"They gave me a very small down payment and Iíve been trying to give it back to them ever since. But they wonít accept it back. "

Julie Andrews on writing her autobiography

Collider - 06 May 07
By Frosty

Cameron Diaz and Julie Andrews Interviewed – SHREK THE THIRD
Julie Andrews as Queen Lillian

This is another of the many transcripts I’ll be posting from yesterday’s “Shrek the Third” press junket. Since all of you know the story of “Shrek” I’m going to keep all of the intros brief.

While most of you would probably think getting to talk with Cameron Diaz would be the highlight of this interview, I was actually more excited to meet Julie Andrews. After all she’d been in two iconic movies that I’ve seen dozens of times growing up and I never thought I’d ever get a chance to ask her anything in person. And if you’re wondering what two movies, I’m talking about "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music".

During the roundtable interview we covered all the usual things and both Cameron and Julie were extremely friendly and genuinely seemed happy to be there promoting the movie.

And since everyone always wants to know what people are working on next… Cameron said “I am waiting to see exactly what I’ll be doing. I’m hoping one of the few things that I’m looking at will be sticking on the wall for the summer. So we’ll see.”

 Julie Andrews told us she’s hard at work on her autobiography and she’s writing it with her daughter. She also does children’s books and some may even be adapted for the movie screen.

Tons more information is below and you can either read it or download and listen to the interview as an MP3.

“Shrek the Third” gets released on May 18th. 

Q: Julie, did they tell you you’d be butting down walls with your head?

Julie Andrews: No, and I was thrilled, it was like, ‘Oh, thank you.’

Q: Can you come a little close to the mics?

Cameron Diaz: We talk loud, don’t worry.

Julie: You will hear us.

Q: It was a little more physical for you.

Julie: And I think it’s great. I love it. I think the Queen really comes into her own, and I’m delighted.

Q: When you got the call that you were coming back, is that something that you definitely said yes to?

 Julie: Absolutely. No question.

 Cameron: No, me neither.

 Julie: No, how nice can it be?

Q: When did you find out?

Cameron: I don’t recall.

 Julie: I don’t either.

 Cameron: I think it’s just sort of been like this i.v. that’s been in my arm, kind of like this lifeline, this extra –

 Julie: You’ve all seen it, haven’t you? It’s charming, it really is.

 Q: You do a little bit of humming of some tunes that might be familiar.

Julie: It’s funny how many people pick up on that. (Everyone laughs) Really, it is. I just love the fact that does this head butt twice and it makes her slightly delirious. I love that slight satire.

 Q: The thing about these animated movies is they’re around forever, and twenty years from now they’ll be putting out a special, special edition –

Julie: When they are done as well as Shrek is done, it’s such a joy, because you know it’s going to be an iconic movie.

Q: Is that part of the appeal for being in one of these?

Julie: Well it’s certainly – you’re very grateful I think, isn’t it true darling?

 Cameron: Definitely. I’m so happy to be a part of it because of the integrity of the film, the message that it puts out every time. The fact that it’s for so many audiences and even the message that Fiona gives – the princesses are the vehicle for that story – they tell the story of don’t just sit around and wait to be rescued, go out and take care of it – if you want this, go and get it. You can’t wait for somebody to do it for you. That’s a message for everyone. And it’s for boys and girls, men and women, and it’s for people who known it all along and need to here it again, and it’s for people who have never heard and need to hear it for the first time. So it’s that kind of – delivering that and putting that out into the world, I’m honored to be a part of that, I want to be a part of that. Plus the fact that you know that they’re going to take that technology they made – you look at the first one to the third one, how they’ve  –

 Julie: The quality of this third one is superb. It’s luminous and it’s pretty and I’m so pleased that everybody else picked up on it. Everybody in all my interviews yesterday, they were saying, (she gasps) ‘It’s just - who knew that digital animation could go even further than it was.’

 Q: It’s definitely the best animated.

Julie: Isn’t it? It’s wonderful to look at.

Q: Cameron, were you delighted when you read it and found the princesses go a little Charlie’s Angels? Was that something you suggested, or they just did that?

Cameron: No, they just did that. I had no idea. You know, it’s a discovery for me, every time I go in it’s what’s going to be? I was like, ‘Really?’ I love it to! I love how they’re just ripping off their sleeves, and I love when the stepsister, Larry, pulls it off and he’s got that tattoo. It’s brilliant. And the great thing is how they deliver that. They deliver that message with humor, they deliver it in the best possible way, and they do it as turning the traditional fairy book princess on its ear, so it’s not –

Q; They don’t need to be rescued, they’re going to do the rescuing –

Cameron: Yeah, they hit so many different levels, in delivering that message and it’s fun, it’s really fun, I love it.

 Q: Has the process changed at all in the three films, or is it pretty much been the same, just a repeat each time?

Julie: Well, no, the actual work process doesn’t change, you go into a booth all by yourself, and you don’t meet your fellow actors, which is sad. It’s just the way animation is done. We do, thank God, all meet up later.

 Cameron: This is when we get to work together.

 Julie: Or when we travel somewhere together, we go on the flight together, or something like that.

 Q: But as this being the third movie, you obviously both know your characters so well, can you suggest anything –

 Julie: They are open to suggestion.

Q: Can you think of any instances, especially on this movie, where you’ve done that.

Cameron: You know, it’s very true, the first Shrek I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t know Fiona at all, I had no idea who she was, I didn’t know what context she fit into the story. And now I do, I look out for her in a totally different way, I respect her, I want to protect her, not that I have to because they all have her best interest as well obviously, they want to be true to Fiona as well. The once instance, the only thing I can think of is after Fiona and Shrek got married there was a slight nag that started to happen that I was not so keen on. I was like, ‘She cannot be a nag.’ And a nag I mean like she was a little bit selfish about how she expected Shrek to show up for her, and I just didn’t feel it was fair to him –

 Julie: You’re absolutely right, because she’s so sweet.

 Cameron: Yeah, she knows Shrek, she knows his weaknesses, she knows it’s hard for him to be out of the swamp and be in the kingdom, and she can’t expect him to show up for her every single time. And even in that scene where they have to get dressed up, that was sort of that thing of like, ‘Come on Shrek, do this,’ turn it into like, ‘Please do this, I know it’s hard for you, but please can you do it.’ Not, “I can’t believe you’re not going to do this for me.’ So it’s that kind of mentality.

 Q: Do each of you believe in happily ever after or is that just a myth?

Cameron: Well, it depends on what you idea of happily ever after is. I think everybody has a different idea of what happily ever after is, so I believe in happily ever after, I’ve never seen it written in a book, I’ve never seen any princess act it out for me, but I definitely have a happily ever after.

 Julie: I do, I think I do, I think happily ever after probably comes from here first (points inside), and how much two people want to do happily ever after, depending as you say what it is. We’re both so blessed. How could it not be happily ever after?

 Cameron: If it ended today, it’s happily ever after. Somebody asked me the other day, ‘How come you’re always so smiley?’ I’m like, Dah, because I’m grateful for everything that I have in my life, I have no reason not to be smiling. I have like the best life ever.

 Julie: No, I have the best life.

 Q: Is there any frustration that after you’ve done the recording and you see the movie, and it all works, but you having the perspective of having done it, know that you could have done something else to make it work better?

Julie: Well, if they’re not quite satisfied with what you’ve done, you can go back in, or vice versa, you can say, ‘I’d love to try that again if I could.’ But they ask you to give so many variations on the same line. I don’t know how much you did, but with mom they weren’t sure with Harold and everything –

 Cameron: Yeah, they always have like a certain back up, because they change it and because they’re animating –

 Julie: And so we actually have no idea what the final choice will be until you see it up on there on the screen.

 Q: The death of the king is a really sensitive subject to have in a movie that 5 year olds are going to go to –

Cameron: It’s hilarious.

Q: Did they record a lot of stuff because they weren’t necessarily sure how-

Julie: Well, a lot of my Harold’s they could have been a pleading or as – Harold, get yourself together, or it could have been any of those, and they chose the one that’s in the movie right now. I don’t remember which version that was.

Q: Are there a lot of hidden discoveries when you see it.

Julie: Oh yes, and that’s great fun. And some wonderful ah-ha moments, when you say, “I’m so glad they did that, because it makes her character feel better.’

 Cameron: I think for me, and what just popped in my mind just now thinking about you question was, I think that I’m a perfectionist, I always want to do it the best that it can be done. When I see anything that I’ve done up on the screen I’m always like, oh, now I know I could have done so much better, but in particular with this movie because for me different reasons, but specifically because you are on your own, and although you are working with Chris Miller, who’s brilliant at all the voices and is so much fun to work with –

 Julie: and gentle and sweet –

 Cameron: Yeah, so wonderful, and he knows what the other actors have done, it’s still not working with the other person, and so when you see their performance, you go, ‘Oh – oh, oh, oh, okay that’s how they did it. That’s what they were doing.’ So you kind of go, ‘Oh, God, if I’d known that’s how they were doing it,’ but that’s where you put your trust into the director, and ultimately you know if that didn’t get up on the screen unless it’s what he knew worked with the other actor’s performance, and that he felt that it was appropriate and fit in together. So in this, as in any film, that’s why the director’s the most important thing.

 Julie: Also in a regular movie, you’re holding your character in a live action movie, you’re holding your character in your head the whole time. In this particular case I think the director is holding the characters in his head, so he just keeps asking you for this, or asking you for that, and obviously knows when he’s got it. And so the actual concern of where am I going and will this match with that, that part is taken away.

Who was your favorite fairy-tale princess?

Cameron: I didn’t have one.  I didn’t watch the fairy tales.

 Were you a Barbie girl?

Cameron: No. I had Barbie’s because every girl does, but I always wanted to cut their hair (laughs).

 Julie: I’m a huge ballet fan. For me, the loveliest princess is probably Sleeping Beauty because it’s such a glorious ballet and she’s such a nice princess. She’s ever so sweet.

She’s sleeping in this?

Julie: Believe, me I can identify with that.

 Cameron: I did like Cinderella because I did like the idea of the glass slipper. I liked the slipper. It’s so sweet on the step…

 I’ve got a little girl question… Now that you’ve had a chance to see the movie, can you step back and say who your favorite character is?

Julie: No, they’re great, all of them.

 Cameron: My favorite is the Gingerbread Man. I fell in love with him in the first one (she goes into Gingerbread Man voice) No, no, not my gumdrop buttons!  I was like, I love you. (in regular voice, hastily) Who did it?  (in G.M. voice) The baker’s man. (She can’t recall what it is exactly). You know what I’m talking about. This is why I can’t speak another language.

Julie, as a classically trained actress, do you have misgivings about being in a movie that has fart jokes?

 Julie: No, are you kidding? I live with a guy that writes them all the time in his movies.

 What are you working on now?

Julie: You know I have a book in print, publishing imprint of children’s books. I’ve been working very hard on that. I had a book just come out. Number 3. Not necessarily mine, but that I’ve been responsible for, coming out this year. Also, I’m working on my autobiography, which will come out next April. I’m on such a deadline. I feel slightly cross-eyed.

 Is Cameron in it?

Julie: No, she’ll be in part two. It goes till Mary Poppins, it’s all my early life.

What’s it called?

Julie: I haven’t finally decided so I’m not going to tell you.  I thought I had but then the publisher said, it’s a good title but … we’ll see.

I know what it should be…

Julie: What?

 My favorite things.

Julie: Aww. No...

Have they talked about making any of your children’s books into movies?

Julie: Yes. There’s a lot of talk going on about them. As a matter of fact, two of them are being talked about as theater musicals. One of the little books is being done for children’s theaters across the country, which is lovely, and we’re working on that—songs and script, which my daughter and I are writing.

 I saw you in “The Boyfriend” (stage play) in Boston. Will you be doing more?

Julie: I hope so. I had such a joyous time doing that. I loved it. It was like everything I ever learned in my whole life focused into what I might be able to pass on to these wonderful young kids.

 Cameron, what are you working on?

 Cameron:  I’m working on my hair color right at the moment. Just teasing. I am waiting to see exactly what I’ll be doing. I’m hoping one of the few things that I’m looking at will be sticking on the wall for the summer. So we’ll see.

 Are you going to be returning to Charlie’s Angels?

Cameron: Not that I know of.

 He said a few weeks ago that he’s doing it.

Cameron: Is he? Really? Wow! I’ve gotta call him up and see what’s going on. Maybe I’m not going to do it. No, I haven’t spoken to anybody about that.

Do either of you have summer plans?

 Julie: I’ve been saying to Blake, can we just go away for a few weeks, because I’ve been so busy with my nose to the grindstone with the autobiography. As I said, I’m feeling slightly cross-eyed from concentrating.

You haven’t decided though?

Julie: No.

 What was it that made you want to do it? You said during Princess Diaries you weren’t sure about writing your autobiography?

Julie: I don’t know. The company that asked me, Hyperion, sweetly and doggedly after me for about 10 years now, will you, will you, will you? And I finally said yes. I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try. They gave me a very small down payment and I’ve been trying to give it back to them ever since. But they won’t accept it back. So I guess I wasn’t very smart. Then, of course, deadlines kept going by so now it’s a question of OK. They did a very smart thing. You know I write with my daughter and they said will you keep your mother at it. Will you start interviewing her? So she’s been a tremendous help. She’s been helping me focus and does a lot of the research. You can’t imagine how much research there is.

 Cameron: On your own life life…

 Julie: When you’re writing it, it’s like what was the theater where we rehearsed in? I think it was that, but was it? Then you have to run the data. Did I send the dog home ahead of time or did I travel with it? I don’t’ remember.

 Is there a deadline on your calendar that you are dreading?

Julie: Yeah. Like last week. It’s down to the wire.

 What is the one quality Fiona has that you like most about?

Cameron: I like that she’s the anchor to all these crazy characters that swarm around her in this tribe called Shrek. She’s like the straight man.

 Julie: She’s the glue.

 Cameron: She’s the glue and she kind of guides it through. That’s why when I see her, and I hear Antonio and Eddie, they ad-lib a lot, but Fiona, I have a lot of alternate lines that I go with Fiona with. As Julie said, you do it a thousand different ways. You do it every which way but I feel like she’s the arrow that’s been shot and she everything else is sort of traveling with her so…

 Any thoughts on Justin Timberlake’s performance?

Cameron: I think he’s fantastic.

 Julie: He’s wonderful. He’s great.

 Why do you think he was cast?

 Cameron: I think Jeffrey Katzenberg had a crush on him for a really long time.  (she laughs)

 Julie: I know I did.

 Cameron: You remember in the first Shrek, there was this Sir Justin poster over Fiona’s bed. I had nothing to do with that. That was something that Jeffrey had in his mind for a while.

 Julie: They take any aspect of life and tweak it the tiniest bit.

 Cameron: It’s great. It’s fun. It’s really appropriate.

 Julie: Obviously, they do their homework one way or another.

 Have they asked you for Shrek 4 yet?

Julie:  Oh, if they do…

 Cameron: I’m in it.  I’m there. I’ll buy a ticket.

 (just to be clear… the way Cameron said her answer was not meant to say she had signed on, but that she’d be willing to come back to the series.)