Q&A: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
“Kick his ass, Sea Bass.” That line has become a classic, another in a long line of cinematic gems from Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the writers and directors behind such classics as Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary. On February 25 the brothers release their latest movie, Hall Pass. But first, the Rhode Islanders — and die-hard Boston sports fans — tell us why they have no regrets over Fever Pitch, and suggest that Bill Simmons man up.
This movie, essentially, is about two married men getting to do whatever they want. Where’d the idea come from?
Peter Farrelly: It was originally written by a guy named Pete Jones. We laughed out loud at his script, but there were issues. So we basically rewrote the entire thing with him. The concept is that a couple of guys get a week off from marriage, so you can’t pull up short — someone’s gotta get laid. The question is, How do you get someone laid and still have an ending people can live with?
Any chance this was all born from Pete’s experience?
PF: No, no. He’s a writer.
Bobby Farrelly: He’s a daydreamer. The man can dream!
Do you guys ever have any brotherly acrimony when you work together? I once tried to do homework with my sister, and she ended up throwing a dictionary at my head.
BF: We’re not saying we could work with our sisters. Like any brothers, sometimes we rub each other the wrong way. But we feel like we’re worth more together than we are individually.
Taking a step back, I’ve always wondered how you guys convinced Cam Neely to play Sea Bass in Dumb and Dumber.
BF: When we were writing the character, we kept saying, “Well, he’s kind of a Cam Neely type.” We said that over and over and then we thought, Maybe we should see if Cam wants to do it. So we reached out to him through people we knew.
So was he enthusiastic and onboard and actually a good actor?
BF: He is a good actor, but it took him a while to find it. He kept thinking, Oh God, what are the guys in the NHL gonna think about this? But he got through that and said, “All right, I’m gonna look more stupid if I don’t commit to it.” And he ended up doing a great job. To this day, people call him Sea Bass.
You guys work a lot of Boston sports cameos into your movies.
PF: We’re borderline sports groupies. We also had Roger Clemens in Kingpin. For Something About Mary, our original choice was Drew Bledsoe, but he’d just had the mosh-pit incident and couldn’t do it. So we went with Brett Favre.
If you did Fever Pitch again, would you still have Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore run onto the field right after the World Series?
PF: Absolutely. It was our cameras on the field filming them for the movie’s ending. We didn’t tell the Fox cameras upstairs to grab them. I don’t know why they did that. I think it confused the moment for a lot of people, and made ’em like, “What the hell?” The whole time we were making this movie, we were extremely sensitive about the drive to the World Series. We never intended to thrust ourselves into the middle of it.
Did you catch a lot of flak in the aftermath?
BF: I think that d-bag Simmons from ESPN.com, he didn’t like it, but I’m okay with that.
Not big Bill Simmons fans?
BF: I have a little bone to pick with him ’cause he feels like he can say whatever he wants about Boston sports and Boston, but [doesn’t like it] if someone else does a take on it, like we did.
PF: This is the first time I’ve ever heard his name, actually. Apparently Bobby’s more aware of him.
BF: Yeah, well he has a tendency to badmouth us. He’s a good writer, he’s a prolific writer, and he’s a smart guy and all of that. I just think he’s a little bitchy — you know, a little girly.
Any other controversies we can start before I let you go?
PF: Ha, is that guy in Boston?
From here, but he’s out with you guys in L.A. now.
PF: Do you know where he lives?