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A Far Far Away Look
Proving that you can take the ogre out of the swamp, but you can't take the swamp out of the ogre, "Shrek 2” sends Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona on a journey to Far Far Away, which is about as far removed from the swamp as they could imagine.

Andrew Adamson offers, "We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to make Far Far Away the antithesis of everything Shrek. So we asked, ‘Okay, what is Shrek?' He is totally not image conscious. He likes to live his own way and do his own thing… And what is the opposite of all that? The answer was easy: Beverly Hills, the epitome of image conscious, status conscious, and wealth conscious—everything that Shrek isn't. We thought it would be fun to put Shrek in an environment that was the complete opposite of his world.”

"The Kingdom of Far Far Away is the Beverly Hills, Hollywood, glamour capital of the fairy-tale world,” Kelly Asbury adds. "It's where the very richest and the most illustrious fairy-tale celebrities live, like Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel. All of their palaces are here. When Shrek, Fiona and Donkey enter this world, they are like tourists coming to Hollywood for the first time. Fiona is just glad to be home, and Donkey is excited; you almost expect him to have a Hawaiian shirt on and a camera around his neck. And then there's Shrek, who is not feeling too good about all this. An ogre belongs in a swamp, not in the land of swimming pools and movie stars. He's an ogre out of mud is one way to say it.”

Production designer Guillaume Aretos and art director Steve Pilcher designed Far Far Away in the medieval style that we've all come to expect in a storybook world but, in keeping with the material, with a contemporary sense of humor. "It's an off-kilter fairy-tale world, so it shouldn't look exactly like you'd expect it to look,” Pilcher says. "The writers and directors have a contemporary sensibility in their comedy, which we tried to bring to the design. We pushed things as much as we could to create that blend.”

The juxtaposition of medieval design and the filmmakers' sense of humor is especially evident on Far Far Away's Romeo Drive. Look closely and you'll spot such fashionable stores as Abercrombie & Witch, Saxxon Fifth Avenue, Versarchery, Pewtery Barn, Armani Armoury, Baskin (XXXI) Robbinhood, Tower of London Records, Old Knavery, Burger Prince and, of course, the ubiquitous Farbucks. Aretos comments that sight gags abound in "Shrek 2,” but don't expect to catch them all the first time around. "One of the things we did in the first ‘Shrek' and again in this film is to have gags in the background, tons of stuff that you don't necessarily see the first time. People could see the movie two or three times, and they will still catch things they didn't spot before.”

Traditional storybook designs with a modern edge can also be viewed in the Poison Apple, the shady watering hole where the king goes to put a hit on Shrek; and the Fairy Godmother's house, which appears to be a warm and welcoming little cottage…until you pull back and see that the house is merely a front for the huge factory where she concocts all her magic potions. 

Aretos and his team made 3D models of the sets because, as he notes, "When we have to describe the set to the directors so they know where they are going to shoot, it's easier to explain it with a 3D model than on a 2D map.”

That same logic applies to the design of all the old and new characters in "Shrek 2,” which, in a process that is unique to both "Shrek” films, are designed first in clay sculptures, as opposed to being created on paper. Character designer Tom Hester says, "Sculptures are the easiest way for me to communicate the look of the characters. Sketches are great, but they only give you one angle. With a sculpture, we can really figure out how a character is going to look from every angle. It's also easier for the animators to vi


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