Art Inspired Shrek Performances

Former Saturday Night Live cast member Cheri Oteri and Strangers with Candy star Amy Sedaris say looking a storyboards and character designs really helped them get into their fairytale princess roles for DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek the Third. The seasoned comedic performers got to put some new twists on the Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella characters in the film, which opens nationwide on Friday.

While most of voice recording sessions were done without the benefit of having another actor in the room to play off of, Sedaris says she was inspired by seeing designs for her version of Cinderella. ‘I like that because if I know what I look like, I go, ‘Iknow that lady.’ I’m usually the kind of person who gets the wig and outfit on and goes, ‘Okay, I get it.’ She adds, ‘They made me prettier. I loved my hair in that.’

Oteri says one of her favorite things about having the artists do all the visual work is that she didn’t have to get dressed up in wigs and costumes and be on her feet like she did for so many years on Saturday Night Live. ‘My [recording] place was right down the street from my house,’ she tells us. ‘I rolled out of bed and phoned in my lines [laughs].’

‘I usually get cast a lot for my body, so it’s very unusual to use my voice for a change,’ Sedaris quips. She adds that working on an animated movie is a blast because it allows an actor to go over the top. ‘You hear ‘Bigger, bigger!,’ and you never hear that [in live-action]. You throw a hole in the wall and go through it. It’s fun.’

Fun though it was, Sedaris says she also found the process of working in animation frustrating. ‘I felt like I was tied up and gagged because you just wanted to be that frog at the beginning of the movie or be those trees. You don’t want to do just the voice anymore,’ she remarks. ‘Then I started thinking why can’t we just do a movie where we’re the animated’people who can do faces like Jim Carrey. But does that work? So I became obsessed with wanting to get to play.’

Oteri and Sedaris said they were not familiar with the upcoming Shrek the Halls holiday special set to air on ABC this winter, suggesting that their characters probably won’t appear in the production. However, both have plenty going on in their careers. Oteri says she’s developing a half-hour television comedy with Lost and Alias creator J.J. Abrams. Asked for details, she would only offer that she was inspired by all the CourtTV she watches.

Sedaris published a hit book titled I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence and runs Tattle Tale, a burgeoning cheeseball and cupcake business that supplies treats to a coffee shop in New York City. ‘It’s just something to do with my hands at three in the morning,’ she notes. ‘Sometimes I’ll bring in five. If I get the munchies, I’ll bring in three.’