If Brett Favre knew then what he knows now, the retired quarterback would not have taken the cameo role in the smash hit comedy There's Something About Mary.
The future Hall of Famer admitted this week that he had no idea he was the third choice for a role as Cameron Diaz's ex-boyfriend in the popular 1998 romantic comedy. In an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly said they initially approached Drew Bledsoe and Steve Young before settling on Favre.
Bledsoe was the brothers' top pick because they grew up in Rhode Island and were lifelong New England Patriots fans. But Bledsoe declined, as the filming was taking place shortly after Bledsoe made headlines for jumping off the stage at a concert and he wanted to focus on football.
Young, whom Diaz's character admits to having a crush on, declined for religious reasons.
“[After Bledsoe turned it down] we went to Steve Young," the brothers told Eisen. "And Steve Young called one day and said ‘That’s the funniest script I've ever read. But I cannot do it, because if I do it, it’s R-rated, and I know all the Mormon kids will be sneaking in and I wouldn’t feel good about that.' Stand up guy … then we went to Favre."
The film turned out to be a huge hit, the highest-grossing North American comedy from 1998 and an instant classic. It sparked the careers of both Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz. While Favre was smart not to quit his day job, his role is remembered fondly by fans of the film:
When the film debuted in 1998, Favre had just been named NFL MVP for the third straight year and he was coming off two consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. He joked that he wouldn't have done the movie had he known he was the directors' third choice, but looking back on the experience he says he had a good time.
"I just remember it being a lot of fun," Favre told Eisen. "It was something very different from what I'd been used to. If I ever felt like a rookie, this was the time. The guys were patient, very nice, enjoyed the crew. My wife and I went down, went out to dinner with the whole crew."