Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

updated 11/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

>Steve Oedekerk

CALL FROM THE WILD

writer Steve Oedekerk had never directed before taking the helm of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Still, the Ace writer and star Jim Carrey went way back: They had met in 1985 doing stand-up comedy in L.A., worked together on Fox TV's In Living Color and conceived the idea for the original Ace. So when Carrey fell out with director Tom DeCerchio three weeks into the Nature shoot, he turned to Oedekerk, who was already on the San Antonio set. "I expected to stay five days," recalls Oedekerk, 35. "I arrived back at my doorstep 4½ months later. It was Gilligan's Island—a 3-hour tour gone crazy."

What was Jim like when you first met?

Jim was fearless. He went onstage and did whatever occurred to him. When it worked, it was incredible. But when he bombed, he bombed to a degree never before seen. If Jim was going to bomb, he wanted it to be bigger than anyone. That's ambition.

How about sharing an office with him at In Living Color in 1992?

Complete insanity. We worked 18-hour days on the show and then stayed there till 4 a.m. working on ideas for Ace. Around 2 a.m. we would take breaks and photocopy our entire bodies.

How was it directing him?

He goes so nuts that everything can't stay. In editing I had to lose funny stuff, like a gorilla dragging him into the bushes. But Jim and I have an open dialogue. We're both relentless. We work until it's so silly it's impossible to get work done—then we go another hour.

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