The Farrelly Brothers on Their Troubled, Semen-Soaked Legacy

These days, a bunch of guys lying to get the attention of a beautiful woman would be quickly condemned as catfishing, but in 1998 it was a recipe for box office gold.

At that time, comedy was on the verge of a “rough” craze, which was partly initiated by the success of There’s something about Mary. Third film from Dumb and Dumber Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly follow Ted (Ben Stiller), a loser in love who hires sleazy private investigator Pat (Matt Dillon) to find his long-lost high school sweetheart Mary (Cameron Diaz).

It doesn’t take long for Pat to track her down, but things get weird when he falls in love with grown-up Ted’s prom and decides to woo her for himself. He is far from the only person who falls head over heels in love with Mary. Soon, this seemingly perfect woman is stealing hearts left, right and center – all to the dismay of Ted, who falls behind in the romantic race.

Lee Evans, Matt Dillon and Ben Stiller in a still from the film

20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

There’s something about Mary was the fourth highest-grossing film of 1998, but like many comedies of yesteryear, it hasn’t aged well. Filled with jokes about bodily fluids, mental retardation and balls cruelly locked in zippers, there are enough eyebrow-raising passages to make modern audiences squirm in their socially conscious seats. In retrospect, the film’s mixture of outrageous shocks and genuine heart gave it a complex legacy that its creators are proud of.

“It was a special time because we didn’t know what we were doing,” Bobby admits, taking us back to the mid-90s. “We didn’t go to film school and make a movie that the studio heads would say, ‘Yeah, that’s what you do.’ They thought: “What are you doing? Why would you do that?’ And we thought, “Because it makes us laugh, and when we showed it to people, it made them laugh too.” We did it for the audience, not for the studio executives.”

Arriving on the scene in 1994, the Farrellys quickly rose to fame with their first film. Dumb and Dumber, and continued it with a comedy about bowling A thief in law two years later. Despite ultimately becoming a beloved cult classic, their second film failed to release, meaning their third film suddenly became a make-or-break task if they wanted to keep their careers alive in Hollywood.

“With every film I’m constantly aware that if it’s not good, you’ll never be able to work again,” says Peter, reflecting on the fickle nature of the business. “Dumb and Dumber did great, but people just saw it as a Jim Carrey movie and thought we were lucky to be with him, even though we wrote it. I’m not belittling what Jim did. This movie wouldn’t have happened without Jim, but we didn’t get much recognition.” And with A thief in law “The phone stopped ringing,” Peter recalls. “It was like, ‘Crap. What are we going to do here?

Peter and Bobby Farrelly stand back to back with their dogs in plaster casts on their arms.

Photo by Ronald Simoneite/Sygma via Getty Images

Ultimately, the duo settled on a script written by their pals Ed Decter and John J. Strauss. Plot-wise it was like There’s something about Mary ultimately it was, although the Farrellys refined some things based on real-life inspiration.

“We always thought, ‘What’s a funny thing that happened to us and how can we turn it into a story?’ and there was a lot of it There’s something about Mary“, says Bobby. “A lot of the things we drew from childhood, like when Ben’s character zips up his pants, that happened at home when we were kids.”

It’s true: During a party for his sister, a boy accidentally got into trouble in the bathroom. “The poor kid was in there for a long time trying to figure out how to get out,” Bobby chuckles. Eventually their father, a doctor, was called to help. “My father told us this story many years later and we laughed. You rely on your life experience, and there is truth in this, because it did happen.”

While the Farrellys sought to preserve the anonymity of the child behind this tragic moment, it was Stiller who owned the moment on screen in all its painfully awkward glory. Beating out Owen Wilson and Jon Stewart for the role of Ted, There’s something about Mary propelled the then-star to great success, setting him on a successful career path that he is still following today.

It also began a relationship between Stiller and Farrelly that lasted 25 years, with the trio reuniting in 2007. A child with a broken heartas well as the upcoming Christmas comedy Dear Santa, which was written by the brothers, directed by Bobby, and is due out next year.

(Cameron Diaz) thought the hair gel story was hysterical… if it worked. And we understood, because we didn’t know either. We worked hard on this film, but the studio didn’t want to make it.»

When it came to casting, Peter and Bobby consulted their comedy heroes. Airplane! directed by Jerry and David Zucker and Jim Abrahams. “One of the most important things they told us was that it’s not so much what happens in the film, but how someone reacts,” Bobby recalls. “Ben is probably the best reactor we’ve ever dealt with. When something happens around him, the way he looks always causes a huge laugh.”

Speaking of reaction shots, perhaps the most infamous combination of the duo’s crude humor, Stiller’s reactionary techniques, and Diaz’s casual confidence in selling risque jokes is the scene where Mary mistakes Ted’s sperm for hair gel before a date.

“When the day came to shoot the scene, (Cameron) took a look.” Perhaps it was her managers who spoke to her: “What are you doing?” It could ruin your career,” Bobby suggests. “She thought the hair gel thing was hysterical… if it worked,” echoes Peter, “and we understood because we didn’t know either. We tried so hard on this film, and the studio didn’t even want to make it.”

Eventually the Farrellys agreed to film the scene a few different ways (“We shot it with our hair up and down and shiny and just normal,” Peter recalls), and if it didn’t work, they would just cut it. . However, to make it as fun as possible, they relied on expert props to find the right consistency of, um, residue.

“Someone hired a guy to do different loads,” Peter laughs. “He showed up with a leather briefcase, like a businessman, containing 30 or 40 loads. We called Ben and held one of them like an earring. People said, “No, too small.” ‘Hm. It’s somehow lumpy…” That’s what we decided. After that, this unusual crew member was never seen again: “The guy closed the briefcase and left,” Peter recalls. “We laughed and asked, ‘Who is this guy and where does he get this job?'”

Luckily, the trio’s meticulous sperm selection process was worth it. “We got exactly the reaction we wanted – people howling. It was a huge gamble and it paid off. It really defined comedy at the time because it really pushed the boundaries of what was possible,” Bobby says. “Nobody expected this to happen,” adds Peter. “I remember people laughing so hard they were literally falling out of their seats into the aisle.”

Ben Stiller throws his head back with a fishhook as Cameron Diaz watches the action in the film

20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

Twenty-five years later, the “hair gel scene” has lost none of its hilarious shock value. What doesn’t have However, the film also depicts characters with mental disabilities. Despite the fact that many of their films feature disabled actors – from A thief in law for the comedy Bobby 2023 Champions– the couple is quick to admit that they failed in this case by casting a non-mentally retarded actor, W. Earl Brown, to play Mary’s retarded brother Warren.

“Warren was based on a guy we grew up with. He was our friend. We laughed with him, he laughed at us – he was just one of the guys, but he had mental disabilities,” says Bobby. “We had to fight for it a little bit because we were getting studio notes saying everyone will think you’re picking on people (with intellectual disabilities). We weren’t there – and what’s worse, pretend they weren’t here? It was a big noisy comedy. Why can’t he be a part of this? We fought for it and he ended up staying home.

“We’ve grown up, but Hollywood definitely has too,” he continues. “You wouldn’t put someone in there who didn’t have a mental retardation, and that’s good, because there’s a world of actors with disabilities of one kind or another, and they should get roles too, because they deserve them.”

We should always laugh and always make comedies, even if sometimes they offend someone.»

“I wouldn’t do that today,” Peter agrees. “I would hire an actor with an intellectual disability—and they are everywhere—but they weren’t like that back then and they didn’t get the opportunities that they get today.”

This is something that will be explored in the new stage adaptation of the film that the Farrellys are currently working on. “We’re doing a musical version There’s something about Mary. We’ve been developing it for a couple of years now, and the manufacturers Lehman Trilogy produce it,” says Peter. “In it, this role will be played by a person with mental retardation.”

Aging issues aside, There’s something about Mary‘s The Inheritance remains a source of pride for its creators and marks a key moment in their filmography. “I think it’s the funniest movie we’ve ever made,” says Peter. “Every day was joyful, and at night we all just hung out. I think it was the most fun I’ve ever had on set.”

Bobby adds: “When the movie came out, some guy from the hospital called us and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I showed the movie to people who were dying and they laughed so hard it energized them.’ Laughter is medicine,” he says. “It’s therapeutic, a wonderful thing. We should always laugh and always make comedies, even if sometimes they offend someone.”

Source link

Leave a Comment