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“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo by SGranitz/WireImage

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Hello to the red carpet photos from the Shrek premiere

Everyone loves a modest gathering of 2001 stars

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

As I said in my anthropological study of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl premiere, red carpet photos offer us a unique glimpse into pop culture’s past. A random Hollywood event has the capacity to collect the Actually Famous, the Potentially Famous, and the Momentarily Famous. Also the styles on display are genuinely mind-boggling.

On the occasion of Shrek’s 20th anniversary, here is a look back at the people who showed up at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California in late April to celebrate what The Guardian recently called “an unfunny and overrated low for blockbuster animation” and what others regard as an amalgamation of cartoon oddities. These people below (and Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, above) were among the first to sit through it.

Todd McFarlane

“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo: SGranitz/WireImage

After rummaging through Hell to create Spawn, comic and toy maven Todd McFarlane dug deeper into the underworld to produce his own line of Shrek toys. And you better believe he was showing them off at the Shrek premiere!

Frankie Muniz and Justin Berfield

“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo by SGranitz/WireImage
‘Shrek’ Los Angeles Premiere Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Malcolm in the Middle was at the height of its popularity by season 2, and you know the bad boys of primetime sitcoms had to hit the green carpet. Fun fact: Justin Berfield apparently auditioned to play young Anakin in The Phantom Menace (and looks a lot more like Hayden Christensen).

Mike Myers and Jeffrey Katzenberg

“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo: SGranitz/WireImage


Gervase Peterson

“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo by SGranitz/WireImage

Survivor remains popular 20 years later, but it’s hard to describe just how feverish America was for the high-concept reality show, and how many of the cast members went on to attempt careers in the Hollywood fast lane. Peterson came in seventh place in the first season of Survivor, but still managed to eke out a career in modeling. Good for him! Season 1’s Colleen Haskell went on to star in The Animal with Rob Schneider so, you know, could be worse.

Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg

“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo by SGranitz/WireImage

Supporting their fellow Dreamworks buddies, power couple Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw rolled into the Shrek premiere with ticket in hand. I can only imagine what they thought of the farts. (Also, anyone who can tell me what Spielberg’s hat means wins 10 points.)

Mena Suvari and Thora Birch

“Shrek” Westwood Premiere
“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo by SGranitz/WireImage

Appearances by Suvari and Birch is just some great, nostalgic Dreamworks synergy. Both were riding high from the American Beauty Best Picture win in 2000. Dreamworks was fully established as a prestige brand making adult films. Enter: Shrek.

Eddie Murphy and family

“Shrek” Los Angeles Premiere Photo by SGranitz/WireImage

Nice to see Murphy out with his whole family for a day of Shrekiness, but egad, couldn’t the Hollywood bigwigs pulling the strings on this star-studded premiere remove the Freddy Got Fingered marquee from the theater? Or was this Shrek’s final “adult” joke?

Jared Leto

“Shrek” Westwood Premiere

In defense of Jared Leto, he did his hair this way for Panic Room.