“We got no food, we got no jobs, our pets heads are falling off!” —Lloyd Christmas
There are very few—if any—actors who have as broad of a filmography as the insanely talented Jim Carrey. Actors generally pick one genre and stay in that lane, and then you have Carrey, who not only goes from goofball comedies to hard hitting dramas, but does it at a top level. You’ll never get bored with a Carrey movie marathon because you’ll be taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions, laughing at his antics in Dumb and Dumber and then crying at his heartache in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
You may be able to quote lines from all of his movies, but after reading this you’ll be able to supplement them with facts, too!
When people think of Jim Carrey, they think of movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber. All three helped launch his career, but what’s insane is all three came out in 1994! That’s quite the year.
For his role in Yes Man, Carrey opted out of his standard $20 million dollar salary and was paid $0 dollars instead–sort of. Rather than take a flat fee, Carrey was given 36.2% of the film's back-end profits. The film was a box office success, and Carrey ended up with a $10 million dollar raise, receiving $30 million dollars total.
The parody of the film The Crying Game was never in the original script for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and it wasn’t even in the shooting script. The Crying Game didn’t come out until they were well into production for Ace Ventura, so it was literally added to the film last minute.
To find the right voice for Ace Ventura, Carrey blended together the voices of several characters he created, with some coming from his stand up act, as well as the character Overly Confident Gay Man from the sketch comedy TV show In Living Color.
It feels like every role is turned down by at least one actor before someone finally accepts it. And that’s the case once again with Ace Ventura, as the titular role was offered to Rick Moranis, who turned it down to play Barney Rubble in the live-action Flinstones movie instead.
For The Mask, Carrey had to have oversized teeth in his mouth for any scenes where his character, Stanley Ipkiss, had the mask on. Because of their size, they were only meant to be worn whenever Carrey wasn’t speaking, but he liked how they looked so much that he learned how to speak with them and kept them in.
Living up to his name, Carrey helped save production costs on the film The Mask because he was able to stretch and contort his face and limbs to the extent that effects weren’t needed.
Sharing the same set for different films is not uncommon, but you probably never noticed in The Mask that the garage used in the scene where the mechanics rip Ipkiss off was used as a fire station in Ghostbusters.
The Mask was originally intended to be somewhat of a horror film in the vein of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and fit more with the tone of the comics it’s based on. However, once Carrey was cast in the titular role, the film did a 180 and turned into a comedy to fit Carrey’s persona.
Carrey should’ve been nominated for an Oscar for his sound work on Liar, Liar. For the bathroom scene where he kicks his own butt, rather than utilize sound effects, Carrey went for authenticity and legitimately beat himself up to get the sound.
There was no need for visual effects, make up, or false teeth to pull off the chipped tooth Lloyd Christmas had in Dumb and Dumber. All it took was for Carrey to remove the cap from the tooth he had already chipped in real life.
Coming off the heels of the highly successful Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Carrey was able to bump up his pay for Dumb and Dumber from $700,000 dollars to $7 million dollars.
Sometimes there are certain combinations that are so crazy they just might work. Even though it would be nearly impossible to picture anyone other than Carrey and Jeff Daniels in the roles of Lloyd and Harry, at one point the film was supposed to star Nicolas Cage and Gary Oldman. Can we at least get a Funny or Die sketch of this, please?
Everyone knows that Carrey and improv go together like lamb and tuna fish–or spaghetti and meatballs depending on your preference–so it’s not surprising to find out that one or two lines from his films came from the top of his head. In Dumb and Dumber, Carrey just spontaneously came up with "the most annoying sound in the world" as well as the line about being surprised to find out we landed on the moon.
The producers of Dumb and Dumber were against the casting of Daniels for the part of Harry, and tried to get him to back out by only offering him $50,000 dollars, which was significantly less than his quota. To their surprise, Daniels didn’t flinch and took the money.
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was the first and only sequel of a Carrey movie to actually feature Carrey until Dumb and Dumber To was released 2014. During that time, there was a sequel to The Mask, Bruce Almighty, and even Dumb and Dumber, but it was a prequel about how Lloyd and Harry met.
At the time, Carrey was paid a record breaking $20 million dollars for his role in The Cable Guy. The estimated budget for the film was $40 million dollars, meaning Carrey’s salary took up half the budget.
Chris Farley was originally planned to star in The Cable Guy, and even met with the screenwriter to discuss the film. But, after–surprise, surprise–an alleged scheduling conflict, Carrey was offered the role instead.
If it were up to Carrey, The Cable Guy would’ve died at the end of The Cable Guy, getting impaled by the satellite dish instead of narrowly missing it. Judd Apatow even wrote a version of the script with that ending, but no one else involved in the production was on board.
Carrey should have been paid double for his work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when you hear the lengths he went to while filming certain scenes. For one scene where the camera moves back and forth between two settings, rather than adding visual effects, going with a double, or filming them separately, Carrey just ran behind the camera, quickly changed wardrobes, and then hopped back into frame.
Carrey needed a basketball consultant for The Cable Guy because he was that bad at basketball. Apparently it didn’t help either, as director Ben Stiller decided to just have Carrey mimic dribbling a ball and digitally put one in later.
Carrey is known for completely becoming Andy Kaufman for Man on the Moon. He had people call him Andy and constantly took things a bit too far while filming. This got on the cast and crew's nerves, and at one point he got so caught up in the role that he spit in Jerry Lawler’s face, who then went after Carrey and tried to choke him.
This incident circulated as a rumor at that time, and was even confirmed by several people who worked on the film to help promote it. However, anyone who remained skeptical changed their tune when Lawler himself confirmed it happened. Apparently, Carrey wanted Lawler fired after, but cooled down and changed his mind.
Carrey became so fixated on the role of Kaufman that he claims "Jim Carrey" didn’t exist during the filming of the movie and instead he was possessed by the spirit of Kaufman. It’s also worth noting that Carrey said he had a psychotic breakdown while filming Man on the Moon, which might contribute to the whole possession theory.
Man on the Moon could’ve been Carrey’s ninth film in a row to break $100 million dollars at the box office, but it came up short, ending the streak at eight.
Carrey is known for his comedic chops and improv skills, which is why it comes as a shock to find out he was told not to improvise at all in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Even more frustrating for Carrey must have been the fact that every one of his co-stars was routinely encouraged to improvise.
Go ahead and add costume designer to the long list of talents Carrey possesses, as he helped design some of the costumes for his character The Riddler in Batman Forever.
Whoever thought it was a good idea to give someone as animated as Carrey props to practice with had clearly never met him before. Apparently, Carrey wound up breaking multiple prop canes and destroying furniture in his trailer while he tried to teach himself how to twirl the cane The Riddler has in Batman Forever.
Batman Forever was not well received critically, or even with the fans, but it was still nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing at the Oscars, eventually losing all three.
On Rotten Tomatoes, The Number 23 is Carrey's worst reviewed movie at 8% and The Truman Show is his best reviewed at 94%, both dramatic turns for the actor.
Of all the movies Carrey has been in, it’s somewhat surprising that the one to get banned in a country is Bruce Almighty. Egypt decided to ban the film as they deemed it sacrilegious and offensive towards God.
Even with the added crutch of being banned in a country, Bruce Almighty still remains Carrey’s highest grossing film worldwide of all-time with a $484.6 million gross.
For The Truman Show, Ed Harris and Carrey, who play the antagonist and protagonist, respectively, never met once during filming. Since the two characters never cross paths in the movie, Carrey wrapped up his portion of the movie before Harris even began filming his.
In an earlier draft of The Truman Show, screenwriter Andrew Niccol called it The Malcolm Show, and wrote it in a much darker tone with Gary Oldman in mind for the lead.
Wanting to show his dramatic side, Carrey decided to take a pay cut from his usual $20 million and only received $12 million to appear in The Truman Show.
This time, it was a gesture and not a line of dialogue that Carrey improvised on set. In The Truman Show, Carrey came up with the idea to draw the astronaut helmet on the mirror. There was also a take where he drew long, curly hair and a dress.
Carrey’s portrayal of a psychotic stalker in The Cable Guy was a bit too real at some points for viewers. Test screenings of the film led to a few scenes being cut from the movie because Carrey looked legitimately evil and scared the audience rather than made them laugh. One scene in particular, which had Carrey on top of Matthew Broderick's car impersonating the Terminator, struck fear into the hearts' of audience members.
Carrey revealed on Norm MacDonald Live that Tommy Lee Jones hated working with him throughout the filming of Batman Forever. Carrey never found out why, but he speculates it had to do with the fact that he was the star and therefore more important than Jones.
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