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New Line plans a prequel to "Dumb & Dumber"14 Feb 1998
By Michael Flemming
NEW YORK (Variety) - South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have signed on with New Line to script the prequel to Dumb & Dumber. The deal will pay a guaranteed $1.5 million upfront, with salary bumps if the film gets made and becomes a box office hit.
A large fee for a writing assignment, the deal reflects Parker and Stone's growing market value, along with New Line's high hopes to continue the "Dumb" franchise. The original, which starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, posted the highest domestic gross of any New Line production, with $130 million.
It's just the latest in a flurry of deals for Parker and Stone, who are nearing a rich deal to turn "South Park" into a feature.
The "South Park" characters' obsessions with bodily functions made Parker and Stone a perfect match for the lowbrow humor of "Dumb & Dumber," particularly since New Line decided to refocus the franchise toward a younger demographic.
The original was written and directed by Peter and Bob Farrelly, who might still do a sequel with the original cast. That could take years, and New Line decided to quickly go a prequel route that will focus on the simple-minded brothers at the age of 16. With that mandate in mind, New Line production president Michael De Luca went right to Parker and Stone.
De Luca, like many young studio execs, became a fan after viewing two enterprising short films by the duo that the general public has never seen.
First was "The Spirit of Christmas," an obscenity-laced short that somehow mixed a death battle between Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.
Parker followed that by directing "Your Studio and You," a spoof shown at the first Universal retreat after Seagram bought the studio. Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sly Stallone and others appeared in an "instructional video" on how to improve the studio, with suggestions including painting the imposing Black Tower a more pleasant plad, and adorning the guard gate with porcelain deer.
Parker and Stone were repped by William Morris and attorney Kevin Morris of Barnes Morris Wolf & Yorn.
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