Bruce Almighty writers Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe reveal an abandoned, darker sequel to the original film.
Famously, Jim Carrey dislikes doing sequels. In fact, he even dislikes sequels he agreed to star in, with his disparaging comments about the violent content of Kick Ass 2. Nevertheless, many of his films are so popular, audiences are eager to see characters like The Mask and Ace Ventura again.
While those did both get what turned out to be disappointing straight to DVD sequels in the form of Son Of The Mask and Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective (and lest we forget, it was making Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls that primarily put Carrey off follow-ups), Bruce Almighty is the film that seemed tailor made for a follow up.
Of course, Evan Almighty was made as a spin off sequel in 2007, following Steve Carrell’s Evan Baxter as he recreates Noah’s Ark. The film was the most expensive comedy ever made until Men In Black 3 in 2010.
During a chat with SyFy Wire, writers Steven Koren and Mark O’Keefe recalled their pitch for a sequel which would have featured Jim Carrey
Called Brucifer, the plot would have mirrored the original, except Bruce would have got the powers of Satan. While this may sound too dark, deleted scenes from the original do hint at this side of his character, most notably in the iconic ‘Controlling Evan’ scene, which has Bruce giving Evan a never ending nosebleed and setting his head on fire.
Another big change to the sequel involved Jennifer Aniston’s character, Grace – she would have been killed off. Koren explained that “You tend to lose your faith when the world seems unfair, and that’s what got him. It came from a serious place, but we were gonna write it in a very friendly way. We certainly didn’t want to depress people. So I think that scared [the studio] a little bit, but to Jim’s credit, he totally understood that we were going to make a big comedy and thought everybody would connect with it.”
This would have led to Bruce resurrecting Grace as a zombie. O’Keefe explained that “It was going to be the Trials of Job, essentially”. He went on to describe Brucifer as “the most cost-effective sequel imaginable,” given how they planned for Beelzebub to either be played by Freeman or Carrey himself. Totally different themes, of course, but the beats everyone enjoys.”
Other insights from the chat included their original choices for Bruce prior to selling the spec script, which were Chris Farley, Jim Breuer or Will Ferrell, Koren being acquainted with them from his stint as a writer on SNL. They credit Steve Oedekirk, with whom Carrey made Ace Ventura, with changing Bruce’s job from car salesman to reporter, leading to some of the best gags in the film.
Legacy sequels seem to be in vogue at the moment, and even Carrey himself seems to have softened to the idea, starring in Dumb And Dumber To and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 in recent years. Still, he’s also hinted that he’s less interested in making films now. It feels like Bruce’s moment might have gone…
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