Shrek producers left red faced after authorising ‘saucy’ men’s magazine shoot
The Hollywood studio behind the Shrek franchise has been left embarrassed, after allowing the film’s characters to feature in a racy men’s magazine photo-shoot with half-naked models.
By Andrew Hough
Published: 6:30AM BST 15 Apr 2010
Barely-clothed models appear alongside Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey and The Ginger Bread Man in a spread that was designed to promote the fourth instalment of the hugely successful animated franchise.
But instead DreamWorks executives admitted they regretted allowing the family-friendly characters to be used in the highly-sexual campaign in the latest issue of an American fashion magazine.
The spread in VMan, a men’s magazine, was authorised ahead of the world premiere of the series fourth movie, Shrek: Forever And After, due to be released in the spring.
In one shot Donkey, voiced by Eddie Murphy in the films, is pictured snuggling up to a lingerie-clad model while a shirtless man lies on a bed in the background, in an apparent reference to a ménage a trois between the characters.
In other photographs, Shrek, played by Mike Myers in the films, and Princess Fiona, who is voiced by Cameron Diaz, pose with male and female models wearing barely-there leather and denim outfits.
The Ginger Bread man, meanwhile, holds a lolly-pop for the model who strikes a suggestive pose. While in another, a mostly bare-chested model wearing a cross feeds grapes to Puss in Boots, who is voiced by Antonio Banderas.
Executives at DreamWorks Animation and Paramount, were left shocked when they saw the published works appearently expecting a less provocative, more reverential treatment of its most valuable characters.
“While we do respect Vman’s creative vision, the shoot did not turn out the way originally envisioned when the idea was first presented by the magazine,” said a Paramount spokesman.
“In hindsight, we would have declined to include the Shrek characters in such a magazine spread.”
Jacob Brown, the New York-based editor of the magazine, declined to comment.
Vman is thought to have initially offered its cover to Shrek but when Paramount executives declined that treatment the magazine’s editors then suggested an inside spread.
Paramount executives – with visions of a successful “Simpsons”-style marketing ploy dancing in their collective heads – gave Vman the green light.
During discussions between the magazine and Paramount, as the distributor of the animated sequel, magazine editors likened their vision to the Harper’s Bazaar photo spread of Homer, Bart and the rest of the Simpsons two years ago.
Released just ahead of “The Simpsons Movie,” Harper’s featured the cartoon cast wearing Chanel, Hermes, Versace and Louis Vuitton – without the intrusion of human models. The spread essentially was elegant and inoffensive.
The studio said it would not pursue legal action against the magazine.
In the fourth film, Shrek finds himself in an alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met.
The movie has Shrek trying to save his friends, restore his world and reclaim his one True Love.
Cameron Diaz last week said Shrek fans would enjoy watching the lovable green ogre and Princess Fiona fall in love all over again in the fourth movie.
“What I love is with Shrek and Fiona, it’s their love story all over again – you get to watch these two characters fall in love all over again,” she said.
“That’s what was so beautiful and captivating in the first film. These two, and how they come to know they are for one another, and true love. You hope it does exist.”
The films, which hit the big screens in 2001, were recently voted the best children’s film ever made and is thought to have grossed more than £1.4 billion at the global box office.