"Shrek" gives fairy tale break to backroom artist

Fri May 21, 2010 2:30pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sometimes fairy tales do come true. And where better than Hollywood and "Shrek"?

Walt Dohrn, who normally works behind the scenes on the blockbuster movie franchise, has had a magical change in fortune that only the wily Rumpelstiltskin could pull off.

In "Shrek Forever After," which opens on Friday, Dohrn was thrust from his day job at DreamWorks Animation to voice the trickster villain, Rumpelstiltskin -- one of the lead characters in the latest, fourth film.

"We found that his voice was just irreplaceable, it was so funny and so engaging," said director Mike Mitchell.

As head of story at the movie studio, Dohrn's regular job is to shuttle back and forth between "Shrek" writers and animators. He works with artists to start them on the right track animating each scene, so that it matches with the story as a whole.

But after reading lines for the so-called "scratch track" opposite superstars Mike Myers (Shrek) and Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), the normally-reserved Dohrn won the part of new character Rumpelstiltskin.

When animators learned of the surprise casting decision they stood up and cheered, Mitchell said.

Rumpelstiltskin is a pint-sized, black magic dealmaker who strikes a bargain with Shrek that gives him control of the fairy tale world they inhabit. Shrek must fight to overthrow Rumpelstiltskin, and win back the love of his life, Fiona.   Continued...

<p>Character 'Shrek' waits during ceremonies to unveil its star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>