A sequel to the Farrelly Bros.’s 1994 hit “Dumb and Dumber” hits theatres this weekend.
Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey will reprise their roles as Harry and Lloyd 20 years later in “Dumb and Dumber To.” While both are expected to be receiving hefty paychecks for the followup, the original movie was a different story.
For the first “Dumb” film, Daniels was only paid around $US50,000 — far less than his co-star Carrey, who received a $US7 million payday.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, writer-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly revealed how the studio, New Line, initially didn’t even want Daniels in the role.
“Jeff Daniels was not the obvious choice because he hadn’t done any, you know, out and out comedies before that,” Bobby Farrelly told THR. “He was always comedic in his roles.”
The comedy duo loved him in 1986’s action comedy “Something Wild,” and they fought for him after seeing his chemistry during script readings with Carrey.
“The studio didn’t want him,” Bobby added. “They said, ‘Please, anyone but him. Get a comedic actor.’ So they offered him, if I recall, 50 grand, which was, you know, Jim’s getting seven mil, they offered him 50 figuring he’ll say, ‘No, I’m not taking that,’ but he took it.”
Today, Daniels receives $US150,000 per episode for HBO’s “The Newsroom,” now in its final season, according to TV Guide.
THR reports Carrey was originally offered $US350,000 for the role, but after “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” took off at the box office, that figure eventually snowballed into a $US7 million payday.
“Ace Ventura,” released in Feb. 1994, made $US12.1 million opening weekend and $US107 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run.
“As I recall it went something like this, they offered him $US350,000 to do the movie and he [Carrey] passed,” Peter Farrelly told THR. “He [Carrey] wanted like 400,000. And they held off. And then Ace Ventura came out, which was his first movie and it was number one. … So then, you know, they said, ‘OK, we’ll give you the 400.’ He said, ‘No, I want 500.’ And then they said, ‘No, you’re not getting 500.'”
“Another week passed, Ace was number one again,” he added. “And they said, ‘We’ll give you five.’ ‘No, I want 750.’ Long story short, it got up to seven million and that’s what he got paid. The whole budget was 16 million and Jim got seven, which was the most ever for any comedic actor.”
It paid off as “Dumb and Dumber,” released Dec. 1994 opened bigger than “Ace Ventura,” scoring $US16 million upon debut.
The number may be a bit high considering Carrey’s attempt big push to return to theatres in the past year didn’t go over so well. Warner Bros.’s magician film, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” also starring Steve Carell, bombed to $US27.4 million.
The actor hasn’t commanded a film with a $US30 million opening since 2009 “A Christmas Carol.” Carrey’s recent hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live” boosted ratings for the comedy variety recently, but he came on a week after the show had its worst ratings ever.
A 2003 prequel to the series, “Dumb and Dumberer,” which didn’t involve the Farrelly brothers or Carrey and Daniels, made $US39.3 million worldwide.
You can read the full Hollywood Reporter interview with the Farrelly brothers here.
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