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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Shrek stars play down Cannes chances
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online correspondent in Cannes

Shrek
The first Shrek movie competed at Cannes in 2001
Hollywood actors including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy launched animated sequel Shrek 2 with an appearance at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

The film may be in the running for the festival's prestigious Palme d'Or award - but its stars have played down their chances of winning.

Myers said: "I'm honoured to be part of this whole experience and certainly honoured to be part of this film festival - that's all I can say."

Shrek 2 is up against 18 other films from around the world for the Palme d'Or, and received a rapturous reception from critics after a press screening.

The film's other stars declined to rate their movie's chances, but executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the heads of the DreamWorks studio, told BBC News Online just being in the festival was "in itself a win".

The first Shrek movie lost out when it was in competition in 2001, and Mr Katzenberg said it was the first time both the original and a sequel had been chosen to be in competition in festival history.

"I think everyone involved felt that was so extraordinary and something for us all to be so proud of," he said.

Cameron Diaz talks to director Andrew Adamson of New Zealand
Diaz, whose current partner is Justin Timberlake, says looks are not all
The sequel picks up where the original left off, after the marriage of the ogre, Shrek, voiced by Myers, to Princess Fiona (Diaz) - with their trusty donkey sidekick (Murphy) steadfastly at their sides.

This time, the voices of British legends Julie Andrews and John Cleese have been added as the king and queen who Shrek visits, while Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders plays another new character, the fairy godmother.

Andrews, who starred in 1960s classics Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, said she found it hard to adapt to making a modern animated movie - where actors usually record parts on their own.

"The worst thing is to be alone because normally [in other films] you get to work with each other and bounce off each other," she said.

"But in this case, you're mostly in the sound booth by yourself."

She had "no idea what's happening with the rest of the film", she said, and only met Cleese - who plays the king to her queen - for one day.

Another new character is voiced by Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who plays a ruthless Puss in Boots.

"Contrary to what Julie said, I felt very good working by myself because it would have been kind of intimidating for me to work with great comedians that I admire very much," he told reporters.

He felt "free" to create the character and was surprised at how much input he had, he said.

The Puss in Boots story of legend has been adapted for the film because "the character we needed in the movie was quite different", he said.

Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett at press conference in Cannes
Diaz liked working in the booth making "faces that will not be seen"
"I am spoofing everything - I am spoofing myself in Zorro. I think it is made elegantly, it is not a cheap parody."

And Diaz said recording alone was "fun" because she could go into the booth and make "faces that will never be seen" - and did not have to spend time putting on make-up.

In the film, her character has to choose between Shrek, the fat green ogre, and a Prince Charming.

"Her prince charming is Shrek because she loves who he is on the inside," she said.

"You can't judge somebody by their shell - it's about the contents inside. So I think my ideal prince charming would be whoever that special person is on the inside - and he'd have to make me laugh."

But she dodged a question about her current boyfriend, singer Justin Timberlake, and how he felt about appearing on a spoof pop poster in the film.

"He's not here so I can't really answer that for him," he said.

Shrek 2 is released in the US on Wednesday.


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