The Ace Ventura series launched one of the biggest movie stars in the history of the business. Prior to the release of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Jim Carrey was known as that guy from In Living Color. However, based on the strength of his comedic performance in the film, it was a huge hit and his career was instantly thrust into a whole new stratosphere. In fact, that movie was such a big success that it didn’t even take two years for its sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, to be released to theaters.
Considering the first film in this franchise was such a seminal movie in the minds of a whole generation of comedy fans, you’d think people would know a lot about what went on behind the scenes. However, when it comes to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective that simply isn’t the case among most of its fans, and the masses know even less about the other entries in the series.
In order for a piece of information to be considered for possible inclusion in this list, it must, first and foremost, relate to the making of the Ace Ventura series in one way or another. On top of that, something about it needs to be astonishing enough that it is amazing when you really think about it. Of course, it should be noted that every person’s knowledge base is different, so huge fans may be aware of some things to come.
Here are 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Ace Ventura Movies.
20 Jim Carrey Based His Movements on Birds
One of the best actors of his generation, Jim Carrey has been marvelous in a number of films. The fact is that he is a comedic genius. E ven though his performance as Ace Ventura was hilarious enough to make him a star, most people wouldn’t have expected him to have done a lot of research for the part. After all, one of the best aspects of the film is that Carrey’s performance comes off as being so spontaneous that it seems like much of it was created on the fly, and that is certainly true in some ways.
However, as Carrey revealed when he appeared on Inside the Actor’s Studio, while preparing to make Pet Detective, he observed birds and based his movements in the film on them.
19 Those Black Eyes Were Real
Most of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective's cast members fit their roles because they brought authenticity to their parts. In a great example of that, the actor who played the deliveryman in the film’s opening sequence truly seemed like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with, because he's sporting a pair of black eye, implying that he has recently been involved in a fight. You’d never know it, but that detail was not planned.
The character was portrayed by real-life boxer Randall “Tex” Cobb.
On the movie’s commentary track, it was revealed he showed up on set with those shiners and it was decided that they fit his role.
18 The Catchphrase "Alrighty Then" Came from a surprising place
It's time to look at one of the character’s best-remembered catchphrases; a line that was delivered to absolute perfection by Jimy Carrey. When Ace Ventura: Pet Detective became a surprise hit, many fans walked around saying “alrighty then!"
Another moment that was addressed by director Tom Shadyac on the movie’s commentary track, the line was one of several that Carrey designed specifically to be quotable. However, he also made it clear that some of Carrey' s ideas failed. He also hoped that the motion he made with his fingers after saying “alrighty then” would become popular, but it didn’t.
17 Ray Finkle is Sean Young in a Wig and Fake Mustache
Initially released in 1994, Ace Ventura: Pete Detective is almost 25 years old and, for the most part, the movie’s humor has aged well. That said, the portrayal of the film’s main villain, a trans woman, is nausea-inducing when you watch it today. Portrayed by Sean Young in the film, Lois Einhorn used to be a kicker for the Miami Dolphins prior to her transition. When her previous identity is revealed, she becomes the butt of offensive jokes.
A team photo from her NFL days is shown and Ray Finkle looks nothing like the woman seen in the rest of the film.
Despite that, the movie’s commentary track reveals that Sean Young put on a wig and fake mustache to play the character in the NFL photo.
16 The Direct-to-Video Spin-Off
One of the biggest complaints of filmgoers today is that Hollywood doesn’t have any original ideas. Such a rant is bound to elicit eye-rolls since it is such a common refrain. However, there are some examples of filmmakers making incredibly lazy film sequels, thinking the association to a popular movie will be enough to make it a success.
For example, many years after both mainstream Ace Ventura films became hits, a direct-to-video spin-off was released in 2009-- to the delight of pretty much nobody. Titled Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr., the movie lacked any major stars and currently has a score of 2.1/10 on IMDb, which says it all.
15 Courteney Cox Was Afraid of the Animals, Including the Monkey
At any moment there are legions of actors that are doing their best to make it someday. For that reason, it is common knowledge that if you tell an actor they need to be able to ride a horse to land a role, they will claim they can even if that isn’t the case.
Courteney Cox signed to play the female lead in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective even though she was afraid of some of the animals featured in the film.
In director Tom Shadyac's movie commentary, he revealed that she was even afraid of the monkey she shared scenes with, since it often was at Jim Carrey’s side when he was playing Ace.
14 Rick Moranis Was the first choice for Ace
For some time now, there has been talk of an Ace Ventura remake, but it is hard to imagine. After all, the character is so infused with Jim Carrey’s madcap energy that it feels impossible to recreate. Some fans would even argue that even he didn’t pull off the role during the sequel. With all of that in mind, it is incredible to know that not only was a different actor considered for the part in the first film, but another star was also actually offered the role.
While it is really hard to picture beloved actor Rick Moranis playing Ace, it is pretty interesting to imagine.
13 When Nature Calls' Director Was Fired
One of the biggest surprise hits of the early ‘90s, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was so beloved that its sequel was highly anticipated. With that in mind, when it came time to choose who would direct When Nature Calls, a lot of directors were considered.
Tom DeCerchio had only ever directed a short film, but the powers that be thought he was up to the task.
Sadly, a Premiere report revealed that “Carrey would come to the set and find that he would have to reblock many of the scenes" and he was not happy with the film’s dailies. These problems led to DeCerchio’s dismissal from the project.
12 Jim Carrey Insisted One of His Favorite Bands Appearing in Pet Detective
Several years into his career when he began working on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Jim Carrey had built up a fan base from his time on In Living Color, but he was far from a huge star. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that he would be able to make any demands when he signed on to star in the first Ace Ventura film, but it turns out that is not the case.
Instead, he was able to insist that one of his favorite bands growing up, a popular heavy metal act, got to appear in the movie. Touched on in an interview the band gave to Noisey, they revealed that their label called them and let them know that Jim Carrey wanted them to be in a movie he was making.
11 Jim Carrey Vs the Director and Producers of When Nature Calls
An actor with an image that has only become more complicated over time, Jim Carrey seemingly has little to no interest in being a cookie-cutter, smiling movie star today.
It's clear that he can be pretty uncompromising when he feels passionately about his art.
While it may be hard for some people to imagine him caring deeply about playing a character as silly as Ace Ventura, he clearly threw himself into the role with complete abandon. He cared about the depiction of Ace when he worked on When Nature Calls so much that co-star Simon Callow reported that, during the filming Carrey “was at war with the director and the producers.”
10 Both Ace Ventures movies Were Directed by Newbies
Made for only $15 million and starring an actor on the rise, it seems pretty obvious that when Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was produced, Warner Bros. didn’t have that much resting on its success. After all, even if the movie completely bombed, they would be able to write off any losses if another film was a minor hit. For that reason, it makes perfect sense that Tom Shadyac, a director that had previously only helmed a forgettable TV movie, was put in charge of it.
However, the studio had much higher hopes for its sequel When Nature Calls, yet they put Steve Oedekerk, a director who had only ever helmed a tiny movie that was never released, in charge of it.
9 At the Time of Production, Tone Loc Was the Biggest Star in Pet Detective
Almost entirely gone from the public eye for many years now, the only time Tone Loc pops up these days is when he appears in shows about the ‘90s and ‘80s nostalgia. As a result, it is easy to forget how popular he was in those decades due to releasing the hit songs “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina”. Other than that, his biggest claim to fame is his supporting role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
When that movie comes up these days, people think about Jim Carrey, Courteney Cox, and Sean Young first.
However, if you were around when Pet Detective came out, you may remember him as being the most famous member of the cast, something that director Tom Shadyac brings up during the movie’s commentary.
8 The Shooting of When Nature Calls Was Miserable
At the best of times, the people that work behind the scenes of a movie walk away from their experience with a smile on their face and happy memories to think of for years to come. On the other end of the spectrum, there certainly have been several movie productions that have become nightmares for those involved. Seemingly closer to the latter scenario, several people who worked on Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls have been open about how awful that process turned out to be.
The movie was hampered by a budget that was too small, an ill-prepared director, and a lead actor who often was ill during the shooting process. Nothing seems to have gone as planned.
7 Jim Carrey Worked on the Script for Pet Detective While Filming In Living Color
Unlike Saturday Night Live, In Living Color has been off the air for years, which has led to it largely being forgotten. Truly hilarious in its time, it also launched the mainstream careers of many hilarious actors including Damon, Shawn, and Marlon Wayans, David Alan Grier, as well as Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez. Additionally, In Living Color introduced millions of people to the truly uproarious Jim Carrey prior to him becoming a movie star.
That would have kept Carrey very busy, but when he was preparing to star in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, he worked on its script after In Living Color finished shooting.
6 Carrey's huge payday for When Nature Calls
Jim Carrey was the key factor in whether or not the studio could move forward with an Ace Ventura sequel.
If he didn’t sign on to appear in the movie, it could not go into production.
As a result, he was in a position of power during the negotiating process and was able to demand things like an incredible $15 million payday for appearing in When Nature Calls. While that would be more than enough to make a lot of actors agree to be in a film, he also managed to negotiate the right to approve whoever was chosen to direct the movie. As a result, Carrey had to sign off on the hiring of the movie’s original director Tom DeCerchio and his replacement Steve Oedekerk.
5 Jim Carrey rejected Spike Jonze
One of the most interesting people in Hollywood, Spike Jonze has directed some visually amazing movies like Being John Malkovich, Her, and Where the Wild Things Are. On top of that, he also worked with the likes of Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Steve-O on their famous prank show and movies. It is a huge shame Jonze was not given the opportunity to direct When Nature Calls, as he wanted to do it.
Sadly, Jim Carrey decided he did not want Jonze to direct the Ace Ventura sequel, which is a decision he later realized was a mistake. Carrey spoke about turning down a pitch from Jonze for the Ace Ventura sequel, saying “I’ve been kicking myself ever since.”
4 The Sequel curse
Active in film since 1983, Jim Carrey ended up becoming an international superstar pretty much overnight when his first hit movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was released in 1994. Then he followed that film with other hits like The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Batman Forever, and his first sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, which came out in 1995.
Starring in his first sequel just a year after he became a star made people think that The Mask was going to get similar treatment.
Instead, it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later in 2014 that Carrey starred in his second sequel, Dumb and Dumber To. Considering that Carrey’s experience making When Nature Calls was awful, that likely is why it took him 19 years to make another sequel.
3 Whoopi Goldberg was almost Ace
Earlier on this list, we touched on the fact that Ghostbusters and How I Shrunk the Kids veteran Rick Moranis was offered the role of Ace Ventura and how crazy that feels. However, we left out the fact that he was not the only other actor that at one time was in the running to star in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In fact, producers considered several other actors, including Judd Nelson and Alan Rickman. On top of that, they contemplated giving the part to famed actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg.
She had recently been downright spectacular in Ghost at the time, so it is easy to understand why she was in the running, even though she would have been a very different Ace than Carrey.
2 Actor Simon Callow Made Next to Nothing for When Nature Calls
When he was cast to play When Nature Calls’ main villain, Simon Callow must have been overjoyed to get that part.
Things reportedly went awry when Jim Carrey became habitually ill while the movie was shooting.
This was major problem for Callow, he had made commitments in the UK but Carrey’s illness delayed shooting for the film so much that he was needed on set much longer than planned. He wrote in his memoir that he was encouraged by When Nature Calls’ producers to fly back and forth, butt hat they did not tell him the cost of those flights was being subtracted from his salary. Worse yet, since Carrey’s illness was considered an “act of God” in contract terms, Callow failed to get paid a bonus for all of the extra days he was on set. For both of those reasons, Callow says he got paid virtually nothing for appearing in When Nature Calls.
1 Jim Carrey and Director Tom Shadyac Risked It All
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was loved by many viewers but was written off as being monumentally stupid by most professional reviewers. One of the reasons why the movie was so derided among that group is because the movie embraced its sophomoric antics and Carrey’s performance was so over the top. As they were very aware of both of those facts when they were making the movie, director Tom Shadyac and Jim Carrey both realized the film easily could have failed to find an audience.
In fact, during the movie’s commentary track, Shadyac revealed that he and Carrey knew they had gone really big with the film and were worried that if that failed, their careers could be ruined.
Do you have any trivia to share about the Ace Ventura movies? Let us know in the comments!