Forget the stars of the movie, the princess and the ogre, Fiona and Shrek. Most cameras were focused on another couple at the world premiere of Shrek the Third: the movie actress and the pop star, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake.
The longtime pair split late last year, and though there has been a report of at least one brief Hollywood encounter, the Sunday-morning “Shrek” screening marked the first major media event at which they’ve been photographed together since the breakup.
Diaz, who voices Fiona, arrived first, making her way down the green carpet in a bright-salmon Chanel dress, staying close to costar Mike Myers.
Timberlake, who plays would-be king Arthur, walked the press gauntlet just steps behind Diaz, though the two didn’t appear to make eye contact during interviews.
But, later, at the cast photo, they were more than cordial, greeting each other with big smiles and sharing a hug and kiss.
Justin, who is hard at work writing and producing songs for Madonna’s upcoming CD, told Access that he looks forward to doing more collaborations in the future — and certainly more movies. These days, Timberlake said that he’s “enjoying the journey he is on now” and that he keeps close to his family.
It’s easy to see how Justin’s down-to-Earth sensibility can carry through to his civil working relationship with Diaz. Though no longer together, respect for one another has been important to Justin and Cameron since the day they broke up.
“We have, in fact, ended our romantic relationship,” they told Access in a joint statement back in January, “and have done so mutually and as friends, with continued love and respect for one another.”
The feelings of good will between them may also be attributed to the film itself, since every cast member Access spoke with at the premiere said how much of a joy it was to work on “Shrek the Third.”
”‘Shrek’ is a great thing to be part of,” said Eddie Murphy, who voices Donkey in the films. “People love the movies, and they’re always well done. There’s always a bunch of interesting actors to work with…best gig ever.”
Shrek himself, Mike Myers, agrees. “Honestly, these guys are so committed to quality,” he said of the filmmakers. “Every aspect of this film is the best. It’s better then the second one, which was great. Great animation, great story. Great cast, great characters. They just know how to do it.”
The love-fest definitely extends to Antonio Banderas, who voices fan-favorite character “Puss-in-Boots” in the franchise. “[“Shrek” movies are] the most fun,” he gushed, “and at the same time, rewarding in many different senses, because of the people that we are working with — this fantastic team.”
Diaz not only appreciates the good feeling she gets from playing Princess Fiona — she believes in the poignancy of the “Shrek” films.
“There’s not a lot of films that hold the kind of integrity that this film has, these films do,” she told Access. “These are great. They have great messages, it’s for everyone. All audiences can watch this. There’s kids, there’s adults. In this movie, I think, particularly just where Shrek and Fiona are in their lives together…I think that it really reaches even more people.”
And, like the characters she speaks of, it’s refreshing to see Diaz and Timberlake be at the point they are in their lives, and still be able to keep things civil and friendly — an example that anyone, celebrity or no, could learn from.