About The Production
Filmmakers Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly have long been recognized for their distinctive, envelope-pushing comedy style. Who could forget Jeff Daniels dealing with
the intestinal aftershocks of a powerful laxative in the Farrellys' debut feature,
"Dumb and Dumber"? Or Ben Stiller getting his "beans and franks" caught in his zipper, and Cameron Diaz sporting some organic "hair gel" in "There's Something About Mary"? And Jim Carrey waging war with himself in "Me, Myself and Irene"?
But the Farrellys have long insisted that beneath their outrageous cinematic antics lies a heart, and characters that audiences can root for. "For our movies to succeed, audiences must care about the characters," insists Peter
Farrelly. "You want Ben Stiller to get together with Cameron Diaz in 'There's Something About Mary', and for the schizophrenic cop played by Jim Carrey to figure out the way to
Renee Zellweger's heart in "Me, Myself and Irene." Audiences laugh, certainly, but they walk away from a Farrelly brothers film feeling good.
For their latest directorial effort, SHALLOW HAL, the Farrellys have upped the emotional stakes. The film has all the visual and verbal humor audiences have come to expect from a Farrelly comedy, but for this unconventional love story, the filmmaking duo wanted to zero in on the heart, as well as the funny bone. "There are a lot of laughs in this movie, but it's not just about the laughs," explains Peter
Farrelly. "It's really about the story, about a guy who finds his soul and realizing what's truly important."
Bobby Farrelly agrees that SHALLOW HAL represents a new direction for him and his brother. "Peter always said we hadn't made our best movie yet because while we'd made people laugh, we hadn't made them laugh and cry. SHALLOW HAL is our most emotional film." Adds the
Farrellys' longtime producing partner, Bradley Thomas:
"I think SHALLOW HAL is an important film for Peter and Bobby. Their jokes are as funny as ever, but this time they're a bonus. There is a strong message behind the story about seeing inner beauty, when everything in today's society is so focused on the superficial. The movie is like an old-fashioned love story, and the relationship between Hal and Rosemary is really the spine of the film."
The object of Hal's desire is not the lithe and gorgeous Rosemary he sees, but rather a 300-pound woman. While that premise could easily have led to what Peter Farrelly calls a "fat joke movie," he and brother Bobby were careful to avoid any derogatory perceptions. "SHALLOW HAL is a movie about inner beauty," Peter points out. The point of the movie is that the shell shouldn't really matter. What's important is
getting to the heart of a person." Adds Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Rosemary: "The message of the film is very positive and hopeful. I think it's really sweet and coming from the best possible place."
SHALLOW HAL's mix of heart, laughs and emotion sprang from the mind of Sean
Moynihan, a retired computer software marketing executive who had impressed the Farrellys with some humorous letters he had written. Peter and Bobby had so much fun reading Moynihan's correspondence that they encouraged him to pursue a screenwriting career. Moynihan came up with a script called "Eye of the Beholder," about a man who learns to see inner beauty. Intrigued by the premise, the Farrellys developed the script with
Several years and numerous drafts later, the script, now titled SHALLOW HAL, was ready to go. Casting the role of Rosemary, a svelte goddess (in Hal's eyes) who also possesses an inner beauty, was surprisingly easy: The Farrellys wrote Rosemary with Gwyneth Paltrow in mind — and she readily agreed when the directors offered her the part.
Paltrow's casting, like Cameron Diaz in "There's Something About Mary" and
Renee Zellweger in "Me, Myself and Irene," points to the reality-based nat
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