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THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

The Characters
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY began its journey to big screen mayhem when the Farrellys and Beddor found an original story, written in 1989, by veteran television writers Ed Decter and John J

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY began its journey to big screen mayhem when the Farrellys and Beddor found an original story, written in 1989, by veteran television writers Ed Decter and John J. Strauss (Boy Meets World, The Closer).

"After we finished Kingpin, we were looking for something to direct, and called Ed Decter, who is a friend of ours," Peter Farrelly offers. "We rewrote it with Ed and John Strauss; it was a real collaboration. Of course, we added our particular brand of humor."

Bringing that particular brand of humor to life was a talented trio of actors, who quickly entered into the anarchic, yet touching spirit of the piece. To make this happen Ted had to be written and acted as both pathetic and sympathetic. "You always run the risk when creating a character, like Ted, who becomes somewhat unlikable because he's a victim and a loser," producer Charles B. Wessler observes. "But Ben Stiller was able to have fun with these various disasters that happen to him, so you end up loving him and rooting for him."

Stiller's comedic skills were essential in making the story work. "Ted has to be sympathetic," says Peter Farrelly. "We really have to be behind Ted because the world dumps on him. I can think of no one other than Ben who could have played Ted. He's one of the best comedic, reactive actors out there."

Knowing what was in store for his character made coming to work sometimes difficult for Stiller. "It's hard to be cheerful," Stiller acknowledges, "knowing your role calls for your head bashed into a chair, or your thing caught in your zipper. It was not easy to be Ted."

In searching for the right actress to portray Mary, the Farrellys campaigned for Cameron Diaz to embody their alluring title character in the film, and pushed back the film's start date to accommodate her schedule.

"Mary is sort of the ideal girl," Diaz comments. And does the actress find much in common with her character? "That's difficult to answer," she shares, "because you always see yourself in your character. But, although Mary did seem familiar, I always approached her as a character."

But one of her directors begs to disagree. "Cameron is Mary," offers Peter Farrelly. "Like Mary, Cameron seems like the ultimate woman. Every guy on the set was crazy about her."

Concurring with his brother, co-director Bobby Farrelly confesses, "Her character is supposed to be the most appealing woman in the world. And, everybody likes Cameron. She's beautiful, sweet, fun and nice " a great personality."

Matt Dillon's Healy is anything but sweet and nice. "Healy is just an out-and-out scoundrel, "Dillon declares. "He's got a shady past, is very cynical and a little bit of a loser in his own way."

Although he has acted in numerous films, Dillon was a relative newcomer to comedy. He found working in the genre a refreshing and very different experience. "Comedies usually move faster; things have to be a bit more spontaneous," the actor notes. "It can be difficult because there's a lot of timing involved. You're stretching things a lot, so it's difficult finding a balance. A good comedy forces you to embrace the character, to become the character."

The fact that Dillon was an Actors Studio student with only a few comedi

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