Follow the Sun to California
The dream motivated Farrelly to quit his job and join with a boyhood friend to launch a new productthe round beach towel. Marketed as the Sun Spot, its concept was simple: rather than move your towel as the sun moves, you just move your body.Farrelly and his partner moved to California and worked at the towel business for several years. We made the towels and they were beautiful, but we just struggled at it. We didnt have the resources to make it work. Along came a big towel company that convinced the young entrepreneurs to sell them their product.We were kind of naïve, Farrelly says with a laugh. We signed a deal that said wed make a certain percent when they sold; well, they never sold any. I think we got had.
Meanwhile, brother Peter, whod earned his undergraduate degree at Providence College and a masters in creative writing at Columbia University, had relocated to California to try his hand at writing books. What started out as Bobby giving feedback on Peters stories has turned into a highly successful collaboration between the brothers.
I would just give him some ideas on how to make his stories betteryou know, more of this guy, less of that one, Farrelly says. After a while, we started thinking that we should try to write a screenplay together. We sat down and wrote one, and weve never stopped.Writing as a team has come naturally. The thing about comedy is, somethings really not funny until someone laughs at it. You need two people to make comedy work; you need the comedian and you need an audience.
After nearly a decade of collaboration on a dozen scripts, the pair had yet to have a movie made. The rule of thumb is that the studios will purchase or try to develop about 30 different screenplays for every one they make, Farrelly explains. And we were one of the 30. Wed have an idea, get ourselves into the studio and pitch the idea, and theyd give us enough money to go off and write it.
In addition to screenplays, they sold scripts for television series, including two episodes of Seinfeld.
In 1994, the brothers decided to take the plunge and make Dumb and Dumber into a movie. Part of the difficulty in getting a picture made, Farrelly says, is getting either a director or a name actor to come on board. Once you have one, its easier to attract the other.
So the Farrellys named themselves the directors. Wed never made anythingnot a commercial, an MTV video, we never even made a home movie! Farrelly laughs. But we had written the script, so they couldnt take that away from us.
Perhaps because of their persistence, they attracted enough financing to create a small budget. A lot of good breaks happened right at that point, not the least of which was that Jim Carrey read the script and wanted to make the movie. All of a sudden it went from a low-budget independent movie to the studios becoming interested because Jim Carrey was getting hot, Farrelly says.
Dumb and Dumber was a surprise success, earning more than $340 million.
Scene from Dumb and Dumber (after Lloyd trades in the duos van for a moped):
|"Why Is This Man Smiling?"|
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