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Shrek 2 (2004)

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Details Release Date: May 19, 2004; Rated: PG; Length: 93 Minutes; Genres: Action/Adventure, Animation, Kids and Family; With: Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers; Distributor: Dreamworks Distribution L.L.C.; More

THE SEQUEL Shrek 2

THE NEW FACE King Harold, Princess Fiona's father

THE VOICE John Cleese

ONCE UPON A TIME... Like many fathers, King Harold is none too understanding about his daughter's lifestyle change. (In this case, converting to ogreism.) And when she brings her new husband, Shrek, back to the castle, the peeved ruler joins with Fiona's fairy godmother (Absolutely Fabulous' Jennifer Saunders) to split up the green team. (Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz return as the happy couple, as does Eddie Murphy as Donkey.)

HOW TO CAST A KING The creative crew thought Harold could be the apoplectic ancestor of a classic Cleese creation. ''We love Fawlty Towers,'' says codirector Conrad Vernon (who also voices the returning victimized Gingerbread Man). ''And that's what we were going after: someone like Basil Fawlty, who, whenever he gets in trouble, reacts in such a huge way that he ends up getting deeper in trouble.''

GREEN WITH ENVY NO MORE When Cleese saw the $268 million-grossing 2001 original, he was, he says, ''extremely envious and furious that my friend John Lithgow got a good part.'' (Lithgow returns for the sequel as the wee Farquaad.) ''I was doubly happy when I was offered [the part in Shrek 2],'' Cleese adds, ''because as well as getting a rather lovely bit of work, I was able to go on liking John again.''

Originally posted Jan 23, 2004 Published in issue #747-748 Jan 23, 2004 Order article reprints