The timing was monstrously perfect. ABC was on the hunt for fresh holiday stories, DreamWorks was looking to expand its fantastically successful Shrek franchise to television, and, when last we saw him, the big green ogre was enjoying proud fatherhood with three adorable ogrelets. What better occasion for a visit than the babies' first Christmas? Thus was born Shrek the Halls (Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 8 pm/ET, ABC), a 30-minute special that, for some fans, just might steal Christmas from that other green, grinchier guy. The new special finds Shrek celebrating the holidays with wife Fiona, their children and lots of unexpected guests — Donkey, Puss in Boots and others from the enormously popular big-screen trilogy. Halls also retains the franchise's movie-quality animation and its original voice cast, including Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz. Myers recently took a break from shooting his new film, The Love Guru, to talk about all things Shrek, his own Christmas memories and, naturally, how often he showers.
TV Guide: In Shrek the Halls, Shrek's not a big fan of Christmas. Do you have any holiday pet peeves?
Mike Myers: I hate Christmas shopping. I hate wearing snow boots and then halfway through the four or five hours of shopping, you get sweaty feet. And I never know where to put my coat.
TV Guide: What was Christmas like for you as a kid?
Myers: You know, it's so funny — I create, write and produce much of what I do, so as a producer, I know a little bit about what goes into something to make it great. Looking back on my life, I think my parents were great producers of Christmas — setting the anticipation, making a fuss over the presents. Stuff like that.
TV Guide: With Halloween just passed, do you remember the first time you saw someone dressed as one of your characters?
Myers: Yes. In Toronto in '92, I was going to a friend's Halloween costume party and I came across a gaggle of 12 Waynes and 12 Garths. I got out of the subway and they were, like, "No way!" And I was, like, "No way!" I have a picture somewhere of it. I remember having my mind surreally blown by it.
TV Guide: You haven't actually been on screen since 2003's The Cat in the Hat. Why such a long time?
Myers: I take a long time between movies by design because I've usually created, written, produced and acted in each one, and I'm exhausted. It takes me like a year to chill out, and then a year to germinate what my next movie might be and then a year to write it and a year to bring it to the screen. I've had this question asked me since 1991. Before Austin Powers came out, people would ask, "Are you afraid of being typecast as Wayne from Wayne's World?" Then after Austin Powers, it was, "Are you afraid of only being seen as Austin Powers or Dr. Evil?"
TV Guide: So are you afraid of only being known as the Love Guru now?
Myers: [Laughs] You've fallen into my trap! Um, no. No, I am not.
TV Guide: What is The Love Guru about?
Myers: The Love Guru is about an American who was raised in an ashram in India to become a guru. He moves to Los Angeles and is hired to work with an African-American hockey player to sort out his love problems. I've found Eastern philosophy fascinating my entire life, and my other passion, of course, is hockey, so I wanted to combine the two and have my peanut butter in my chocolate and my chocolate in my peanut butter.
TV Guide: You still occasionally do improv unannounced at a small Manhattan theater in front of only about 75 people. How often do you get to do this?
Myers: I try to do it once every two or three months. The Magnet Theater, they're awesome improvisers. It's fun to play. It's playtime for me.
TV Guide: When you're working on something like Shrek the Halls where you're stuck in a recording booth, do you miss an audience?
Myers: Each has its own merits, and with doing Shrek, I don't have to put on a costume. I don't even have to shower. I can go there in sweatpants and a T-shirt. But I prepare and I care very much that it's great.
TV Guide: When actors talk about voice recording, "not showering" seems to be part of the protocol. Does it just stink in there?
Myers: [Laughs] No, I think the vast majority of times I do shower. It is very rare that I don't. What I think is great is the "come as you are" part of it.
TV Guide: The next Shrek movie is already planned. Do you get worried about stretching the character too thin?
Myers: No. With movie characters you generally have one lesson that the character needs to learn, and we check in at different rites of passage. Shrek needs to learn to love himself in order to, in the first movie, learn to fall in love, in the second to be in a relationship and in the third to be a father. So it's the same lesson but at different times in his life. It's an interesting journey.
Go have yourself a merry little Shrek moment with our Online Video Guide.
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