Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was filmed in Miami, FL, in the early part of 1993. During production, no one could have predicted that more than 25 years later it would have a cult following, or that it would be recognized as the film that basically launched Jim Carrey's career as a movie star. After all, the director (Tom Shadyac) was making his feature film debut, it was filmed on a modest budget, and Carrey was known mainly as a stand-up comic and a member of the ensemble cast of the television sketch comedy show In Living Color.
During the making of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the star and director worried that the zany, heavily improvised film could end their movie careers before they even really started. "I knew this movie was going to either be something that people really went for, or it was going to ruin me completely," Carrey admitted to the Los Angeles Times shortly after the film's release in 1994.
Courteney Cox, Carrey's love interest in the film, had her own fears - of the animals that surrounded her and the other human actors.
In the end, the film became a surprise hit and quickly spawned a sequel. Here are some of the more interesting and funny of Ace Ventura's behind-the-scenes stories.
Did you know Cannibal Corpse is the best-selling death metal group of all time? Despite the fact that countries like Germany, Russia, and Australia at one time or another banned sales of their albums and/or prohibited them from performing live shows, and politicians like Bob Dole have condemned them for "undermining the national character of the United States"?
But the band did have many fans. Among them was Jim Carrey - who was determined to have Cannibal Corpse appear in a cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. "We got a call from our record label, Metal Blade, saying that they’d got a call from Jim Carrey’s people saying that he wanted us to be in this movie he was making," Paul Mazurkiewicz, the band's drummer and co-founder, told Vice in 2015. "Of course, that’s not a call you’re expecting to get. It just didn’t compute, you know? But it was a phone call, simple as that."
The band liked the idea but worried they'd be portrayed in a comedic fashion. "We’re a brutal death metal band, and we’re serious about what we do. This seemed like it would be a cool opportunity, but we didn’t want to be made to look like fools or to be laughed at," the Cannibal Corpse drummer explained. "But they assured us that we were going to be portrayed as Cannibal Corpse - they weren’t gonna make fun of us."
They met Carrey for the first time on the film set. "They took us over to the [actors’] trailers, and Jim comes over to us wearing his Ace Ventura garb, going, 'Oh my god! Cannibal Corpse! It’s so great to have you guys here!'" Mazurkiewicz told Vice. "Then he starts rattling off lyrics and tells us he wants us to play 'Hammer Smashed Face.' It was insane." The drummer added, "He [Carrey] and Tom [Shadyac], the director, were so cool to us. They said, 'Whatever you guys want, let us know.' We were treated like kings. It was so crazy."40Alrighty then?
When Cox was cast as Carrey's love interest in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the actress had one major obstacle to overcome - she was petrified of animals. In a 1994 interview, she admitted this fear made a love scene where she and Carrey are surrounded by a menagerie of animals the "worst scene in the movie." She claimed she was afraid to look at the animals between takes, instead keeping her head under the covers.
It got so bad that one scene she had to do with a monkey ended up being cut from the film because she was shaking so badly.20Alrighty then?
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was determined to turn down an offer to appear in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective - until he met the film's star.
"He [Jim Carrey] came into this restaurant dressed like Ace Ventura, like the pet detective with the tutu and everything - running around and messing with people, all the stuff he does in the movie," Marino told fellow NFL QB Peyton Manning on a 2019 episode of the latter's Peyton's Favorite Players ESPN+ show.
How could Marino turn the role down after all that?
"I was laughing my butt off the whole time," Marino admitted about his first meeting with the star. "I'm like: 'It can't hurt. I'll do it.'"20Alrighty then?
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was Jim Carrey's breakout film role.
In an interview with Inside the Actors Studio, Carrey revealed he based the character of the pet detective on an intelligent species of bird: "A cockatiel or parakeet of some kind... Everything was based on a bird, even the hairstyle."41Alrighty then?