Top 10 Behind the Scenes DreamWorks Facts

Top 10 Behind the Scenes DreamWorks Facts

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
These behind-the-scenes facts are the stuff that DreamWorks is made of. For this list, we'll be looking at the most interesting pieces of information regarding this animation studio and its projects. Our countdown includes "Megamind," "Bee Movie," "Antz," and more!

Top 10 Behind the Scenes DreamWorks Facts

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Dreamworks Facts.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most interesting pieces of information regarding this animation studio and its projects.

What’s your favorite DreamWorks movie? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Frost?
“Rise of the Guardians” (2012)

“Rise of the Guardians” featured quite a collection of A-list voice actors, including the likes of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law. And who could forget Leonardo DiCaprio as the voice of Jack Frost? Oh wait, we all can, because it was Chris Pine who portrayed Frost in the film. However, what many people don’t know is that DiCaprio was the one originally cast in the role. Indeed, in 2009 there were numerous reports about how he would be in the upcoming DreamWorks project, a first for the actor. Clearly everyone’s excitement was premature, as this never came to be.

#9: Will Ferrell Got to Improvise
“Megamind” (2010)

The original “Megamind” script was probably pretty funny. But we doubt it was as funny as the final product ended up being, thanks to Will Ferrell’s improvisational skills. In an interview with the Washington Post, the actor behind the titular villain spoke about how he was able to bring his ideas to the table. Most notably, he explained that the “Space Dad” voice, which was essentially a Marlon Brando impression, wasn’t scripted. There’s no doubt that this added a whole layer of funny to the story, and we simply can’t imagine the movie having turned out any other way.

#8: The “Madagascar” Penguins Were Originally the Beatles
“Madagascar” (2005)

Alex the lion was the biggest star at the zoo. But the most popular characters to emerge from the “Madagascar” films might just be the four penguins: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private. They got their very own spin-off movie in 2014. However, it turns out that these four waddling birds were originally drawn for a movie that had nothing to do with the franchise. While working on a project called “Rockumentary”, DreamWorks’ animation director Eric Darnell created the penguins as a version of The Beatles. However, the music rights were too complicated, and the film never got made. Luckily for us, when ‘Madagascar” needed some penguins, they had the shelved flappy fab four ready to go.

#7: Brenda Chapman Made History
“The Prince of Egypt” (1998)

Some people may recognize the name Brenda Chapman as the co-director of the studio’s 2012 film “Brave”. She made history as the first woman to direct a feature-length Pixar movie, though she didn’t get to finish her work on it. DreamWorks, on the other hand, had checked this box about 14 years prior. The year was 1998 and the movie was “The Prince of Egypt,” which was directed by Steve Hickner, Simon Wells and… that’s right, Brenda Chapman. And with that, she didn’t just become the first female director of a DreamWorks animated film. Indeed, she was the first female director to sit in any of the major animation studios’ director’s chairs for a feature.

#6: Sinbad Killed 2D Animation
“Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” (2003)

There’s a reason DreamWorks animated movies released after 2003 were made using computer animation as opposed to traditional animation techniques. And that reason was “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” which was made using both, but with a strong emphasis on the latter. DreamWorks had high expectations for it. And who could blame them? The film had action, adventure, and the voices of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer and Joseph Fiennes. Sadly, it tanked. DreamWorks moved away from making traditionally animated feature films after that. While there’s no saying for sure whether this was the only reason for the switch, it was certainly a big part of the story.

#5: Nearly Everyone Hated Working On It
“The Road to El Dorado” (2000)

“The Road to El Dorado” cost $95 million to make and only brought in about $76 million at the box office. It has a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, and its Metacritic score is just 51 out of 100. But as much as critics and audiences initially didn’t enjoy the film, it seems the people who made it disliked working on it even more. For animator Rick Farmiloe, his negative opinion of the film is “tied in with the crazy-making of it.” Meanwhile, Will Finn initially worked as a director on the movie. But he left, as things weren’t moving in a way that lined up with his artistic vision. This road sounds far less fun than the one Miguel and Tulio traveled.

#4: Astrid Was Created for the Films
“How to Train Your Dragon” (2010)

You might be aware that “How to Train Your Dragon” was based on author Cressida Cowell’s book series of the same name. But it might surprise you to know that one of the main characters in the movie wasn’t in the novels. Indeed, Astrid Hofferson was created, and quickly grew into one of the franchise’s most powerful and independent warriors. And there’s no doubt that the films are better for her presence. As for Camicazi, a character from the source material noticeably missing from the adaptation, well, Cowell feels that she and Astrid are actually pretty similar!

#3: Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” Pitch Was a Joke
“Bee Movie” (2007)

For most people, getting a movie greenlit requires a whole lot of work and luck. For Jerry Seinfeld, all it took was dinner and a joke. The meal happened to be with Steven Spielberg and the gag gave us the “Bee Movie”. As Seinfeld said during an interview back in 2007, “it was an offhand remark of something I thought might be a funny comment.” He wasn’t actually particularly keen on the idea of making a real motion picture out of it! But clearly Spielberg thought there was something there. He took the idea to DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and pretty soon, Barry B. Benson and his pals graced our screens.

#2: DreamWorks & Pixar’s Feud
“Antz” (1998)

DreamWorks - or DreamWorks SKG - are more than just Disney competitors. The “K” in SKG is for “Katzenberg.” Yes, Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of the studio who used to head Disney's film division before reportedly resigning due to tension with then-CEO Michael Eisner. And that’s not even the feud we’re talking about here. This one has to do with Katzenberg and DreamWorks pushing up their release date for “Antz” to get it out before Disney’s “A Bug’s Life”. Not to mention the fact that both Steve Jobs and John Lasseter at Pixar reportedly believed that Katzenberg’s idea was a rip-off. It’s an Ant-eat-Ant world out there folks!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

DreamWorks Animation’s Longest One-Shot, “The Bad Guys” (2022)
That Honor Goes to the Opening Segment in “The Bad Guys”

The Sex of the Tooth Fairy, “Rise of the Guardians” (2012)
When Writing the Book, William Joyce Used a Coin to Determine Whether the Character Would Be a Man or a Woman

The Homely Panda, “Kung Fu Panda 3” (2016)
His Name Is Actually Hom-Lee

#1: Mike Myers’ “Shrek” Accent Required Extra Time & Money
“Shrek” (2001)

It’s impossible for most of us to imagine Shrek without the Scottish accent. However, when Mike Myers first recorded his lines, it was nowhere to be heard. But he wasn’t happy with the result, and requested redos. Jeffrey Katzenberg agreed, even though it reportedly meant removing “$4M worth of animation.” That’s Katzenberg’s version of events anyway, though Myers has said it wasn’t nearly that expensive. Interestingly enough, while “Shrek” was ultimately a hit, the studio seemingly had higher expectations for films like “The Prince of Egypt.” Indeed, it’s been said that being sent to work on “Shrek” was a punitive method employed by DreamWorks. Apparently, it was called getting “Shreked.”
I love the picks on this list