Belle And Sebastian Turned Down Shrek
In 2002, the cult-beloved Scottish indie-pop collective Belle And Sebastian released a full soundtrack album for the Todd Solondz film Storytelling. In 2014, Belle And Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch came out with his own movie, directing the indie musical God Help The Girl. Belle And Sebastian could’ve had a very different impact on cinematic history. They could’ve been on Shrek.
In the early years, Belle And Sebastian were very concerned with remaining mysterious. For a long time, they never played live, never posed for photos, and never did interviews. By 2001, when the first Shrek movie arrived in theaters, Belle And Sebastian had relaxed many of those restrictions, but they evidently still weren’t into the idea of soundtracking the adventures of Mike Meyers’ kindhearted ogre and his donkey companion.
In a new NME interview, Stuart Murdoch reflects, with some regret, on the time his band got offered a spot on the Shrek soundtrack:
My wife still reminds me that we turned down Shrek. We were party poopers to the point where we didn’t want to be involved in film soundtracks. We didn’t want our songs being used inappropriately, so when they gave us this script about this large green cartoon monster, I turned it down. They wanted us to write for it and be part of the whole thing. Another time, we would have done it.
Shrek came out in April of 2001 and earned $484 million at the international box office. It was the #4 highest-grossing movie of 2001. Shrek‘s soundtrack helped make Smash Mouth’s “All Star” an omnipresent smash, and it also had Rufus Wainwright’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which presumably pushed that song toward inescapable status. You have to love the idea that someone, anyone, was ever willing to say yes to Todd Solondz and no to Shrek.