Jim Carrey vs. Jeff Daniels: Which ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Actor Made More?

In 1994, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels took the world by storm in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy, Dumb and Dumber. Both Carrey and Daniels went on to other big projects such as The Cable Guy and The Newsroom. But, which of the two actors received a higher paycheck for Dumb and Dumber?

Jeff Daniels wasn’t the first choice for the role of Harry in ‘Dumb and Dumber’

Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey
Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey | Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

While it’s hard to imagine Dumb and Dumber with any other two actors than Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey, Daniels wasn’t the first consideration for the role.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, creators of the film, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, said their studio didn’t want Daniels to play the role of Harry.

“Jeff Daniels was not the obvious choice because he hadn’t done any, you know, out and out comedies before that,” Bobby said. “He was always comedic in his roles.” 

However, the Farrelly brothers had a soft spot for Daniels after seeing him in the 1986 comedy, Something Wild. He had great chemistry with Carrey during script readings so they fought for him to get the role.

“The studio didn’t want him,” Bobby added. “They said, ‘Please, anyone but him. Get a comedic actor.'”

We all know how that turned out, but what tipped New Line (the studio) over the edge to cast Daniels?

“Look who I get to react to. Jim is a comedic genius,” Daniels previously said, per Entertainment Weekly.

“There were comedians that wanted it, but he wanted an actor that would make him listen because he knew it was ping-pong, it was back and forth. So I just let him lead, and [Daniels’ character] Harry Dunne was like on a half-second delay to whatever [Carrey’s character] Lloyd would do.”

Jim Carrey’s original offer was a lot lower than what he received

At the time of casting for Dumb and Dumber, Carrey already had a hit on his hands with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He was offered $350,000 for the role, according to THR. However, once Ace Ventura became a mega-success — $12.1 million its opening weekend — his paycheck got a lot bigger.

“As I recall it went something like this, they offered him $350,000 to do the movie and he [Carrey] passed,” Peter Farrelly told THR.

“He [Carrey] wanted like 400,000. And they held off. And then Ace Ventura came out, which was his first movie and it was number one. … So then, you know, they said, ‘Okay, we’ll give you the 400.’ He said, ‘No, I want 500.’ And then they said, ‘No, you’re not getting 500.'”

He continued: “Another week passed, Ace was number one again. And they said, ‘We’ll give you five.’ ‘No, I want 750.’ Long story short, it got up to seven million and that’s what he got paid. The whole budget was 16 million and Jim got seven, which was the most ever for any comedic actor.”

How much did Daniels take home for ‘Dumb and Dumber’?

Daniels was reportedly paid $150,000 per episode of his 2012-2014 run in The Newsroom. But, his payout for Dumb and Dumber didn’t exactly stack up — to the project or co-star Carrey’s pay.

For the first Dumb and Dumber film, Daniels earned around $50,000. That’s far less than his co-star. However, for the film’s 2014 follow-up, Carrey made a whopping $15 million. It’s unclear what Daniels’ paycheck went up to, but hopefully more than $50,000.

Daniels previously told Reuters he enjoys the craft, making the smaller payday a little more doable.

“I love changing it up,” he said. “I love going from Newsroom to Dumb and Dumber. I like that range. I like doing what you’re not supposed to do with your career choices.”

Jim Carrey is the clear winner in this paycheck battle, but considering each of the actors’ resumes, we, the viewers, are the real winners.