Jim Carrey Chose Bruce Almighty Over a Role in $4 Billion Franchise

Jim Carrey Chose Bruce Almighty Over a Role in $4 Billion Franchise
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Jim Carrey's been one of the biggest stars since his wacky comedies of the '90s and his steady shift toward dramatic roles since, but he's also turned down some pretty iconic roles. He rejected the part of Buddy in Elf, Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story – and one role that cost him big.

Pirates of the Caribbean is the 16th highest-grossing film franchise in history with $4.5 billion over five movies – an average of $904 per film. Not bad for a movie based on a Disney World ride.

It starred Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who became one of the most iconic film figures to emerge from the early 2000s. The role gave him one of his three Oscar nominations. Depp was not the first choice when Jerry Bruckheimer was casting for Curse of the Black Pearl, the first movie of the series.

Jim Carrey was one of several actors who Bruckheimer had in mind before Depp, and he went as far as reading lines for Jack Sparrow. For better or worse, scheduling conflicts kept him out of the role.

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The shooting schedule clashed with that of Bruce Almighty, a movie that asked the age-old question, "What if I were God?" It was in production at the same time as Curse of the Black Pearl, eventually released only two months before in the summer of 2002.

Admittedly, Bruce Almighty did pretty well. Against an $81 million budget, it raked $485 million in at the box office. Carrey – who was the first actor in history to earn a $20 million payday with 1996's The Cable Guy – reportedly made around $25 million for Bruce Almighty.

Depp, on the other hand, has reportedly made over $300 million from Pirates of the Caribbean. His first portrayal of Captain Jack only netted him a $10 million salary, but that number quickly ballooned. Starting with the second – Dead Man's Chest – his base salaries increased, and he demanded a share of box office profits. For the fifth installment, he reportedly made $90 million in total pay.

Despite missing out on the massive paycheck that came with the Pirates franchise, Carrey has been able to have an incredible two decades in the business.

Carrey and Depp both have a penchant for absurd portrayals, so the prospect of Carrey playing Jack Sparrow is an interesting one. But without having been tied to a single franchise, Carrey was able to break from his traditional mold of films. He's starred in thoughtful dramas, children's movies, and dark thrillers, only occasionally dipping back into the slapstick comedy that made him famous.