'Dumb & Dumber': Farrelly Brothers Share Memories, Personal Photos From Their 1994 Hit Comedy
On the eve of the sequel's release, the duo look back at their directorial debut, from how Jim Carrey has evolved to why so many actors passed on the script
In 1994, Bobby and Peter Farrelly made their directorial debut with Dumb & Dumber, a film about two dim-witted friends named Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) who set out on a cross-country trip to return a briefcase to its owner. The film was a box office hit, earning $247.3 million worldwide to date and launching the careers of the Farrelly brothers. They went on to make Something About Mary, Kingpin and Hall Pass, among others.
Now, 20 years later, the brothers have returned to direct Carrey and Daniels once again as Lloyd and Harry in Dumb & Dumber To. "We’ve never done a sequel and we never wanted to do a sequel — except for Dumb & Dumber," says Peter.
Ahead of the sequel's release on Friday, the brothers share personal photos and memories from the set of the film that started it all.
"THAT WAS THE MAGIC"
"Maybe we were fresher then, maybe we were doing something then that we'd love to recapture now. We know a lot more about filmmaking now, but it was our naivete and our willingness to go for it — that was the magic, and I don't know if we've ever beaten it," says Bobby Farrelly. "We didn't really know what we were doing. We gave a speech on the first day to the crew: 'We know the script, but we don't know a lot about moviemaking. If anyone is thinking, "Why are they doing that?" come over and tell us.' "
"When we first sent the script out, everybody passed. Over the years, I've met a lot of actors who passed on Dumb and Dumber, and I realized none of them ever got the script," says Peter Farrelly. "They were all being passed on by their agents because of the title. An agent told me, 'I can't give my client a script called Dumb and Dumber — he'll fire me.' So we [temporarily] changed the title to A Power Tool Is Not a Toy to sound more hip. All of a sudden, people read it."
JIM CARREY, THEN AND NOW
"When Jim did Dumb and Dumber, his life was a whirlwind, his career was taking off. Despite all that, when he's making a movie, all he's doing is making that movie. He spends every minute trying to figure out how can we make this thing better. But he's evolved emotionally," says Peter. "He used to be really hard on himself. I'd be in his trailer and he'd be beating himself up, but now he doesn't. He treats himself better. I think he's a much happier guy."
SURGERY AND A FIGHT SCENE
The production had to be shut down for a week when Jim Carrey had surgery for a gallstone. "The first day that he came back from the surgery, we had him do this fight scene with Jeff where they’re fighting over the briefcase and they’re rolling around," says Bobby with a laugh. "It was the only night we could do it."
"I guess what I would have told myself is to just relax," says Peter, looking back 20 years. "Everyday there was a new thing that I was finding out about. This was our big chance. I had been out in L.A. for nine years and I finally got a movie, and I was damn sure going to make it work. I wasn’t snapping at people, but my insides were getting ripped up for the entire shoot out of fear."
BACK TOGETHER AGAIN
"When we got back together [for Dumb and Dumber To], it felt like no time had passed and these guys hadn’t changed in the least," says Bobby. "It was particularly funny to see Jeff. Jim is a comedian every day of his life, but Jeff is not. He’s a comedian, but he’s also a brilliant actor who can be serious for most of his roles. For him to flip that switch, it’s so much fun to watch. He’s the secret ingredient."