It may be hard to believe but it's been 25 years since The Mask opened in theaters, with the Dark Horse Comics' based film cementing Jim Carrey's status as a bona fide movie star and launching Cameron Diaz's film career. With that significant anniversary on the horizon -- July 29th is the film's original release date -- those involved with the groundbreaking film are taking a look back at how the film came together, including a pretty significant reveal about the Diaz's leading lady role. It turns out, the role almost went to another iconic 1990s figure, Anna Nicole Smith.
In a piece from Variety, director Chuck Russell revealed that he had been interested in Smith as Tina Carlyle, the glamorous girlfriend of mobster Dorian Tyrell and ultimately the love interest for Carrey's Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask. In the piece Russell explains that while he was curious about Smith, she ended up not really being a serious contender, "as I would have had to read her for the part to get that far," he explained. "We met. Anna was charming and bubbling but did not have other qualities needed for the role. I never took the next step to run scenes with her."
Back in 1994, Smith as a major figure. Having appeared on the March 1992 cover of Playboy, Smith soon secured a contract replacing supermodel Claudia Schiffer as a model for Guess jeans. Her career as a model taking off, Smith sought to translate that to success as an actress as well. While she didn't end up with a role in The Mask, she did make her film debut in 1994 in the role of Za-Za in The Hudsucker Proxy. She went on to have a few other, positively-received roles, but was never able break out from the "dumb blonde" persona. Smith ultimately went on to appear in her own reality show on E!, The Anna Nicole Show. Smith died in 2007, a result of an overdose of prescription drugs.
Despite initially considering Smith for the role of Tina, Russell went on to explain that after Diaz's first reading, she was the only person he wanted for the role.
"I saw Cameron's 8x10 on the casting deck and asked, 'What about her?'" Russell said. "I was told she was submitted but had not acted in anything else yet. I said to bring her in and let's see. [Diaz] was the only person for the part as far as I was concerned after her first reading. And then I saw the chemistry with her and Jim [Carrey]. Eight callbacks later, including improvs with Jim, I finally convinced producers."
Can you imagine The Mask with Anna Nicole Smith instead of Cameron Diaz? Let us know in the comments below.
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