Imagine a universe where Spike Jonze‘s big screen directorial debut wasn’t the critically adored mindf*cksnuggle Being John Malkovich, but instead the second Ace Ventura adventure. (The one where the pet detective was in a rhino’s butt.) It was nearly a reality in the ’90s, but red carpet muser Jim Carrey wasn’t interested in Jonze at the time. He says he regrets that decision to this day.
Carrey’s been busy making the publicity rounds as his Kaufman documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond makes the screening rounds. Jonze, a producer on the film, shared the stage with Carrey at the Toronto International Film Festival. Screen Crush reports that Carrey recalled turning down Jonze as the director of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
“I’ve been wanting to do something with Spike forever,” he explained. “I was stupid enough to turn him down to direct Ace 2, cause I had no idea who he was. And he came in and pitched all kinds of sh*t, and he was about to take over the world and I didn’t know it. I was like “I don’t know, this guy’s new.” And I’ve been kicking myself ever since.”
Going by the timeline, Jonze’s body of work obviously wasn’t as polished as it would be, but Spike helmed music videos like the Beastie Boys classic “Sabotage” and the Happy Days homaging Weezer cut “Buddy Holly” on top of other projects ranging for short films to skate docs seems like it would have been worthy. The film originally had Celtic Pride director Tom DeCerchio holding the reins only to have the In Living Color alum’s friend and collaborator Steve Oedekerk take over the role. Let your imagination run wild with what could have been. Ideally with less racism for laffs, please.
Carrey also had an answer at the ready when asked during the TIFF Q&A who he’d like to portray him in a movie. His response? “Ryan Gosling” with zero hesitation. Probably a better choice than the kid that played Ace Ventura Jr., but we’re open to both motion pictures.