We know you don’t want to hear the most annoying sound in the world, so how about some facts about the 1994 comedy classic, Dumb and Dumber?
1. THE FARRELLY BROTHERS UPDATED AN OLD SCRIPT TO WRITE DUMB AND DUMBER.
The first script written by the directing duo was for a movie called Dust to Dust that told the story of two idiot friends who worked at a funeral parlor. They used it to get their foot in the door for meetings in Hollywood, and eventually the Dust to Dust script was bought but was never made into a movie. Years later they resurrected the same idea of two idiot friends getting into bizarre and hilarious schemes when they set out to write Dumb and Dumber.
2. NOBODY WANTED TO CALL IT DUMB AND DUMBER—EXCEPT THE FARRELLY BROTHERS.
The script went through a few name changes as it made the rounds because it kept being rejected based solely on the Dumb and Dumber moniker. Because no studio wanted to make a movie called Dumb and Dumber, the Farrellys changed the name of the script to Go West and then A Power Tool is Not a Toy, just to get studio execs to read it.
3. THE MOVIE STUDIO THAT AGREED TO MAKE THE MOVIE DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE IT.
The script passed through—and was rejected by—every major Hollywood studio until it made its way to New Line Cinema, where studio president Mike De Luca loved the script and agreed to make it. But Bob Shaye, the studio’s CEO, hated it, and only agreed to greenlight the film if the filmmakers could secure two leads from a list of 25 comedic actors provided by the studio. The Farrellys pitched the script to the entire list of actors, all of whom turned it down.
4. THE LIST OF NAMES THAT PASSED WAS PRETTY AMBITIOUS.
Nicolas Cage, Martin Short, Steve Martin, Rob Lowe, and Gary Oldman were some of the actors who were on that list. According to Bobby Farrelly, “Occasionally we’ll bump into somebody who will say like, ‘Hey, how come you never offered me a role?’ ‘I offered you Dumb and Dumber.’ But they never got them. You know, you thought you were being turned down by all the actors, but it’s really the agents just saying, ‘No, he can’t do it, he’s unavailable.’ It’s rare that they actually give it to them. So hard to tell how many actually passed, but we were told 100.”
5. THE MOVIE WAS MADE BECAUSE OF JIM CARREY.
Despite the pile of rejections, the filmmakers soldiered on and eventually offered the part of Lloyd Christmas to then-relative-newcomer Jim Carrey. One of the producers knew Carrey from his days as a cast member on In Living Color, and got him the script while he was working on the movie The Mask (which was shot before Dumb and Dumber). Carrey met with the brothers and they immediately hit it off.
6. CARREY’S SUCCESS MADE HIM RENEGOTIATE HIS ACTING FEE.
Carrey was initially offered $350,000 to appear in Dumb and Dumber, and continued to negotiate the final number with the studio. But his star-making turn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective immediately gave him the clout to demand more money. He was eventually paid $7 million to appear in the movie (which was shot on a budget of $16 million).
7. CARREY HAD A RECORD-BREAKING 1994.
He became the first actor in history to headline three number one movies at the box office in the same year with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber.
8. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT THE FILMMAKERS TO CAST JEFF DANIELS.
The Farrelly brothers approached Jeff Daniels to play Harry Dunne because they enjoyed his dramatic and comedic turn in director Jonathan Demme’s 1986 movie, Something Wild. The studio didn’t want to cast Daniels because he had never appeared in any outright comedic roles, and they didn’t think he’d able to keep up with a comedic kingpin like Carrey. Instead they favored Harland Williams, but the Farrelly brothers pushed for Daniels—which prompted the studio to lowball him on his acting fee. The studio offered Daniels $50,000, figuring he’d say no. But Daniels took the part. Williams would go on to appear in the movie as the Pennsylvania highway patrolman who mistakenly drinks Carrey’s urine out of a beer bottle after pulling them over.
9. THE FARRELLY BROTHERS INCLUDED THEIR OWN NOD TO SOMETHING WILD IN DUMB AND DUMBER.
In the scene where Harry and Lloyd skip out on their diner tab, Harry asks Lloyd where he learned that trick, and Lloyd responds that he had seen it in a movie once. The movie he’s referring to is Something Wild, starring Daniels, which features a similar dine-and-dash scam.
10. MANY OF THE MOST ICONIC SCENES WERE IMPROVISED.
Peter Farrelly admitted that about 15 percent of the movie was ad-libbed. The directors would have the actors do two takes that adhered to their script and then let the actors improvise in takes after that. Some of the ad-libbed scenes include the “Wanna hear the movie annoying sound in the world,” scene, the moment when Carrey leaves the hotel bar in Aspen and is surprised about the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the move with the doggy bag at the end of the kung-fu sequence.
11. HARRY AND LLOYD SHARED A ROOM WITH THE SHINING.
The swanky Danbury Hotel in the movie is actually the Stanely Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, the allegedly haunted 106-year-old hotel that inspired author Stephen King to pen the horror classic The Shining. Carrey reportedly requested to stay in the haunted room 217, but checked out after only three hours because of its ghostly power.
12. LLOYD’S CHIPPED TOOTH IS REAL.
13. CLINT EASTWOOD TOOK JEFF DANIELS’S TOILET SCENE VERY PERSONALLY.
After the movie premiered and was a big hit, Daniels was approached by Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood at a celebrity golf tournament, who told the actor that the embarrassing toilet scene actually happened to him in real life. Apparently Clint had gone out on a date and was beset by some bad shellfish, and sped to the bathroom only to find out it was broken once he had done his business. Daniels would go on to work with Eastwood on his movie, Blood Work.
14. THE MOVIE HAD TWO ALTERNATE ENDINGS.
The original ending had the Danbury Hotel concierge offering Harry and Lloyd a job working one day a week at the hotel, which the pair laugh off and leave on their moped. Another similar ending has the concierge asking the two to stay and possibly look after his grandson who ends up being Billy in 4C, the blind child that Lloyd tricked into buying Harry’s dead bird. When they shot the current ending, the studio wanted Harry and Lloyd to get on the bus with the Hawaiian Tropic models, but Carrey and the Farrelly brothers refused, citing the fact that the characters are supposed to be dumb.
15. IT SPAWNED A SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON.
While there was a big screen prequel and recent sequel, Dumb and Dumber also inspired a Saturday morning cartoon that ran for one season on ABC. The cartoon tracked the further adventures of Harry and Lloyd, and featured a new companion for the two in the shape of a pet beaver named Kitty.
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