Jeff Daniels feared THAT toilet scene in 1994’s Dumb And Dumber would ‘end’ his acting


Jeff Daniels is recalling the time when he thought he had flushed his acting career down the toilet.

In an interview with USA Today while promoting his new Netflix limited series drama A Man In Full, the actor revealed how he took a big risk when he played Harry Dunne in Dumb And Dumber (1994) alongside Jim Carrey.

Daniels said that he was worried the scene where his character endures severe intestinal issues in his love interest Mary Swanson’s (Lauren Holly) bathroom in the hit comedy could be detrimental to his career.

‘It’s one thing to read the toilet scene, but then the day comes and we’re actually going to do the toilet scene,’ he confessed. ‘I told Jim, “This is either the beginning of my career or the end of it.”‘

Keep in mind, not only did his agents try to talk him out of the Peter and Bobby Farrelly film by making the case that he was a ‘serious actor’, he also claims that studio executives didn’t want him either, and proceeded to low-ball him by offering him $50,000 for the job, while co-star Carrey received $7 million.

Jeff Daniels, 69, revealed how he thought the toilet scene in Dumb And Dumber (1994) would flush his career down the toilet, in a new interview with USA Today

Daniels said that he was worried the scene where his character endures severe intestinal issues in his love interest Mary Swanson's (Lauren Holly) bathroom in the hit comedy could be detrimental to his career

Jeff Daniels, 69, revealed how he thought the toilet scene in Dumb And Dumber (1994) would flush his career down the toilet, in a new interview with USA Today

Thinking he wouldn’t accept the $50K for the role of Harry, Daniels called the studio’s bluff and accepted the offer, in a move to shake up his career by doing a comedy.

It turns out the studio preferred to hire a tried and true comedian who could bounce off Carrey.

‘”This is not the direction you need to be going. We’re going to stop this and get you off this movie,”‘ Daniels recalled his agents telling him, during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show in 2021.

At the time in 1993, Daniels was a young dramatic actor with such dramatic credits as Terms Of Endearment (1983) and Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose Of Cairo (1985).

While he was comedic in a number of his roles up until then, Daniels hadn’t done a full comedy film before that. But the Farrelly brothers went to bat for him and knew he was perfect for the film due in part to seeing him in the comedy thriller film Something Wild (1986) with Melanie Griffith.

During the conversation with Eisen, Daniels explained his reasoning for wanting to do Dumb And Dumber and work with Carrey.   

‘Ace Ventura had been out. Big hit. And he had shot [The] Mask, and it hadn’t been released yet when we started shooting. So I wanted to go into comedy,’ he said of his thought process.

He continued, ‘The studio wanted, you know, a comedian, basically, and so, they gave me the first week to shoot, where we shot a lot of my stuff. The snowball on the head, the tongue on the pole and all the skis inside the ski lodge. You know, Harry Dunne scenes. And, they cut them together at the end of the first week, and they liked what they saw and I got to stay.’   

'It's one thing to read the toilet scene, but then the day comes and we're actually going to do the toilet scene,' he confessed. 'I told Jim,

‘It’s one thing to read the toilet scene, but then the day comes and we’re actually going to do the toilet scene,’ he confessed. ‘I told Jim, “This is either the beginning of my career or the end of it”‘

After hearing his stomach rumble, Harry finds a bathroom

Once hit sits down Daniels proceeds to put on an hilarious and animated performance

In the scene ,Harry endures severe intestinal issues in the bathroom of his budding love interest Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) 

Not only did his agents try to talk him out of the Peter and Bobby Farrelly film by making the case that he was a 'serious actor', he also claims that studio executives didn't want him either, and proceeded to low-ball him by offering him $50,000 for the job, while co-star Carrey received $7 million.

Not only did his agents try to talk him out of the Peter and Bobby Farrelly film by making the case that he was a ‘serious actor’, he also claims that studio executives didn’t want him either, and proceeded to low-ball him by offering him $50,000 for the job, while co-star Carrey received $7 million. 

Directed by Peter Farrelly who co-wrote the screenplay with his younger brother Bobby Farrelly and Bennett Yellin, the film also starred Carrey as Lloyd Christmas, a goofy chip-toothed slacker who is best friends with Harry, an almost-equally dimwit.

The story focuses on the duo who stumble across a suitcase full of money left behind in Harry’s car by Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly), who was on her way to the airport. The pair decide to go to Aspen, Colorado to return the money, totally unaware that it is connected to a kidnapping. They ultimately find their friendship and intelligence test when they’re pursued across the country by killers and police.   
Along with Carrey, Daniels and Holly, the cast also features Karen Duffy, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket, Teri Garr, Felton Perry, Harland Williams, Victoria Rowell and Cam Neely, among others.

When it came time to shoot the now famous, or infamous, scene Carrey tried to give Daniels a dose of confidence with a pep talk of sorts.

‘[He] told me, “It’s going to be great. You’ve just got to go all the way with it,”‘ the Athens, Georgia native recalled his co-star telling him.

Daniels went on to reveal that by the time the camera pulled in tight for the shot of his face all strained and red, he had almost passed out doing the scene for a couple of hours, which he referred to as ‘porcelain gymnastics.’

In the end, it all worked out when Dumb And Dumber became a huge hit with fans, grossing $247 million at the worldwide box office against a $17 million budget.

In the end, Dumb And Dumber turned into a bonafide hit, grossing $247 million at the worldwide box office against a $17 million budget

In the end, Dumb And Dumber turned into a bonafide hit, grossing $247 million at the worldwide box office against a $17 million budget

The two stars would eventually reprise their roles in Dumb And Dumber To (2014), which received some negative reviews from critics despite earning $169.8 million at the box office while working from a budget of $50 million

The two stars would eventually reprise their roles in Dumb And Dumber To (2014), which received some negative reviews from critics despite earning $169.8 million at the box office while working from a budget of $50 million

‘In terms of comedic scenes, that toilet scene will probably outlive us,’ he joked. ‘It will be funny 40 years from now.’  

A long-awaited sequel directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly would eventually made 20 years after the original.

Dumb and Dumber To (2014), which was written by the two Farrelly brothers, along with Sean Anders, John Morris, Bennett Yellin and Mike Cerrone, tells the story of the dimwitted adults Lloyd and Harry (Carrey and Daniels), who set out on a cross-country road trip to locate Harry’s daughter, who has been adopted. 

While it received negative reviews from critics, it went on to earn $169.8 million at the box office while working from a budget of $50 million.



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