At the time this feature was filmed, Jim Carrey was a top box office magnet. He had already starred in Liar-Liar and The Grinch and would return to do Mr Majestic up at our lake set. He was at the zenith of his film career…so big in fact-he often flew to Universal from Malibu by helicopter. A few days started with Jim delays getting to work late, due to fog at the beach and the copter being grounded.
James Brubaker was a co-producer and his early career takes him back to the days of Combat. He was involved with transportation back then but since moved high up the power ladder. Jim Carrey also produced this film besides being the star. Tom Shadyac is producer and the director.
This show pulled in so much money that a clause in Tom Shadyac’s contract made him have to direct a sequel, Evan Almighty. Jim got out of the sequel and was replaced by Steve Carrol for the part of Evan.
Tom Shadyac and his Shady Acres production company felt forced in to doing the sequel by Universal. The remake spiraled in runaway costs. Large Arks were built in Virginia and Universal. Virginia is Tom’s home down, that’s why he chose that location. It was on Evan Almighty I became friends with Tom, who has a Buddhist background. He is a special human being not motivated by the boat loads of money he was generating. He took pleasure in relationships developed on these sets.
I watched him spend the day with real Monks and share Eastern Philosophy, which he is very involved with. His love for animals is unsurpassed and I spent and hour being checked out by the trunk of a elephant along side Tom. Two elephants, two human examinations by the end of elephant trunks. It was like a communion of man and beast. It’s actually hard to call these loving, caring, respectful animals- beasts. Good old Pachyderm’s is a better description.
Once this large friend is done with it’s head to toe examination, it will have you as pre-approved for life. Tom went from not wanting to due this sequel to doing it on his terms. The show sky rocketed over budget, largely do to animal after animal close ups for all the Ark scenes. We were having fun on Stage 29, that stage was set aside for the animals needed for whatever the next scene calls for.
Evan Almighty would never had been made if Bruce Almighty didn’t rip up at the box office. Universal would do business differently going forward, not investing in high budget features that that might not make a return on the dollars spent, such as Evan Almighty, which struggled at the box office.
Written and lived by Donnie Norden…