ME, MYSELF AND IRENE
The Farrellys' brand of humor always surprises — sometimes even their own cast members. "There's good taste, there's bad taste, and there's Farrelly taste,"
Renee Zellweger exclaims. "I've never done anything like this in my whole life, ever! You can't imagine some of the stuff these guys come up with. I still can't believe it. My dad's not going to believe it. My dad can't see this movie!
"You know, they go into what's taboo and they bring it out, and we laugh at it because we all know it's there but we won't address it," Zellweger continues. "And, they throw it up on the big screen, and it's hysterical. It's hysterical when they pull out things that we're all kind of scared to talk about, or things that make us most embarrassed about ourselves being human. Once it's up there and in your face, you can't help but laugh."
"I don't think people use the word 'mature' with us often," jokes Bobby
"Believe it or not, the first thing we think about is not the laughs, but the characters," offers Peter Farrelly. "We want to create characters that audiences will love enough for us to get away with murder. That comes first. We will only go as far as that character will allow.
"What we want and need for our movies to succeed is for you to care about the character," Peter elaborates. "Like you cared for Ben Stiller in 'Mary' and you cared about Jim Carrey in 'Dumb and Dumber', and the way we want you to care about Jim in 'Irene.' We want people to have a lot of laughs, then come away feeling good."
"We're just trying to make people laugh," Bobby Farrelly concurs. "It's hard to do that nowadays, particularly without breaking boundaries. You need to push the envelope or do something that people are not expecting. I think we probably do that, and I hope we are at the forefront of that kind of comedy."
"Of course we offend some people," Peter intercedes. "But our general rule is, if we offend more than we don't offend, we cut it. We've discovered in our test screenings that people will not laugh if it's truly offensive."
"How do they keep within the limits of taste?" asks Bradley Thomas. "They don't. They cross the line ... totally cross the line. They know when to pull back, but I think their goal is to go as far as possible. They're not making fun of anybody, but they poke fun at everybody. They create characters that are very likable, but that aren't necessarily winners. It's the underdogs in their films who turn out okay.
The underdog characters of ME, MYSELF & IRENE took some time to get to the screen. The script, written initially in 1990, was polished after the success of "There's Something About Mary." At the same time, the Farrellys were considering another project, "Stuck On You," as their next directing effort. However, when Jim Carrey expressed interest in IRENE, it became a top priority. The Farrellys again re-wrote the script, this time with boyhood friend Mike Cerrone, who had helped conceive the story a decade earlier.
"We knew it was good, but we felt this script was haunted because it had been around for so long," Cerrone contends. "Then Jim Carrey read it and contacted Peter and Bobby and said he wanted to do it. That made it happen."
Although Carrey had a commitment later in the year, the IRENE team was determined to nab him. Says producer Bradley Thomas, "IRENE is huge star vehicle, one that rarely comes along for a comedic actor. We needed a guy who could play two personalities. I knew it would attract a big comic star. It just screamed 'Jim Carrey!"'
In ME, MYSELF & IRENE, Carrey plays what Peter Farrelly calls "the nicest guy in the world. He has it made, and he has a great job. Everybody loves him. He marries a woman he's crazy about, and she's crazy abou
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