Peter and Bobby Farrelly Talk “Dumb And Dumber To”

Thanks to Universal Sony, we got access to this exclusive Q&A with Dumb And Dumber To directors Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly.

Q: Why make a sequel to Dumb and Dumber (1994)? And why now?

Peter Farrelly: We are doing it now because the stars aligned. But we thought of it about 15 years ago. Jim Carrey was unavailable at the time and we kind of dropped the ball. Then, about five years ago, Jim saw it on TV, the original Dumb and Dumber (1994), got the bug to do another one, called us, and we were ready to go.

Bobby Farrelly: We have never done a sequel. But of all the movies we have made, Dumb and Dumber (1994) sets itself up for a sequel the best.

Q: Were you surprised by Dumb and Dumber’s (1994) initial success?

PF: I have to tell you, I was more relieved by the success because we had been out here nine years trying to get a movie made and I felt like it should be a hit movie. But nothing is guaranteed. So I was not shocked. The feeling I had was relief.

BF: Jim Carrey’s career was taking off at that point. So we felt like, “Well, we are in the right place at the right time.”

PF: “It stands a chance.”

Q: But when you first cast him-

PF: He hadn’t had any hits when we signed him. Ace Ventura (1994) wasn’t out yet. He had already shot Ace Ventura (1994) and he’d already shot The Mask (1994).

BF: But neither one had been released. We did not know we had a rising superstar on our hands. We knew he was funny as all hell, but we did not know that his career was going to skyrocket.

Q: I have read that you made Dumb and Dumber (1994) after directing two episodes of Seinfeld (1989-1998)?

Dumb And Dumber ToPF: That is not accurate. We have been writing screenplays for years and selling them. We were kind of known as script doctors and we had sold a story to Seinfeld (1989-1998). But we never directed any episodes… We were basically unproduced guys when we did Dumb and Dumber (1994).

BF: We were screenwriters. We could not get anyone to make our movie, Dumb and Dumber (1994). So somebody said, you guys should direct it. “Alright, we’ll give that a try.”

Q: What was it like working with Jim Carrey (Lloyd) again?

BF: This is our third time working with Jim and we love him.

PF: He brings so much to the table – writing, editing and of course, the acting.

Q: What was it like for Jim Carrey (Lloyd) and Jeff Daniels (Harry) to return to these characters? Did you spend a lot of time rehearsing?

PF: There was very little rehearsal.

BF: We do nott even really rehearse, do we? We do a read-through, but it is not even really a rehearsal. I think once the guys get their hair right, they go right back into those characters.

Q: Is that really Jim Carrey’s (Lloyd) hair in these movies or is it a wig?

PF: No, that is his hair. I mean, they cut it like that and so for the whole shoot he has got that hairdo. Jeff Daniel’s (Harry) too.

Q: Jeff Daniels is known primarily as a dramatic actor. Is this the only comedy he has done?

PF: No, Jeff Daniels (Harry) has done other comedies and he has done comedic roles in dramas. He was hilarious in Something Wild (1986; Jonathan Demme), which is an otherwise dramatic movie. He also did RV (2006; Barry Sonnenfeld). He has done a few of those kind of comedies.

BF: We are lucky we have him because he does not do a lot of comedies. So when he comes and does Harry Dunne for us he has so much to give.

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Q: How did Dumb and Dumber itself push the envelope when it was released in 1994?

PF: It was a PG-13 movie, but it broke a lot of rules in the PG-13 world. Things that you would not normally see, for example Harry (Jeff Daniel’s) on the toilet. I mean, people had gone into bathrooms before, but the doors would always shut before anything happened. The fact that we stayed in there with him and he sat down and just unloaded – that brought the house down.

Q: How did you first come up with the characters?

PF: We just wanted to do a movie about two dumb guys who go on the road to Aspen. It started with that. And then as it kept going we started having more and more fun with the stupidity of these two guys. Of course, the rest of Hollywood did not understand it. Every studio shot us down. Every actor shot us down. Nobody got it.

BF: People would always read it and say, “That’s funny.” And then they would hand it to whoever at the studio and it would just get to a point where someone would say, “This is dumb.”

PF: Well, we always thought that a hundred actors had passed on us. But we found out years later, they did not really pass. Their agents passed. Their agents just saw the title, Dumb and Dumber and threw it away. “I’m not offering that to my client.”

Q: How do you divide duties when you are writing and when you are on set?

PF: Pretty much equally. When we edit, we split up. Bobby (Farrelly) edits for a month, then I edit for a month, then we edit together for a few weeks. On the set, we are basically doing the same thing. We never approach the actors together though, because it is confusing to them. So one or the other will do it. But we share it equally. We do all the same stuff.

Q: Have you always worked together?

BF: We had a paper route together as kids.

PF: The Providence Journal.

BF: We were not very good paperboys.

Q: What is the secret of your relationship? How do you work together for that many years and remain on good terms?

BF: We do not agree all the time. A lot of times we will see things differently. But if Peter (Farrelly) sees it differently, I respect his opinion and I will take a second look. You might fight for a day or two, you do not carry any grudges. And we both have the same goals.

Q: Do you have a favourite scene or sequence that you shot in Dumb and Dumber To?

PF: I think the one I like the best is actually the train scene. It’s nice to see something that you imagined come to fruition exactly the way you imagined it. And that was how we saw that scene. Their hearing is damaged. And then all of a sudden a train comes through and they do not hear it at all…

BF: It came out exactly the way we pictured it.

PF: And it was not easy because you have to use green-screens and all these other little pieces. Normally we do not do that. We do very little green-screen or CGI or anything like that. So to actually imagine this and then see it was satisfying.

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Q: You mention CGI and green-screen… How has the new technology impacted your work?

PF: Not that much because to be honest we are kind of anti-technology, green-screen and CGI. We use it when we have to use it, like that train thing, so nobody gets killed. But we do not fake things. I like to do it authentically. Like when we shot The Three Stooges (2012), we purposely avoided green-screen.

Q: You say you are not big on technology, but I notice you have a Facebook page-

PF: Well, we just got into that actually in the last year and that is more just to get the word out. But yes, we have Facebook and Twitter now. I like it in the sense that you can reach out directly. If you want to get the word out about something you just tweet it or you put it on your Facebook page and the world knows about it.

BF: The part of all this that I do not understand is why everyone wants to record everything. “I am at the store and I just bought a pair of pants.” I do not know… I am still a little resistant to it.

Q: What is it like for you when you are watching a film with an audience for the first time? Are you nervous going in?

PF: Absolutely nervous. You are hoping for the best, but you never know. But this one was a beautiful experience… We wanted to see what they thought and they flipped out.

BF: A necessary part of what we do is to test the movie in front of an audience that does not know you. That is probably the most nerve-wracking thing that we do.

Q: What are audiences in store for this time around?

PF: The great thing about Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carey) is they do not change. They do not grow. They do not get new jobs. They do not get new girlfriends. They do not get new apartments. They stay the same. All they have is each other and because of that you are able to take a very similar ride with these guys that you took on the first one. And it truly is a great ride.