At the peak of Bobby and Peter Farrelly’s powers, the two directed There’s Something About Mary. The 1998 comedy made just under $370 million in theaters, while testing the limits of political correctness and viewers’ threshold for witnessing one man’s struggle to keep his heart (and nether-regions) from being broken. Here are some facts about the movie that catapulted Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz’s careers.
1. JON STEWART WAS ALMOST TED.
Ben Stiller won the role of Ted Stroehmann over Owen Wilson and the future host of The Daily Show.
2. CHRIS FARLEY AUDITIONED TO PLAY WARREN.
According to W. Earl Brown, the actor who ended up playing Mary’s mentally challenged brother, the Farrellys initially brought in comics to audition for the part. It all came full circle for Brown; he had lost out to Farley in an audition to join the Second City improv group years earlier.
3. TUCKER WAS PLAYED BY A FAMOUS BRITISH COMEDIAN.
Lee Evans played Tucker, the English architect friend of Mary’s who is really Norm, a pathetic American pizza delivery man. Evans was the 2011 recipient of a Special Contributon to Comedy award at the British Comedy Awards, and has been called Great Britain’s “most successful comedian.”
4. BRETT FAVRE WAS THE FARRELLY BROTHERS’ THIRD CHOICE.
New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was first approached to play Mary’s old boyfriend, but he couldn’t do it (he later said it was one of the biggest regrets of his life.) 49ers quarterback Steve Young was next on their list; he declined out of fear that Mormon children would sneak in and watch him in a R-rated movie.
5. CAMERON DIAZ WENT BACK TO HER OLD HIGH SCHOOL TO PREPARE.
She returned to Long Beach Polytechnic High School to remember how to be a teenage girl for the prom flashback scenes in the beginning of the movie. Diaz was one year behind Snoop Dogg at Long Beach Poly.
6. DIAZ HAD CONCERNS OVER THE "HAIR GEL SCENE."
Diaz was concerned that the audience would be too disgusted over the physical gag to laugh, which could possibly ruin her acting career. With those concerns in mind, another version of the date scenes were shot without anything in her hair. Once the viewers at a test screening heartily laughed at the scene with Ted’s product in Mary’s hair, Diaz was okay with it.
7. BEN STILLER ALSO HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE SCENE.
Stiller couldn’t figure out how his character wouldn’t feel what was hanging on his ear, and even went so far as to suggest that it be written somewhere that Ted had somehow lost sensitivity in his ear. He was told to stop thinking about it.
8. WARREN WAS BASED ON A REAL PERSON.
Warren Tashjian was the older brother of the Farrellys' childhood friend. Tashjian himself appeared in the movie as Freddy.
9. A LOT OF FAMILY MEMBERS WERE INVOLVED.
10. CHRIS ELLIOTT ADDED TO HIS WOOGIE CHARACTER.
11. DIAZ AND MATT DILLON WERE DATING DURING FILMING.
Diaz and Dillon (Pat Healy) had been a couple for three years at the time, meeting in Minnesota when they were shooting Feeling Minnesota and Beautiful Girls, respectively. However, the two broke up shortly after filming ended.
12. PUFFY WAS A FEMALE DOG.
She was a female Border terrier named Slammer. Slammer and Chris Elliott shared a trailer.
13. THE FATE OF SULLY WAS CUT FROM THE THEATRICAL VERSION.
According to the screenplay and deleted scenes, after Healy pressures recovering drug and alcohol addict Sully (Jeffrey Tambor) into drinking a beer, he falls off the wagon entirely and gets eaten by his pet python.
14. PLANTATION, FLORIDA ASKED TO NOT BE THANKED IN THE CREDITS.
Their town’s City Hall was disguised as Rhode Island’s Cumberland High School, and Plantation was paid $2,500 for its services. Unfortunately, the City Council President was a conservative Catholic who refused to see the movie after reading some reviews of it and believed that the council was “misled” by filmmakers.
15. THE STUDIO ASKED FOR A SEQUEL, BUT THE FARRELLYS SAID NO.
According to Peter Farrelly, 20th Century Fox wanted a There’s Something About Mary 2, or a There’s Something More About Mary. The brothers felt that a sequel wouldn’t make sense.