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The McFarlane Toys master toy license for Shrek kicked off with a bang at a press conference featuring DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mike Myers (voice of Shrek) and Todd McFarlane, who discussed the film and the toy creative process.

    Held at Loew's Theater on 19th and Broadway in Manhattan, the event was packed with print and broadcast media. Brad Globe, head of DreamWorks Consumer Products, got the event started by introducing the Shrek film and showing the theatrical trailer. DreamWorks is partnering with several major companies in a large marketing effort for the film.

    "Shrek is the biggest marketing campaign ever undertaken by DreamWorks," Globe said.

    He then introduced Todd, who took the mic and started jawing at the crowd in his patented McFarlane style. Todd explained how he became involved with the Shrek project and that he was excited to finally produce a toy "that my own kids can play with."


    "Plus," he continued with a laugh, "I'm really glad to work with Mike Myers again. I'm always happy to work with a fellow Canadian and talk hockey."

    Katzenberg came out next and discussed the trials and tribulations he encountered in the 5 1/2 years he's been working on Shrek before talking about what makes the CG animation special.

    And it is special. The artists who worked on the film made great strides in realistic-looking animation, particularly in the background textures and environments; the water and fire elements; and, what Katzenberg referred to as "the holy grail of CG," real human facial expressions for the characters, which has traditionally been a monumental challenge for animators.

    Finally, Mike Myers took the podium and bantered a bit with Katzenberg about the making of the Shrek and how different it was to just do voice work as opposed to interacting with fellow actors in a more traditional setting.

    Myers' biggest contribution, aside from his obvious talent and name cachet, was the creation of Shrek's voice, a mild Scottish brogue. After experimenting with a couple of different voice drafts, Myers settled on the Scottish accent because he thought it suited Shrek's "tough but sensitive" ogre nature.

    "I'm most proud of the message of the film, which is to be happy with what you are," Myers said. "I know it sounds corny, but I think it's a really important message."

    As the master toy licensee, McFarlane Toys will offer more than 30 Shrek figures and playsets in a variety of sizes and styles, many with sound and play action.

    Look for the toys to hit the aisles in early May. The movie is set for a May 18 release.

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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