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FUN WITH DICK AND JANE

About The Production
Producer Brian Grazer has enjoyed enormous success in his collaborations with superstar Jim Carrey. Their films together, Liar Liar and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, were gigantic box office hits and they have been on the lookout ever since for another project on which to pair.

Carrey and his management team had been contemplating a remake of the 1977 comedy Fun With Dick and Jane starring Jane Fonda and George Segal, because they thought its themes had contemporary relevance — a family-oriented comedy that deals with the pitfalls of chasing the elusive America dream set against the backdrop of massive corporate greed. (According to recent economic studies, a generation ago the average chief executive made 40 times as much as the average worker. Today it's nearly 400 times as much).

"One day Jim came to me with this great idea to update Fun With Dick and Jane. It not only had great comic potential but seemed torn from the headlines,” observes Grazer. "He asked if I would be willing to produce it. I jumped at the chance.”

While it's told from a uniquely contemporary perspective, the movie's themes also echoed the great comedies of the 1930s, the golden age of Hollywood. Carrey and Grazer felt the project needed a director who could balance the comedy's physical elements and its underlying satirical aspects without losing its moral center. They turned to Dean Parisot, who had juggled all these elements so successfully in the sleeper-hit comedy Galaxy Quest.

"Dean has this incredible sense of comic timing,” observes Grazer. "He likes to pull back on the joke — just shy of the punch line. And that makes it all the more funny. You find yourself laughing while it's happening, and even more later.” "When I initially met with everyone about remaking this movie,” says Parisot, "I was especially intrigued with how the plight of this couple might play itself out now, at the beginning of the 21st century. By updating this story and putting it in the context of an Enron-like disaster, I thought there was great potential for a new, original, and very funny take on this material.”

The setup of the story was especially tantalizing to Parisot. "Here was this couple who has played by the rules and assembled all the things that define a successful American family,” he says. "They worked hard and moved up the corporate ladder. They had a beautiful boy, in a great school, had bought their dream house … They had everything any of us could hope for. Sure, they were heavily mortgaged and in debt, but this was normal and would be taken care of as soon as Dick got his next promotion — which, happily, Dick does get, only to lose it six hours later when his company goes down in flames. Unfortunately, Jane has already quit her job in anticipation of Dick's new salary. Now, out of work and out of luck, we get to watch them lose everything. Even their lawn gets repossessed.”

The comic potential inherent in the set up was too good to pass up, Parisot continues. "I knew it would be terrific fun to watch Dick and Jane lose their minds and go after the corporate criminal who bankrupted them.”

In finding the right Jane, the filmmakers wanted someone who could keep up with Carrey's highly eclectic and daring improvisation in scene after scene. "She had to have the agility of a physical comedian and the right chemistry with Jim so that the audience would believe Dick and Jane have been together in a loving marriage for ten years,” says Grazer.

"Téa was the perfect candidate,” says Carrey, "because I had seen her comedic work in Flirting With Disaster and thought she was tremendous. She's one of the best actresses working today, so she could bring a tone of reality to the relationship. She has an adventurous spirit and a nervous vulnerability about her that I think makes her exciting and se

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