DreamWorks' sequel brings ogre back to Cannes

Julie Andrews sitting with Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers. Antonio Banderas next to “Absolutely Fabulous'” Jennifer Sanders. These are combinations you don’t see every day. Thank God for Cannes.

At Saturday’s press conference, which assembled those stars and the other voice talent for “Shrek 2,” Jeffrey Katzenberg said the toon, which bowed in competition that evening, marks the first time in 57 years that a film and its sequel both were official entries in the Cannes competition.

The DreamWorks honcho shrugged off a question about chances of winning the Palme d’Or, saying “being invited to the Cannes Film Festival is in itself a win.”

The first film’s entry in Cannes “brought us good luck,” so he called Thierry Fremaux when the sequel was three-fourths finished. He admitted, “I’m not sure it makes sense” for the sequel to come, but was happy to suggest it anyway and was “amazed” that it was asked to come back.

The film is the first to carry the new DreamWorks Animation logo, a symbol of the company’s stepped-up commitment to animation, with two toons this year, two next year and three for 2006.

When asked, he said it’s not a plan to supplant Pixar. “Pixar continues to be the gold standard. … We’re happy to follow in their footsteps, since they started it (i.e., CGI animation).”

Also on the dais were Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Andrew Adamson (a director of the pic) and Alain Chabat, the French voice of the title character.

Most of the actors said they enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with their co-stars, since they all worked alone when recording their voice work. Asked to compare toon voiceovers with on-camera acting, Andrews said the worst part is working alone.

Myers said that after sometimes enduring six hours of makeup each day on “Austin Powers,” the best part of doing vocal work is no makeup; “I didn’t even have to shower.”

“That wasn’t necessarily the best thing for the rest of us,” deadpanned Adamson.

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