YouTube
YouTube

14 Alrighty Facts About Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

YouTube
YouTube

Jim Carrey’s physical, over-the-top comedy was a staple of the sketch comedy show In Living Color. But it wasn’t until he starred as the titular pet detective searching for Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins’ mascot, in 1994's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, that Carrey achieved super-stardom. Here are some facts about the film to read with the laces out.

1. IT WAS DIRECTED BY SOMEONE WHO ONLY HAD ONE (MADE-FOR-TV) MOVIE ON HIS DIRECTING RESUME.

Despite the belief it was a “Fletch for the ‘90s,” Morgan Creek could not come up with a way to get Jack Bernstein's script for Ace Ventura made. So the production company's CEO hired Tom Shadyac (Bob Hope's youngest-ever joke writer) to direct the film, despite his inexperience. (They had been impressed by a short film he had directed.) It was Shadyac’s idea to go after Carrey for the lead.

2. RICK MORANIS WAS MORGAN CREEK’S FIRST CHOICE FOR ACE.

Rick Moranis was approached about the lead, but turned the filmmakers down. In 1994, the year Ace Ventura was released, Moranis starred in The Flintstones and Little Giants.

3. CARREY WORKED ON THE SCREENPLAY AFTER IN LIVING COLOR TAPINGS.

The screenplay is credited to Bernstein, Shadyac, and Carrey, but writer Steve Oedekerk (who would later write and direct Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) and Carrey would work on jokes for Pet Detective from midnight until 4 a.m. after working “15- or 16-hour” days on the Fox sketch comedy show. Oedekerk described himself and Carrey as “two giddy idiots tossing jokes around.”

4. THE ASS-TALKING STARTED AT IN LIVING COLOR.

Frustrated one day with Keenen Ivory Wayans’s constant rejection of his pitched sketches, Carrey stood up and read a sketch from his butt, in Wayans’s direction. The two almost fought before Wayans walked out of the room. "Later, we sat down, talked, and everything was cool," Wayans said.

5. THE MOVIE'S CATCHPHRASES WERE BY DESIGN.

Shadyac claimed in the DVD commentary that Carrey came up with “Alrighty then” and other lines specifically because he thought they might catch on. The hand gesture Ventura gave before leaving the police station was also something Carrey intended to become popular. It did not.

6. LAUREN HOLLY AUDITIONED FOR MELISSA.

Lauren Holly and Carrey met during auditions. She would later co-star with Carrey in Dumb & Dumber, which was also released in 1994. The two were married from 1996 to 1997. Courteney Cox landed the role of Melissa.

7. CARREY BASED VENTURA ON A SMART BIRD.

“I based Ace Ventura off of a smart bird,” Carrey told James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio. "A cockatiel or a parakeet of some kind. The clothing I picked was all ... like a colorful bird, a tropical bird. The walk was bird-like. Everything was about a bird, when I spoke … Everything was based on a bird, even the hairstyle.”

8. CARREY SPECIFICALLY WANTED THE BAND CANNIBAL CORPSE IN THE MOVIE.

Jim Carrey was a fan of the death metal band and requested that they make a cameo. Cannibal Corpse turned them down at first, because they had a European tour lined up. The band got another call a few days later to say they had rearranged the shooting schedule so that there would be no scheduling conflicts. Once they got to Florida, Carrey met the group and requested they play “Hammer Smashed Face” in the movie.

9. RAY FINKLE WAS UWE VON SCHAMANN. AND SEAN YOUNG.

Miami Dolphins kicker Uwe von Schamann was born in Berlin, Germany and moved to Fort Worth, Texas at 16 years old. He played for the Dolphins for six seasons, including in Super Bowl XIX in January 1985, when the Dolphins lost to the 49ers 38-16. Footage of Finkle missing the field goal was of von Schamann. The Dolphins team picture with Finkle was, in fact, Sean Young—in a wig and fake mustache. Pete Stoyanovich, who was at the time the real kicker for the Dolphins, kicked for Finkle/Einhorn at the warehouse.

10. SHOOTING THE SEX SCENE AT ACE’S APARTMENT WAS NOT EASY.

"All the animals had to be chained to their positions," Courteney Cox remembered. "But the squirrel would get loose and jump on the penguin. The penguin would bite the cockatoo and soon all hell would break loose and I'd find myself under the blanket with a macaw."

11. THE CRYING GAME SPOOF WAS ADDED LATE.

It wasn’t in the screenplay, as The Crying Game was not released until production on Ace Ventura was already under way. Using the music and the idea for parodying it was a last-minute decision.

12. SHADYAC WAS WORRIED THAT THE MOVIE MIGHT END HIS AND CARREY'S CAREERS.

“When I first saw Jim, I thought he was doing stuff that was so new it was scary,” Shadyac admitted in 2011. “There was fear when I showed Ace Ventura to an audience because we thought maybe we were ending our careers. There was also fear when we made the choice to play that character so over the top, but we moved through it because we thought there was something really fun there.” The film ended up making over $107 million worldwide. Shadyac would go on to direct two other Carrey movies: Liar Liar (1997) and Bruce Almighty (2003).

13. THE DIRECTOR’S CUT IS SHORTER THAN THE THEATRICAL RELEASE.

Shadyac’s “when in doubt, leave it out” approach led him to cut the scene where Ventura poses as the dolphin’s trainer in the theatrical cut, only to add it to the DVD and every time it’s broadcast on TV. He also took out a part in the Finkle house when Carrey made hand puppets off the movie projector light (it would be recycled for When Nature Calls.) A subplot where Ventura successfully convinces a gas station employee to delay killing himself was also dropped because it was deemed too dark for the movie. A similar reason was given for cutting a dream sequence involving thousands of pigeons.

14. THERE MIGHT BE A REMAKE.

In 2015, Morgan Creek announced it was hoping to keep the rights to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective with the intent of remaking the movie.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Twentieth Century Fox
Big Is Coming Back to Theaters for Its 30th Anniversary
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Break out your giant piano: Big is coming back to theaters! As Entertainment Weekly reports, the hit Tom Hanks-starring comedy will be making its triumphant return to the big screen to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and 20th Century Fox.

Though the movie itself was released on June 3, 1988, these special anniversary screenings will take place next month. More than 700 theaters across the country will welcome Big back into cinemas on July 15 and July 18, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. screenings on both days.

Though the role of Josh Baskin—a teenager who magically gets his wish to be a grown-up, with both hilarious and dramatic complications—seemed tailor-made for Hanks and his talents, the production wasn’t all smooth sailing. Originally, Steven Spielberg (whose sister co-wrote the script with Gary Ross) was attached to direct, with Harrison Ford in the lead. When Penny Marshall came on board, Hanks was her first choice, but he passed on the part (as did Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks, and a string of other in-demand actors). Robert De Niro was attached for a time, but that eventually fell apart, too.

Fortunately, the project came full circle and Hanks was eventually convinced to come aboard. He earned his first of five (and counting) Best Actor Oscar nominations for the role.

Visit the Fathom Events website to find out if Big is coming (back) to a theater near you

[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Columbia Pictures
10 Fun Facts About Can’t Hardly Wait
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

When the teen film Can’t Hardly Wait—which was named after the Replacements song of the same name—arrived in theaters on June 12, 1998, it grossed $25,605,015 on a $10 million budget. In the 20 years since, the movie has found an even larger audience through DVD and cable. The premise follows Preston Meyers (Empire Records’s Ethan Embry) trying to connect with his dream girl, Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), all the while seeking advice from his best friend, Denise Fleming (a pre-Six Feet Under Lauren Ambrose).

Originally called The Party, most of the movie takes place during a rambunctious graduation party, featuring a before-they-were-famous cast, and Jenna Elfman as a stripper dressed as an angel. The movie culminates with Preston and Amanda sealing their romance and living happily ever after. Written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the two would later team up for Josie and the Pussycats. Here are 10 fun-filled facts about the ’90s teen comedy.

1. THE PLOT WAS BASED ON LOGISTICS.

Can't Hardly Wait was Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan’s directorial debut, so they liked the idea of having a self-contained and low-budget story to direct. “It was all practical,” Elfont told TIME. “The idea of doing a movie set at a party came first, because it seemed like it would be really cheap to shoot a movie in one location. Then we thought, what hasn’t been done? Nobody’s really done a high-school movie in a while. So we kind of fell into it that way. It was kind of an accident.”

2. SEVERAL SCENES IN THE FILM WERE CHANGED TO AVOID AN R RATING.

A year before the raunchy American Pie was released and jumpstarted R-rated teen films, Can’t Hardly Wait got watered down to get a PG-13 rating. Sony had issues with the underage drinking, and the fact there was no parental supervision at the party. “Well, who would have a high school party and have your parents there?!” Hewitt asked the Los Angeles Times. Seth Green, who played the virginal Kenny Fisher in the movie, gave a rundown of deleted or altered scenes, to Vulture.

“When [Jennifer] Love [Hewitt] first walks into the party, there’s a kid behind her holding a balloon and covering his mouth,” he said. “That used to be a beer bong, but the most expensive CG in the movie was [used] to make it [look] like that kid was smiling and holding a balloon. And then, there’s a scene where Charlie [Korsmo] and Peter [Facinelli] are at the piano. They toast, and then they cut to a wide shot where neither of them are drinking and then cut back to a close-up of them putting their glasses down because you can’t show the kids drinking.”

3. ETHAN EMBRY FORCED HIS WAY INTO PLAYING THE LEAD.

“It had been a while that I had the opportunity to play the ‘guy that gets the girl,’” Embry told VH1. “I had done those roles when I was a lot younger and this was the first time that someone would see me as a lead.” After Embry auditioned for the movie, he got offered the William Lichter part, which eventually went to Charlie Korsmo. But Embry turned the supporting part down. “I wanted to play the guy who gets the girl. That was sort of the driving thing.”

4. MELISSA JOAN HART AND JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT GOT “HIGH” ON B12 VITAMINS.

Hart purposefully chose the small role of the manic Yearbook Girl, as she was working full-time on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and couldn’t fit in a bigger part. While filming a night scene with Hewitt, Hart took B12 vitamins to stay energized, and offered them to a skeptical Hewitt, who thought the vitamins were drugs. “I finally convinced her it’s a vitamin, you can do it,” Hart told TV Guide. “So we took B12 vitamins, and then there was an owl in the tree. [Hewitt] was like, ‘See I’m high now, because there’s not really an owl in the tree.’ We were having these silly night giggles and just attributing it to B12 vitamins.”

5. JASON SEGEL HAD A CAMEO.

The actor was a year away from starring on Freaks and Geeks and seven from How I Met Your Mother when he signed on to play Watermelon Guy. Kaplan and Elfont recognized his talent immediately. “We knew how funny Jason was but there wasn’t a bigger part for him, so we were, like, let’s cast him as this watermelon guy,” Elfont told TIME.

Many other actors either got their start in the movie or became more famous as a result, including Lauren Ambrose and Freddy Rodriguez (both from Six Feet Under), Clea DuVall, Selma Blair, and Sean Patrick Thomas. “Everyone in that age range came in to read because there were no other jobs,” Kaplan told TIME. “That whole crop of people who turned out to be so talented and do so well for themselves afterward were in our movie literally, I think, because there was nothing else for them to do.”

6. EMBRY DOESN’T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT THE SHOOT.

Embry admitted to VH1 to being “the world’s biggest stoner” while making the film. “Nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time,” he said. He also confessed, “I haven’t seen the movie all the way through ... I never read the script.”

One thing he did remember, though, was the only scene he filmed with Hewitt, at the end of the movie. Before their characters kissed at the train station, Hewitt—knowing he smoked—had a basket of breath mints sent to Embry’s trailer. “And there was a basket of breath mints, you know? Like real pretty,” he said. “Like almost you give somebody flowers or a fruit basket but she gave me 50 breath mints. And it’s all different types. It was all very sweet. And that always makes me laugh thinking of that. Aww, Jennifer wanted me to smell good.” Embry took advantage of the gift and popped some breath mints into his mouth before filming. “They were rather nice cottonmouth alleviators,” he said during a Reddit AMA.

7. EMBRY DOESN’T KNOW—OR CARE—WHAT HIS CHARACTER'S LETTER SAID.

Early on at the party, Amanda finds and reads Preston’s letter and spends the rest of the film trying to find him. It must’ve been a powerful letter, because it finally brings them together at the end. “It was a prop! It was an envelope,” he told VH1. “I think I remember the directors asking me if I knew what was in there. It was a prop. It doesn’t matter. Like I know what’s in there? It’s called acting.”

8. THE CAST WOULD LOVE TO DO A SEQUEL.

In 2015, some of the cast reunited at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of the film. Hewitt tweeted: “Can’t Hardly Wait reunion movie anyone? Let’s get them to make it!” In a 2013 interview with VH1, Embry was tepid about a sequel. “Maybe if they paid me more than last time,” he said about a second one. “[He and Amanda] would have to not be together anymore. Amanda and him had a horrible breakup and there were kids involved. He drinks himself silly over a typewriter. I’d make that sequel.” But in a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post, Embry changed his tune. “Of course I would be thrilled to work with any of the players involved again,” he said. “If all the stars aligned, I would be happy to entertain that possibility.”

Peter Facinelli, who played Amanda’s ex-boyfriend Mike Dexter, told IFC his thoughts on a sequel. “You know how the whole movie takes place at the high school party? We could have the whole movie take place at the reunion. I thought it’d be a fun movie.”

9. PETER FACINELLI THINKS MIKE DEXTER TURNED INTO A LOSER.

If a sequel did occur, Facinelli has an idea about what happened to Mike. “Now he’s basically the loser,” he told IFC. “The nerd was the loser in the first movie. Now he’s like the loser and then he kind of climbs back and gets back on his horse. And the nerdy kid is now the Bill Gates who is kind of like the Mike Dexter, bossing everyone around. I think [Dexter’s] just literally a loser. He’s filled with self-doubt and he would basically rise to self-confidence again and come back on top.”

10. EMBRY THINKS PRESTON AND AMANDA ENDED UP WITH WEIRD JOBS.

VH1 asked Embry where he thinks the characters would be today, and he said: “She’s j*rking off dudes in Vancouver, and he’s making horror movies in upstate New York.”

Elfont took a more serious approach to the question, for TIME. “[The on-screen text at the end of the movie] says they’re still together,” Elfont said. “Who am I to argue?”

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios