‘Shrek’ fete charms

D'Works pic's Cannes preem brings out the kid in auds

CANNES — With “Shrek” winning warm applause and plenty of laughs in its Cannes premiere Saturday evening, DreamWorks’ after-party a la plage offered guests and those who worked on the pic a chance to play — and let loose their inner child.

The beachfront party spot, lit in soft primary colors, was divided into sections by a semi-transparent mesh that conjured images of fantasy bedrooms and childish flights of fancy.

Star Mike Myers gushed about the pic’s fractured fairy tale story, in which the titular green ogre he voices finds true love in an unlikely package. Recalling his own bedtime readings, Myers said “Shrek” evokes “that nice warm feeling when your mom read you lullaby stories, (and) that yummy time sitting at the library in a beanbag chair.”

DreamWorks topper Jeffrey Katzenberg, who said the last time he was at Cannes with a pic in competition was in 1978 with “Days of Heaven,” was pleasantly surprised when festival chief Gilles Jacob first expressed interest in the animated “Shrek.”

“I thought it’d be fun to have a little diversion” to the main festival, Katzenberg recalled, thinking the pic might land an out-of-competition berth, since the last animated pic in competition at Cannes was the French “La Planete Sauvage” in 1973 (the last U.S. toon was Disney’s “Peter Pan” in 1953).

But Jacob, with whom the exec said he has a “very long and special relationship,” had bigger plans.

Jacob asked Katzenberg if he “would like to put it not just in competition but also to put it on a Saturday night.” That, said Katzenberg, “was a total surprise.”

Asked what appealed to him most about the pic, the studio head said, “I like the ogre who has a heart of gold — a big, stinky, green ogre who learns to love himself. There’s a little bit of ogre in all of us.”

Other notables who joined the festivities under the “Shrek” tent included Gallic star Alain Chabat, who voices Shrek in French dubs; co-directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson; Jackie Chan; Paul Allen; Aron Warner, one of the pic’s producers and head of Pacific Data Images; Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, two of the pic’s writers; and Sam Bottoms, in town for the preem of “Apocalypse Now Redux.”

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