Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber
Jim Carrey was paid $7 million for the original Dumb and Dumber, while his co-star Jeff Daniels — who shared top billing! — made just $50,000. That’s one of the juicy tidbits revealed by directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly in their new Q&A for The Hollywood Masters. Carrey wasn’t a big star when Dumb and Dumber went into production in 1994 and the comedy’s total budget was just $16 million — so how did he walk away with so much?
“They offered him $350,000 to do the movie and he passed,” explains Peter Farrelly. “He 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 the studio said… ‘Okay, we’ll give you the 400.’ He said, ‘No, I want 500.’” Long story short, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective continued to top the box office, and by the time negotiations ended, Carrey’s salary was up to $7 million — “the most ever for a comedic actor,” says Peter Farrelly.
As for Daniels, he got the short end of the salary stick because the studio didn’t want to cast him at all. “They said, ‘Please, anyone but him. Get a comedic actor,’” says Bobby Farrelly, who wanted to cast Daniels after seeing him in the film Something Wild. ”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.”
That’s how Carrey and Daniels became Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, the dopey best friends whom they reunited to play in the new Dumb and Dumber To (in theaters Friday). It was Carrey’s suggestion to revisit Dumb and Dumber twenty years later. ”Jim was in a hotel and he watched, it was on TV, and he flipped the tube on, watched it straight through and he thought, ‘We got to do another one,’” says Peter Farrelly.
Judging from the trailers alone, the sequel rivals the original Dumb and Dumber for raunchiness. But even the Farrelly Brothers admit that the shock value of the first film could be hard to top. Peter mentions, in particular, the bathroom scene from Dumb and Dumber. “I mean we were clearly pushing the envelope. That was unprecedented that somebody sat on a toilet and we stuck with it because up to that point in human history, whenever somebody got on a toilet in a movie, the door would shut and that’s that,” he explains.
Another shock that the Dumb and Dumber To audience won’t experience? That rumored cameo from Jennifer Lawrence. The Farrelly brothers insist that no cameo was ever filmed; the closest they came, says Bobby, was having dinner with Lawrence in Atlanta while she was shooting The Hunger Games.
Watch a teaser for Dumb and Dumber To: