Hollywood history is littered with stories of what ifs and maybes, as actors pick one role over another for a variety of reasons, before occasionally regretting their choice later. But instead of thinking long and hard about whether or not to take the role of Harry Dunne in “Dumb and Dumber,” Woody Harrelson decided that the best way to make the decision was via a game of pool — and the “Dumb and Dumber” cast was never the same.
Woody Harrelson has revealed that he was the original choice to play the Harry Dunne to Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas in the beloved 1994 comedy, having been earmarked for the part by “Dumb and Dumber” co-writer and co-director, and also his former roommate, Peter Farrelly.
“It was shot by one of my best buddies — my one-time roommate, in fact — Peter Farrelly, along with his brother Bobby. They’d had no success at that time, but really wanted me to do the movie,” Woody Harrelson recalled to Shortlist.
“Pete’s a good pool player, so I challenged him to a game and said, ‘If I lose this game, I’ll do your movie — if I win, I’m not gonna do it.’ The game came down to the eight ball — and I’ve never been so disappointed to sink an eight ball in my life. Although, I dunno if I could’ve played that part as well as Jeff Daniels did anyway.”
Doesn’t that story just make you love Woody Harrelson even more? But while Harrelson probably found himself sick with disappointment after “Dumb and Dumber” went on to gross $247.3 million and become one of the most beloved comedies of the 1990s, he was finally able to work with his old pal in their 1996 follow-up, “Kingpin.” Unfortunately for Woody Harrelson, “Kingpin” failed to match the success of “Dumb and Dumber,” as it made just $25 million from its $27 million budget. But at least it has since garnered a cult audience.
Woody Harrelson’s upcoming roles in “War for the Planet of the Apes” and the untitled Han Solo movie prove that his career wasn’t completely sabotaged as a result of his adroitness at pool. In fact, this story has only enhanced his reputation as an American national treasure that everyone the world over can’t help but adore.