like a certain back up, because they change it and because they’re animating.
CS: Are there a lot of hidden discoveries when you see the film?
Andrews: Oh yes, and that’s great fun. And some wonderful ah-ha moments, when you say, “I’m so glad they did that, because it makes her character feel better.”
Diaz: I think for me, and what just popped in my mind just now thinking about your question, was, I think that I’m a perfectionist, I always want to do it the best that it can be done. When I see anything that I’ve done up on the screen I’m always like, oh, now I know I could have done so much better, but in particular with this movie because for me different reasons, but specifically because you are on your own, and although you are working with Chris Miller, who’s brilliant at all the voices and is so much fun to work with…
Andrews: And gentle and sweet…
Diaz: Yeah, so wonderful, and he knows what the other actors have done, it’s still not working with the other person, and so when you see their performance, you go, “Oh oh, oh, oh, okay that’s how they did it. That’s what they were doing.” So you kind of go, “Oh, God, if I’d known that’s how they were going it,” but that’s where you put your trust into the director, and ultimately you know if that didn’t get up on the screen unless it’s what he knew worked with the other actor’s performance, and that he felt that it was appropriate and fit in together. So in this, as in any film, that’s why the director’s the most important thing.
Andrews: Also in a regular movie, you’re holding your character in a live action movie, you’re holding your character in your head the whole time. In this particular case I think the director is holding the characters in his head, so he just keeps asking you for this, or asking you for that, and obviously knows when he’s got it. And so the actual concern of where am I going and will this match with that, that part is taken away.
CS: Who was your favorite fairy tale princess?
Diaz: I didn’t have one. I just didn’t watch the fairy tales.
CS: Were you a Barbie girl?
Diaz: No. I had Barbies because every girl does, but I always wanted to cut their hair (laughs).
Andrews: I’m a huge ballet fan. For me, the loveliest princess is probably Sleeping Beauty because it’s such a glorious ballet and she’s such a nice princess. She’s ever so sweet.
CS: She’s sleeping in this?
Andrews: Believe me I can identify with that.
Diaz: I did like Cinderella because I did like the idea of the glass slipper.
CS: Julie, as a classically trained actress, do you have misgivings about being in a movie that has fart jokes?
Andrews: Are you kidding? I live with a guy that writes them all the time in his movies.
CS: What are you working on now?
Andrews: You know I have a book imprint, publishing imprint of children’s books. I’ve been working very hard on that. I had a book just come out. No. 3. Not necessarily mine, but that I’ve been responsible for, coming out this year. Also, I’m working on my autobiography, which will come out next April. I’m on such a deadline. I feel slightly cross-eyed.
CS: Is Cameron in it?
Andrews: She’ll be in part two It’s all my early life.
CS: What’s it called?
Andrews: I haven’t finally decided so I’m not going to tell you. I thought I had but then the publisher said, it’s a good title but we’ll see.
CS: I know what it should be
CS: My favorite things.
CS: Have they talked about making any of your children’s books into movies?
Andrews: Yes. There’s a lot of talk going on about them. As a matter of fact, two of them are being talked about as theater musicals. One of the little books is being done for children’s theaters across the country, which is lovely, and we’re working on thatsongs and script, which my daughter and I are writing.
CS: Do either of you have summer plans?
Andrews: I’ve been saying to Blake (Edwards), can we just go away for a few weeks, because I’ve been so busy with my nose to the grindstone with the autobiography. As I said, I’m feeling slightly cross-eyed from concentrating.
CS: You haven’t decided though?
CS: What was it that made you want to do it? You said during “Princess Diaries” you weren’t sure about writing your autobiography?
Andrews: I don’t know. The company that asked me, Hyperion, sweetly and doggedly have been after me for about 10 years now, will you, will you, will you? And I finally said yes. I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try. They gave me a very small down payment and I’ve been trying to give it back to them ever since. But they won’t accept it back. So I guess I wasn’t very smart. Then, of course, deadlines kept going by so now it’s a question of OK. They did a very smart thing. You know I write with my daughter and they said (to her) will you keep your mother at it. Will you start interviewing her. So she’s been a tremendous help. She’s been helping me focus and does a lot of the research. You can’t imagine how much research there is.
Diaz: On your own life
Andrews: When you’re writing it, it’s like what was the theater where we rehearsed? I think it was that, but was it? Then you have to run the data. Did I send the dog home ahead of time or did I travel with it? I don’t’ remember.
CS: Is there a deadline?
Andrews: Yeah. Like last week. It’s down to the wire.
CS: What is the one quality Fiona has that you like most about?
Diaz: I like that she’s the anchor to all these crazy characters that swarm around in this tribe called Shrek. She’s like the straight man.
Andrews: She’s the glue.
Diaz: She’s the glue and she kind of guides it through. That’s why when I see her, and I hear Antonio and Eddie, they ad-lib a lot, but Fiona, I have a lot of alternate lines that I go with Fiona with. As Julie said, you do it a thousand different ways. You do it every which way but I feel like she’s the arrow that’s been shot and everything else is sort of traveling with her so
CS: Any thoughts on Justin Timberlake’s performance?
Diaz: I think he’s fantastic.
Andrews: He’s wonderful. He’s great.
CS: Why do you think he was cast?
Diaz: I think Jeffrey (Katzenberg) had a crush on him for a really long time. (she laughs)
Andrews: I know I did.
Diaz: You remember in the first “Shrek,” there was this Sir Justin poster over Fiona’s bed. I had nothing to do with that. That was something that Jeffrey had in his mind for a while.
Andrews: They take any aspect of life and tweak it the tiniest bit.
Diaz: It’s great. It’s fun. It’s appropriate.
Andrews: Obviously, they do their homework one way or another.
CS: Are you signed up for “Shrek 4”?
Andrews: Oh, if they do
Diaz: I’m in it. I’m there. I’ll buy a ticket.
Shrek the Third opens in theaters on Friday, May 18.