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Jon Hamm on Shrek Forever After

Published May 17, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
There’s no mistaking the voice of Don Draper, even if it’s coming out of an ogre. Jon Hamm continues to break out into the spotlight. After the success of AMC’s Mad Men, he plays a voice in Shrek Forever After. The ogre Brogan is part of the resistance in an alternate universe in Far Far Away.

Jon Hamm Talks Shrek Forever After

“I don’t know why the character I play on TV would lend itself to be the first choice to be an animated character,” Hamm said. “I honestly don’t know and I can’t believe I’m sitting here. When it came my way and they were still trying to figure out what I was going to be, a love interest or a rival. They weren’t sure, but I was just like I don’t care. I just want to be a part of this. I’ve loved the last three versions of this and went and saw all of them in the theatre like I was a 13-year old. The pure fan in me was like, ‘I’ll go play somebody who talks backwards, on top of his head and turns around. I don’t even care.’ The fact that they were able to work with me and my personality to create this person who is sort of this cheerleader of sorts was fun to do.”

Of course, Hamm can sell a Shrek movie like the best execs at Sterling Cooper. “I think the great thing about this franchise is that it kind of takes the plots of fairytales and puts them on their heads. So this is a perfect example. When the original book came out, and maybe my timeline wrong, there were quite a few books that were coming out and were sort of reworked and sort of twisted fairytales that were taking the classic damsel in distress and handsome prince and putting them on their head or swapping roles. So I think, not only this franchise, but there have been several that have done quite well. Then when you add in the unbelievable talent and the animators, it makes this incredible thing come to life. So I don't think I could certainly do any better than this.”

Shrek Forever After Shrek Forever After

Shrek Forever After was actually a cushy gig for Hamm, after the burden of carrying a cable TV drama. “It was easier, a lot easier. Certainly less was demanded of me and my role in the film than it was in the television show, so that was a lot easier as well. But a whole different kind of acting, and of being in a scene when you are reading opposite people that have other constructed performances that you haven't necessarily heard. That again speaks to the incredible competence of the people who put this together to make that all seem seamless. I was learning as I went along. The character wasn't funny. The character was changing and it kept changing, and I had to keep going back in and I had to redo it and the art involved with who this character was because it was a new character and was constantly shifted and there would be notes. Maybe it's not this, it’s that. That was a really fun process to be a part of because it's not happening live. It's sort of deferred until they get it exactly right. When you're in the hands of people who want it to be excellent, that's a very comforting and welcoming feeling. So I tremendously enjoyed it and it was a really interesting thing to learn on the fly.”

The theme of Shrek learning how good his life was, through a sort of It’s a Wonderful Life magical device, also resonated with Hamm. “We live in a moment of time right now where people have a lot of information about a lot of people instantly, but it’s also surface information, and it doesn’t really mean anything. Love and what you hold dear and what you really feel strongly abou, are the things that aren’t unquantifiable on your Twitter or Facebook page or the gossip columns. It’s truly getting to know people and have an understanding and a relationship with them and trusting them and be vulnerable and all that stuff. I think that’s kind of the journey that Shrek makes, sort of taking his existence for granted. We’re all incredibly fortunate people and I love having the opportunity to do what I do, and what I love to do. I think taking that for granted and not appreciating it, not taking the time out and not appreciating the ability to do that is in some ways not appreciating the people that you share your life with. That’s what I think Shrek and Fiona go through and rediscover. This is all very boring and academic, but that’s what I think. That’s what really resonates with kids, and why it appeals to not just little kids but the kid in everybody.”

Shrek Forever After opens to theaters on May 21st.

For the trailers, posters and more movie info, go to the Shrek Forever After Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of DreamWorks Animation

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