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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of ‘There’s Something About Mary’

R-rated comedies can be a tough sell, especially in the '90s when most comedies were either PG or PG-13 to cater to a broader audience. There’s Something About Mary behind-the-scenes stories prove, however, there were production companies willing to risk adult humor. 

Peter and Bobby Farrelly were not scared to push the envelope. In making There’s Something About Mary, the Farrelly brothers wanted to pay homage to one of their favorite comedies from the '70s, National Lampoon's Animal House. They were able to compile raunchy, politically incorrect, adult humor into a film that balances over-the-top gags with plenty of heart. At its core, the Farrelly brothers' 1998 film is a sweet romantic comedy - once you get past the hair gel scene and the franks and beans incident - and what happened behind the scenes of There’s Something About Mary could almost be its own film. 

  • Photo: There's Something About Mary / 20th Century Fox

    Markie Post Was Cast As Mary's Foul-Mouthed Mother For 'Shock Value'

    In the film, the character Ted gets to go to the prom with the beautiful and totally cool Mary. Unfortunately for Ted, he doesn't make it to the big event with the girl of his dreams. He picks Mary up at her house and goes to the restroom while he is waiting for her to get ready. Ted gazes out of the bathroom window looking at the birds, and when he goes to zip up his dress pants, he gets his "franks and beans" caught in the zipper.

    The scene is one of the most memorable in the movie and is highlighted by Markie Post as Mary's mother. Most people knew from Night Court. To see her in an R-rated raunchy comedy, during one of the movies filthiest scenes was a juxtaposition of audience expectations. 

    Turns out, that is exactly what the Farrelly Brothers were going for when they asked her to play the part. Post explained how she almost turned down the role:

    They just wanted the shock value. I’m easily offended. I had read the script and I thought, "I can’t possibly do this movie," but I went in to meet them and they were just wonderful. Of course, I did it and I'm very glad I did, but my first impression was, "I can't even let my parents see this," which they never did.

  • Photo: Kingpin / MGM

    The Filmmakers Had To Call In A Favor At 20th Century Fox Due To 'Kingpin's' Poor Performance

    Hollywood movie-making is a fickle business. The Farrelly brothers struck gold with their freshman film, the 1994 buddy comedy Dumb and Dumber. Just two years later, they went from the top of the Tinseltown food chain to the bottom when their sophomore effort Kingpin flopped at the box office. 

    Tom Sherak, an executive at 20th Century Fox still believed in the brothers, however, and said "to bring him the next project [they] were passionate about," according to Bobby. "[They] warned him [they] were going to push the envelope, and he gave [them their] opportunity to make the film [they] wanted to make."

    Sherak's confidence in the Farrelly Brothers paid off big time. According to Box Office Mojo, There's Something About Mary brought in over $300 million at the worldwide box office on a $23 million budget.

  • Photo: National Lampoon's Animal House / Universal Studios

    'Animal House' Inspired The Filmmakers To Push The Film's R-Rated Comedic Boundaries

    In the 1990s, there were not many new R-rated comedy movies. The industry shifted and most of the comedies being produced were either PG or PG-13. Bobby Farrelly explained, "There hadn’t been an R-rated comedy in a long time."

    The Farrelly brothers decided to ignore Hollywood trends and really go for it. They were inspired by one of their favorite movies growing up and said, "We wanted to do something more for adults. We weren’t going to hold back. Animal House was a movie we loved growing up. The jokes those guys were willing to attempt is what motivated us."

  • Photo: There's Something About Mary / 20th Century Fox

    Brett Favre Was Only Cast As Mary’s Boyfriend Because Both Drew Bledsoe And Steve Young Turned The Role Down

    The Farrelly brothers told Rich Eisen in 2014 that Brett Favre was not the first or second choice to play Mary's old flame in the comedy. Having been raised in Rhode Island, the long-time New England fans wanted then-superstar Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe for the cameo spot. Bledsoe, however, was unavailable after hurting his neck in a mosh-pit incident. 

    The brothers then turned to San Francisco quarterback Steve Young, who thought the script was hilarious. Still, Young had to turn down the cameo because the film was R-rated and he was worried about his reputation in the Mormon community. 

    They finally landed Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who enjoyed appearing in a feature-length movie despite the fact that it was out of his comfort zone. "I was honored to be a part of it. It was funny," said Favre.