Double the funny: Interview with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels

By Zaki JufriMovies - 21 November 2014 3:38 PM | Updated 3:38 PM

Double the funny: Interview with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels

The original 'Dumb and Dumber' took home more than US$240 million (S$313 million) in 1994, and now 20 years later, Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and The Farrelly Brothers return to the big screen with double the stupidity. 

Carrey and Daniels reprise their roles as Lloyd and Harry. Although the pair may have aged, their penchant for slapstick shenanigans has not changed.

inSing caught up with Carrey and Daniels to talk about all things dumb and what it is like to be back working together after two decades. 

Why did you guys want to revisit the world of ‘Dumb And Dumber’? Jim, we understand it was your idea to have Lloyd and Harry back to the big screen? 

Jim Carrey: Yes, because of fan pressure. Total fan pressure, to be honest with you. It was amazing and it got louder and louder as time went on.

Jeff Daniels: (it's) not every movie that you get that kind of response so many years later. If anything demanded a sequel, it seemed that this was the one. 

Jeff Daniels (left) as Harry Dunne and Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas

So the original film began to attract a new generation of fans? 

Carrey: Well, the original movie kept reintroducing itself to new generations on television. It’s a thrill. Kids come up to you and they know ‘Dumb And Dumber’.

Daniels: And guys in their 70s come up to me. Like staunch, conservative, straight down the road with their dry martini, going, “Don’t tell anyone but ‘Dumb And Dumber’...” Then they go back to being important.

Carrey: It’s pretty thrilling.

Could the power of stupidity perhaps save the world?

Carrey: I think ultimately, not (laughs). But it is a medicine of sorts. It’s great for an audience to be able to go in and look at people that are way far-gone and make themselves feel better by comparison. These guys don’t sweat. They’re very myopic. They’re just after what they’re after and they don’t worry about the big picture. For the rest of us, we’re sitting there all day long worrying about the big picture. It’s just nice to have a break from that.

Jim, it was reported you watched ‘Dumb And Dumber’ in a hotel room after not having seen it in ages and that was the lightbulb moment when you decided it was time for a sequel.

Carrey: I don’t remember the hotel room part.

Daniels: It’s brought up a lot, though.

Carrey: I don’t remember that part. But I do remember seeing the movie a couple of times and feeling this desire from people to have another one. So I called the Farrellys and I said, “Okay, I’m ready. I’m convinced. These characters are worth doing again.” I’m not a big sequel guy and I don’t want to do a sequel for commercial reason. Then we tried to track Jeff down and he was very hard to reach. He was off the grid at that point. He was living with Woody Harrelson.

Daniels: I don’t remember a single day of it (laughs). 

Daniels and Carrey with The Farrelly Brothers (in jockey caps)

Are you guys able to improvise a lot on set?

Carrey: To a degree. We have our jokes worked out. But you keep adding and adding. I make it difficult on myself all the time because I’m always thinking of things at the last second that I then can’t remember!

Daniels: It’s very funny. He’s like, “Okay, I got something right here… Just roll it, just go.” And then he gets up there and goes, “I can’t remember what it was.”

How important is humour? What does it mean to you?

Daniels: It’s essential. The Greeks were holding up two masks, comedy and tragedy. Critics need to remember that. I mean look at the world. Well, I can’t speak for the world, but look at this country. We’re worried about ISIS, climate change, Washington, Ottawa, everything.

Carrey: When the Canadians start going off, it’s bad.

Daniels: So here comes a movie where you can get away from that. Look, the world is a very complex place. And if laughter and ‘Dumb And Dumber To' is one of those things where you can go and get away from it all, then I think we’ve provided a service. I think there’s value in laughter. I really do. 

For audiences, comedy is relief. What does it do for you? 

Daniels: I love breaking rules. One of the things I learned from Jim is, there’s no such thing as a bad idea. That’s not what you’re taught in drama school or here in Hollywood. You create an image, you create a brand, and you stick to it – “Don’t go off of that!”

So to come back to this sequel? Oh, the freedom of it was just great.

Carrey: I have a lot of respect for what this craft is and I don’t believe that you should be locked into something without the possibility of changing the way things are done. To me, half the fun is creating something new. (American abstract artist) Jackson Pollock made a "mistake" and it became beautiful. And that’s because he was a madman out in his garage doing crazy things. He dropped some paint and he went, “Hmmm…” That’s what you have to do.

Comedy was like medicine for me growing up. I had a sick mum and my family was in financial trouble. But I also had a father who could tell a story like nobody could and he was very funny. So I was like, “Wait, he really helps people. He makes people happy.” And that was it for me. I wanted to do that. 

‘Dumber And Dumber To’ is now showing

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