Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels Interview, Dumb and Dumber To
Twenty years after their last idiotic adventure in “Dumb & Dumber,” Harry (Jeff Daniels) is surprised to learn that the reason he thought Lloyd (Jim Carrey) had been in a mental facility for two decades wasn’t the reason at all. It’s only the first of many “Gotcha!” moments in the hilarious sequel, “Dumb and Dumber To.” A short time later, Harry makes another startling discovery and sets out with Lloyd to find the daughter he never knew he had. Opening in theaters November 14th, the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy also stars Kathleen Turner, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden and Rachel Melvin.
At the film’s recent press day, Carrey and Daniels talked about reprising their roles in the sequel, how it was driven by fan demand, what it was like getting back into character and finding their chemistry again, the love between the characters, which one is Dumb and which one is Dumber, how the characters hold a special place in their lives as they do for the fans, the return of the Mutt Cutts van and other callbacks from the original film, working with Kathleen Turner, their favorite scene, and where they see their characters in another 20 years.
Here’s what they had to say:
QUESTION: Jim, the only other time you revisited a character was in the “Ace Ventura” sequel, which was done immediately after the first one. Did you have a preference for your approach to catching up with someone 20 years later? And Jeff, I don’t believe you’ve ever done a sequel before. How did you find the idea of revisiting a character that you’ve played in the past?
JIM CARREY: I like to wait until the executives pass on before I do a sequel. (Laughter) Yeah, I prefer that. I like to bury them and then do the sequel. (to Jeff) What about you?
JEFF DANIELS: I haven’t done much at all, of anything, so it was very nice. To be honest, it was a little bit like “The Newsroom.” The closest sequel experience that I had was to come back a second season, to come back a third season. Those are sequels, sequel-like. So when we got the call to do this, it was like, “Oh, it’s kind of like doing more seasons of ‘Newsroom.’” It wasn’t that jarring. We were talking about it earlier. I think the reason why the sequel happened was because over the years the fans kept coming up to both of us going, “When?”
CARREY: It was a fan driven thing. They couldn’t leave us alone.
DANIELS: The appeal of it wasn’t just 12-year-old boys. The demo kept getting wider and wider, and so it kind of demanded that it get done. We all wanted to do it. So it got done.
CARREY: And it’s cooler to wait. A sequel, when you wait 20 years, becomes a chicquel. (Laughter) You see that, baby!
DANIELS: It’s a word. It’s a word. Look it up. Look it up.
CARREY: I could work in advertising.
DANIELS: A chicquel?
CARREY: Yeah. I think I just coined a huge phrase that’s going to change everything for everyone.
Q: Peter and Bobby Farrelly were saying a little bit earlier that you guys have very different styles. Jeff, you just come in and shake your head and then you’re there. And Jim, they said you really prepare for six months beforehand.
DANIELS: Wow, wow! What a crock of shit that is. (Laughter)
CARREY: Yeah. I wouldn’t say six months. I start thinking dumb stuff maybe a week or so before. You can’t trust anything that those guys say. I don’t even know. It’s just that Lloyd is a part of me now. It’s kind of strange. I whacked the tooth out and some parts you have to really totally get into the politics of the character and everything. There are a couple things with Lloyd: you whack the tooth out and you think really selfishly. You just go, “Mine, mine, mine!” in your mind. But also the love between the characters, that’s important. You can get away with anything as long as there’s real love between the characters. It’s like “The Honeymooners.” They were yelling at each other through the whole show, but you knew that Ralph loved Alice. So that’s the bottom line.
Q: Can you clarify just one thing? Which one is Dumb and which one is Dumber?
DANIELS: Well, it depends which page of the script you’re on. You turn it, and next thing you know, he’s more stupid than you are. And then you turn the page and you do something that’s just…yeah. I think it just passes back and forth.
CARREY: Yeah. Everybody gets their chance at the Dumber.
DANIELS: Lloyd leads the way. Lloyd definitely leads Harry into some things. You’d think Lloyd would be the smarter one, and next thing you know, we’re face first into the wall.
Q: How much over the past 20 years have you actually thought about these guys, and do they hold a special place in your lives as they do for fans?
CARREY: Well, for me, every character that I do is something special to me. (Burps loudly) Pardon me. Wow! You’re free. Enjoy. (Laughter) It’s the free range burp, that was. Just why hold it? Why hold it? I’m an authentic person. Why would I do that? I could sit here all day long… We do it. We all do it.
DANIELS: I just farted.
CARREY: You did? A minute ago. It’s not there yet, but you guys are not going to like it.
CARREY: Whoa! Oh brother! What was the question? I don’t even remember who asked the question. Where’s that guy again?
Q: Have your characters been as special to you as they have to fans?
CARREY: Definitely special. Every time you score and you have a great character relationship in a movie or something like that, it becomes like your babies. It is a special thing. And the fans made it special because they were constantly reminding me. I don’t remember yesterday. I pretty much live in the moment and I’m right here. I like to burp in front of people when I first meet them. Anyway, they are special.
DANIELS: They’re real people to us.
CARREY: I mean Lloyd feels like a separate person from me. Absolutely.
DANIELS: I always imagined, no matter what it is, that Harry is alive and well, and some day he’s going to come and see the movie. And then he’s going to meet with me and tell me how I did. I mean, that’s a little game I play that you owe it to Harry or McAvoy or whomever you’re playing to do them as authentically and believably as possible, that you’re going to have a dinner with them later and you hope it goes well.
CARREY: Lloyd is going to ask me who I was doing. That guy’s really funny. Who is it?
Q: I’m one of the millions of fans who’ve been waiting for this sequel for years. Do you wish some of the things from the first film had returned in the sequel?
DANIELS: That there would be repeats of certain things coming back? I think they did a great job. Jim and The Farrellys really worked on the script. Here come the Mutt Cutts. Here comes Billy.
CARREY: I made sure the Mutt Cutts van was there at least, that there was a visit. But I thought it was funny to just go for the Mutt Cutts van and destroy it.
DANIELS: Just destroy it. (Laughter)
CARREY: Yes. That’s kind of my personality.
Q: We talked with Kathleen Turner earlier, Jeff, and she thought her approach to acting was similar to yours because of all the stage experience you both have. Jim, she said your approach has changed a lot since she first met you on “Peggy Sue Got Married.” Could you guys talk about working with her on this film?
CARREY: My approach was not to get fired on “Peggy Sue Got Married.” That was about it. That was all I knew. Nah, I was just being a donkey on that movie. She was a big, big deal back then. She was the first big star I worked with. She was great then and she’s such a trooper now, too. It was amazing that she did this. You know, there’s no ego in comedy. Keenen Wayans used to say that to me. You’ve got to throw it out the window. There’s no place for it. And it was really true. She just jumped in and did the most thankless possible choice. I love her for it. She’s amazing.
DANIELS: To walk up to Kathleen Turner and go, “Excuse me, sir.” (Laughter) You hope that day goes well.
Q: Were you nervous about doing that scene with her?
DANIELS: Oh, not nervous, but just going, “Here we go!” And you know what, right off the bat she plays along.
DANIELS: Right off the bat. It was just great.
Q: What was your favorite scene or the funniest scene you guys filmed?
CARREY: Funniest scene? Oh man, that’s a really hard question. Do you have another question? (Laughter) It’s really hard to choose what the funniest scene is because that’s not really up to us. I think that’s up to the audience. Things happen in the first movie that we didn’t think were going to be big deals, like the Slurpee line. I get that all the time. You just don’t know what people are going to grab onto.
DANIELS: I really liked the stinkaroo scene.
CARREY: That’s going to make it really hard for waitresses.
DANIELS: Thank you. Please hold the applause. No, I really liked that. It’s going to change how people behave, and waitresses are going to hate us for the next 20 years. I really enjoyed it for a couple of reasons. One, I thought it was hysterically funny. And two, all three of my kids are in it. We were talking about this earlier. The Farrelly Brothers do that a lot. They bring in friends, FOP’s, friend of Pete’s, friend of Bobby’s. You’re constantly acting with some friend of Pete and Bobby’s.
CARREY: From school.
DANIELS: From school. From Rhode Island.
CARREY: This guy helped me do my homework in the 10th grade.
DANIELS: Yeah. You’re going to be doing a long scene with him. My daughter was one of the extras and my son played the bartender. He had one line. And my son’s a musician and he’s got a song in there just as we walk into the bar. So, hats off to the Farrelly Brothers. They do things like that to make it feel like a real family experience for them, but also for somebody like me. I really appreciated that scene.
CARREY: You know what’s interesting, it’s like we’re sitting here with these microphones and stuff (gets up and walks away) and you can still hear me over here. It’s just all a big show. It’s weird. I find that strange. We can all just be standing and having a cocktail party. We could. (Laughter)
DANIELS: We could.
CARREY: The funny thing is this is how you do it. People will be lost in space. They won’t be anchored. It’s very strange. That’s what I think about.
Q: Was your daughter Jane in the movie?
CARREY: Jane in the movie? No, no. She wasn’t.
DANIELS: I was a little more aggressive about it. It was part of my deal.
CARREY: Or I walk.
DANIELS: Or I walk. Yeah.
Q: But she has a song in it?
CARREY: Her music is in it. That’s right. She’s got music in the movie. I’m so sorry. Music in the movie, that’s right. I thought you meant as an actor. No, she’s got two songs in the movie. Yeah. Beautiful songs.
Q: Jim, the Farrelly Brothers said that you called them after seeing this movie on television saying that you wanted to do the sequel. Did you catch it from the middle or did you start from the beginning?
CARREY: I don’t remember any of that, but here’s my answer and it’s only for Eric E. (Laughter) I don’t remember the genesis of this whole thing. It’s been a lot of years of listening to fans and stuff like that. I did call him at some point and say, “First of all, we’ve got to work together period.” But that group of guys… As you get older, you value these things. It’s like I want to be with the gang again. I want to hang out with him (referring to Jeff Daniels). I want to hang out with the Farrellys. It’s just really about that. It’s about let’s go have some fun. Let’s go do something dumb. And also, the audience that saw it when they were kids has grown up and now it’s a new audience to have fun with. They want to see it again. I don’t know if that answered your question, but I’m making sound and that’s the important thing. (Laughter)
Q: Where do you see these characters in another 20 years? Are they going to look any different? Are their personalities going to be any different? Or are they going to be exactly the same?
DANIELS: I think they’re exactly the same.
CARREY: Lloyd will have lost an eye in a bar brawl. “Harry?!” They don’t have an arc. There’s no arc.
DANIELS: There’s no arc for these two. They’re gonna fall into their graves stupid.
Q: Was it easy to get back into character? Did you watch the first movie again or is it fresh in your mind?
CARREY: Well, the movie pops up every once and a while. That’s usually how I watch my movies. It’s like 10 minutes at a time when they pop up in different places.
DANIELS: That’s enough. Yeah, I’m the same way.
Q: Was the chemistry the same the first time as the second time? Were you more comfortable the second time around?
DANIELS: Better. It was better.
CARREY: The first one was a discovery. You’re meeting a new friend. You’re kind of shy about it. And then now, it was like family.
DANIELS: You’re hoping it works, and then from day one on this one, it was right there. Every day was fun. The first two weeks, it was just the two of us. I mean, we didn’t bring Kathleen in yet, so we were slamming every day, all day, and it was a great two weeks. It really was. And it came back right away. The first scene was jumping off the bus.
CARREY: We were coming off the bus together, and we saw the playback and it was like, “Ah! They’re back, man.” It just kind of gave us a good feeling. It was like old friends. I tried to tell them to turn it into a vampire movie just to hedge our bets, but no go.
Q: Jim, now that you’ve done this sequel…
CARREY: How do you get…?! You got two questions, man!
CARREY: What the hell? (Laughter)
DANIELS: Mine, mine, mine!
Q: Are there any other movies in the past that you hope to sequelize like maybe “Ace Ventura 3”?
CARREY: Chicquelize… You know, I don’t know. I don’t concentrate on sequels. (to Jeff Daniels) I think you’re doing “Gettysburg,” right? You’re doing the sequel to that?
DANIELS: We did. It was a prequel and six people saw it. That made no sense whatsoever.
CARREY: So yeah, I don’t think about doing those things. I’m not as resistant as I used to be to them. There are certain characters that I would have loved to have done sequels to. I would have loved to have done a “Lemony Snicket’s” sequel because it was just an opportunity to do a lot of whacked out characters and stuff like that, but I don’t have hard, fast rules creatively. If it sounds fun in the moment, I’ll go there. And that’s it for you with the questions. (Laughter) Thank you, guys.