We Almost Had A Spike Jonze 'Ace Ventura' Movie
It’s hard to imagine Spike Jonze, the Academy Award-winning award director of Her, directing a movie in which Jim Carrey squeezes his naked body through a robotic rhinoceros’ anus now, but that wasn’t always the case. That’s not because Jonze used to be found directing insane videos for artists like the Beastie Boys and co-created Jackass, but because he once actually wanted to be involved in a film featuring Carrey’s robo-rhino birth: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
For a long time, Jonze’s potential contribution to the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective canon was little more than a rumor. In 1995, when Jonze was a hot-shot music video director, he was asked if it was true that he almost directed Nature Calls, and he replied, “My stepdad sells juicers to a lot of people in Hollywood, and he knew Jim Carrey through his juicing connection. In Hollywood, all the big deals are made through juicing.” The Juicefather sounds like an intriguing movie idea all on its own, but it didn’t really answer the question.
One version of the story going around claimed that Jonze rejected the offer to helm an Ace Ventura sequel because, well, that’s the version that makes the most sense. But then, in 2017, Carrey set the record straight: It was Jonze who approached him about getting into the pet detective business. Yes, the guy responsible for Adaptation and Being John Malkovich was desperate to do a 1990s gross-out comedy, and unlike others in Hollywood, he could sanction Carrey's buffoonery.
Carrey says Jonze came to him and “pitched all kinds of s---” for the movie, but Carrey turned him down because he “had no idea who (Jonze) was.” Or he thought he didn’t know who Jonze was since there’s no way he managed to live through 1994 without seeing the videos for “Buddy Holly” or “Sabotage.”
It also didn’t help that Carrey was already dead set on working with his good friend Steve Oedekerk, director of Kung Pow! Enter the Fist and one of the credited writers behind Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. (There are no records of Jonze lobbying for that one.) Of course, Carrey later came to regret missing out on working with Jonze. He said: “I was like, 'I don’t know, this guy’s new.’ And I’ve been kicking myself ever since.” Hopefully, Oedekerk wasn’t in the room when he said that.
Much later, Carrey made up for his mistake by inviting Jonze to produce Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, that documentary about him being insufferable on the set of the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. Since that proved to be a successful collaboration, could Jonze’s next Oscar nom be for Ac3 Ventura or something?
Only time and, possibly, talking buttholes will tell.
Thumbnail: Warner Bros. Pictures