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This is an exciting time to be Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The writer-director pair’s Dumb and Dumber To is having a big opening weekend at the box office, 20 years after their breakthrough success with the first film.
The Farrellys had a lot to say about their long career during their Nov. 5 discussion with The Hollywood Reporter‘s executive features editor Stephen Galloway as part of the second season of The Hollywood Masters interview series.
We’re telling you there’s a chance you didn’t know these 10 things about the brothers and their films, including which movie of theirs Jon Stewart almost starred in, the Dumb and Dumber scene they had to fight with the studio to keep in the movie and what happened with that rumored Jennifer Lawrence cameo in Dumb and Dumber To.
1. Peter Farrelly had a now-famous roommate.
Peter’s roommate when he first got to L.A. was Woody Harrelson, who had not yet landed his career-launching role on Cheers. “I remember when I met Woody, I thought, ‘Poor guy, he’ll never work,’ ” Peter said about Harrelson, who later starred in the brothers’ 1996 film Kingpin.
2. Eddie Murphy provided their first big break.
While still struggling to launch his writing career, Peter went on a first date with a girl whose parents’ new neighbor was Murphy. The girl wanted an excuse to meet the actor, so she asked Peter if she could hand his script to him. Two weeks later, Murphy was on Letterman and announced that he wanted to make Peter’s movie, which Peter hadn’t known about because he’d forgotten to write his phone number on the script.
The next day, he called Murphy’s production company, which flew the brothers out to L.A., and they’ve been there ever since. As it turned out, the film never got made, and Peter never saw the girl again.
3. Jim Carrey got some lucky breaks in his Dumb and Dumber negotiations.
The studio initially offered Carrey $350,000 to play the part of Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber, but he wanted $400,000 and passed. Then, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was a surprise hit, opening at No. 1, and suddenly Carrey was a huge star. He eventually earned $7 million to star in the film, which was made for a total of $16 million.
4. The studio didn’t want Jeff Daniels for Harry.
The Farrellys wanted Daniels to play Harrry, but the actor hadn’t done any comedies prior to Dumb and Dumber, so execs were reluctant to cast him in it. The brothers fought hard for Daniels, so the studio eventually agreed to offer him just $50,000 for the part, assuming he’d say no. But he took the offer.
5. The studio execs wanted to cut a very pivotal scene from Dumb and Dumber.
Dumb and Dumber is full of laughs, but the Farrellys were adamant that they keep in the scene just before the road trip starts, where Lloyd gives an emotional speech in their apartment about wanting more in his life. The studio didn’t think the scene belonged in a comedy, but the Farrellys believed it would allow the audience to forgive Lloyd’s later transgressions, like selling a dead bird to blind Billy.
6. Not everyone was happy with Dumb and Dumber‘s ending.
The studio wanted the film to have a more upbeat ending and tried to convince the Farrellys to film a version of the final scene in which Harry and Lloyd take the bikini team members up on their offer to travel with them. Luckily, their star was in the brothers’ corner. “[Carrey] basically said, ‘I am not stepping foot on that bus. I won’t do it,’ ” Peter revealed. The brothers also credit Carrey for getting the ball rolling on the sequel by calling them five years ago and encouraging them to make it.
7. Jon Stewart came very close to starring in one of their biggest films.
The brothers explained that they had to work hard to convince the studio that Matt Dillon was right for the detective role in There’s Something About Mary. As for Ben Stiller‘s role in the film, the two other finalists for the part were Owen Wilson and Stewart. “I always think, thank God, Jon Stewart didn’t get it because his whole career might have gone a different direction,” Peter said. “I like what he’s doing.”
8. They met with Woody Allen to star in one of their films.
The brothers were hoping to get Woody Allen and Jim Carrey to star in 2003’s Stuck on You, and they even met with Allen about the film, but he wanted too much money for the role. Peter recalled this about their meeting with Allen: “I remember he said, ‘I do that, I want to be in your movie, but one request, no toilets, please.’ “
9. Contrary to popular belief, Jennifer Lawrence never filmed a Dumb and Dumber To role.
A rumor claims that Lawrence filmed a scene for the sequel and then asked for it to be cut, but the Farrellys dismiss this notion. Bobby said that no scene was filmed but that they “all went out to dinner” in Atlanta, since while the brothers were filming the sequel at the same time the Hunger Games cast was shooting in the city.
10. There’s one ending to their films that they didn’t like.
Peter said that the ending in Me, Myself and Irene now feels a bit too predictable to him. “I always felt that the third act could have been better,” he said of the 2000 Carrey comedy, adding that “it could have been a little more convoluted and unexpected.”
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