Getting Direct With Directors...
Bobby Farrelly
No.8: Bobby Farrelly

What is it about filmmaking that attracts brothers? While the Hughes, Polish and Coen brothers have developed reputations for their quirky American tales, the more mainstream Farrelly brothers have become a by-word for gross-out. Bobby Farrelly - one half of the duo who brung you such gems as Dumb & Dumber; There's Something About Mary; Me, Myself And Irene; and now Stuck On You - sits in the director's chair to answer our questions in characteristically forthright style...

Why did you become a director?

Because nobody else would direct our [Bobby and brother Peter's] screenplays. We would have loved to have found a guy somewhere along the way who'd go, "It's brilliant! I wanna direct it!" But we could never find him so we were forced to direct our own stuff.

If you weren't a filmmaker, what would you be?

I'd say a bookmaker.

What other director would you like to see at work?

Clint Eastwood. Here's a guy who's been involved in so many movies, lots of them masterpieces, and now he's a director. I just like everything I know about him. He's very decisive, he makes up his mind real quick. I think that's the key to being a director: to be able to get the shot and move on quickly. They say he's the fastest in the business, and I'd like to watch a guy who can work as fast and as confidently as he does.

Finding Nemo

What was the last movie you paid to see?

Finding Nemo, which I enjoyed immensely.

What was the last movie you walked out of?

Oh wow, let me think. It was going back some years - I do have a tendency to sit through 'em. You know, I can't remember the last movie I walked out of. If I pay, I'll see it through. I can't be halfway through a movie and think that I know everything that's going to happen, because I hope that I'm wrong. Maybe I'll get to the end and think, "I should've walked out!"

Do you believe in God?

Yes. Definitely.

Who's the most famous person in your contacts book?

Cameron Diaz. You want me to give her a ring right now? Coz I'm always looking for an excuse, you know... I would have to have a reason. Or I'd have to pretend it was about something important.

What's your favourite movie quote?

"That aboy Luther!" from The Ghost And Mr Chicken. Because every time Don Knotts gets up and gives some sort of speech, some guy at the back of the crowd gets up and yells it out. I don't know what it means but it makes me laugh.

Which filmmaker do you consider the most underrated?

American Pie 2, directed by JB Rogers

My initial instinct would be Clint Eastwood again, but I just said him. So I'd say JB Rogers who worked with us [as assistant director on Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary, and Me, Myself And Irene]. The last movie he made was American Pie 2, which was a huge financial success and now he's having a hard time getting his next job. And I don't understand that because he's been very profitable.

And overrated?

I'd have to go with Orson Welles. I think there's a tendency that because someone says it's genius everyone else sorta looks at it and goes "Oh yeah, well I guess it's genius". Maybe if you watched that type of movie and it was made by, say, Larry Jones, you'd think it was neither here nor there.

Who's the biggest pain in the arse you've ever worked with?

No comment.

What's the dumbest question you've ever been asked?

When we made Dumb & Dumber, I was asked if I thought the movie would be offensive to dumb people. I didn't think it would, because I didn't think anyone would be willing to stand up and represent all the dumb people everywhere.

Do you believe in test screenings?

They're a big part of what we do. But I think in some other genres they're not so important and maybe a director just has to stick to their own vision. In comedy, though, it's good to get feedback from the audience about what they find funny. It's a big part of what we do - we test our movies extensively. I'm always there myself. It's sometimes difficult to sit through, especially if it's a version of the movie that's not working particularly well. You have to absorb the pain so that when you get back in the editing room you can (I'll say this in quotation marks) "Cut your little darlings". If it doesn't work with an audience you have to make changes, even if it means not hanging onto the things that are your little favourites.

How seriously do you take reviews?

Peter Farrelly

I take them with a grain of salt, but my brother Pete (pictured) kinda lives and dies with them. I feel reviewers are tougher on comedies in general. They don't take them seriously, and the ones that get great reviews are not necessarily the ones that I like. I just feel I'm on a different page from the reviewers, so I've learned not to care about them too much.

What's your biggest regret?

Erm, I don't really have any regrets.

There are five minutes left till the world ends. What do you do?

Well I'm gonna start masturbating again. Not because the world's ending. I've just gotta get one more in.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

I'm not sure about that one.

And the worst?

OK, I know the worst. When we first started shooting Dumb & Dumber, we didn't know anything about directing. We kinda conned our way into that position and we were afraid we'd be exposed as frauds. A guy who was a friend of ours told us to go on set on the first day and stage this thing where somebody did something stupid and we just immediately fired them on the spot to show our strength. And we thought "What?! No! That's the stupidest thing we've ever heard." And I'm so glad we didn't do it. We wouldn't have done it because it wasn't right. It's exactly against everything we believe.

What performer would you love to work with?

Benicio del Toro. I think he's brilliant, and we like working with guys - or gals - who are very talented. They make us look good.

What film makes you want to spit?

A Clockwork Orange

I didn't particularly like A Clockwork Orange when I saw it. And I know a lot of people really do like that movie, and Iím not saying I'm right and they're wrong. There was a lot of violent imagery in it, and that's something I don't like. I know people watch our movies and they'll see a lot of images - they call it gross-out - that they don't like, and I understand that. It's an important movie and one that's extremely well done, but the amount of violent imagery was not for me.

What are your three favourite films and why?

My favourite film of all time is Jaws, if only because of the impact it had on me when I first saw it. I never remember having so much fun in a movie as watching that shark threatening all those beachgoers. I wouldn't swim in the ocean for at least a year. And wouldn't even go in a swimming pool for half a year!

The second one is Cat Ballou, just because it was a great mix: great music, great acting, some serious matters and lots of jokes. I thought it was a real fun romp. I think the last one would have to be The Godfather because it was such a powerful story. There was lots of violence in it but I could take it because I thought there was a reality to it. It wasn't gratuitous, it was just these guys' story.

What do you think of Norman Wisdom?

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with him.

Stuck On You is released in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd January 2004.

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