Who could have predicted that a film about a man with talking butt cheeks co-starring Tone Loc would have been such a hit at the box office? Besides being an incredibly successful film for Warner Brothers, it skyrocketed Jim Carrey to movie star status. (It also gave millions of 14 year-old boys the ammunition to annoy the hell out of everyone for the rest of the decade.) It was inevitable that he would go on to bigger things after In Living Color, but probably not even Carrey dreamed Ace Ventura would be his vehicle to $20 million per picture paydays only a few years later.
From Cannibal Corpse cameos to Ace Ventura’s Hannibal Lecter acting connection, here are 15 facts to celebrate one of the stupidest — and I mean that in the nicest way possible — comedies of the last 20 years.
1. Jim Carrey wasn’t the first choice for Ace Ventura. As difficult as it is to imagine another actor in the Ace Ventura role, Carrey wasn’t the studio’s first choice. Actor Rick Moranis was approached about the part, but chose to turn it down and do the live-action version of The Flintstones instead.
2. Death metal band Cannibal Corpse appears in the movie because of Carrey. Cannibal Corpse performed their song, “Hammer Smashed Face” because the Buffalo, New York band was a favorite of Carrey’s in his younger days. Part of the negotiation for his contract with the movie included a concert scene with the band.
3. Carrey also had an influence over the movie’s theme song. The theme was conducted by Ira Newborn and director Tom Shadyac wanted something similar to the Peter Gunn theme. Carrey approached Newborn about giving the theme song more of a “thrash-metal edge,” but test audiences found it too harsh and it was toned down considerably.
4. Ventura’s landlord is named after the landlord of the apartment building Jim Carrey grew-up in. Ventura has a contentious relationship with his landlord Mr. Shickadance, which is probably somewhat similar to Carrey’s own childhood. Carrey’s family had financial struggles when he was growing-up in Canada, and they lived in an apartment building managed by Schikedanz Brothers. Also Uncle Tio!
5. Ventura’s trademark phrase “Alrighty then” came from Carrey’s stand-up act. Ventura’s cadence and trademark phrase didn’t fully develop until after Carrey did several read-throughs of the script. Frustrated with trying to find the right tone for his character’s lines, Carrey used a voice from one of the characters in his stand-up act and applied it to his Ace Ventura table-read.
You might also notice Ventura’s similar manner of speaking to Carrey’s the In Living Color sketch, “Overly Confident Gay Man.”
6. Ace Ventura and Hannibal Lecter are the result of the same method of acting. In the movie, Ace compares Ray Finkle’s room to the prison cell of Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs. When Carrey appeared on Inside The Actor’s Studio, he told James Lipton about his dinner with Anthony Hopkins and the discovery that they had both based their character’s movements off animals; Carrey’s on birds and Hopkins’ on reptiles.
7. Tone Loc was the biggest actor in the movie. As strange as it seems now, Tone Loc was the biggest name in the cast upon filming the movie. Carrey was still just a Living Color cast member at the time and Friends hadn’t premiered yet. Shadyac wanted a name with some credibility to pair with Carrey and Tone Loc sorta, kinda had that in 1993. Plus, he fit the budget.