The Last Wish Director Joel Crawford On Making A Darker Movie In The Shrek Universe [Exclusive Interview]

Were there any other characters that you considered before you landed on the ones in the movie, like Goldie and the Bears, or the Wolf? Were there others that you thought of for the movie before landing on those?

There were some. We definitely went through a good amount of naming different, “Oh, could it be this character, this character?” But when we found the ones we did, it just felt so right that those stick with me where I’m like, “I washed my mind of the other ones.” What was fun was also still the challenge of finding the voice, both literally the voice casting, but also in the “Shrek” world, it’s like you see a fairytale character you’ve heard of, but their personality is the surprise of what those quirks are, what the specificity is.

Really, that was the journey of finding — Mark Swift, the producer, was one who, with Goldilocks and the three bears, Mark being from England, was like, “I feel like they have to have this Guy Ritchie edge and this cockney, kind of rough-around-the-edges feel to them.” That just felt right. We were like, “Yes.” 

Then even with Jack Horner, what was fun with that was when you’re thinking about fairytale characters, you go to all the well-known ones. Then Paul Fisher, the writer was like, “Guys, it’s hilarious. Can you even say the Jack Horner rhyme?” We couldn’t. We were like, “Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating his curds — no, that’s a different one.” To build a character’s worldview off of that, that it’s the most forgettable, not even a fairytale character, but a nursery rhyme. We formed this whole kind of point of view of this guy who wants power, he wants to be important. He spent his life acquiring magic. And of course, this one wish to him means all the magic in the world. It’s so misguided, but you understand where it comes from. 

I think for us, we wanted to make sure there’s a sophistication. That in a way, these characters, this is an animated movie, but we’re not treating them like cartoons. They are well-developed, well-rounded characters that we’ve put all this thought into. You really get this experience where you feel you’re in this world with Puss in Boots, and we’ve really kind of built out this world. That was our goal.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is in theaters now.

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