Jim Carrey Nearly Starred In This Claustrophobic Thriller From The Early 2000s

Around the year 2000, Jim Carrey was really experimenting with his movie roles. The man best known for twisting his rubber face into a million different wild expressions in films like "Ace Venture: Pet Detective" and "The Mask" was branching out. Alongside silliness like "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Carrey starte taking on more dramatic roles i "Man on the Moon," "The Majestic," and "The Truman Show" between 1998 and 2001, showing that he had the acting chops to take on more than just slapstick comedies. 

Jim Carrey would ride that wave to the lead role in the brilliant "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in 2004, but the actor almost had another major dramatic part during this phase of his career, one that would have made him the center of a deeply claustrophobic thriller. 

One rubber-faced man, one phone booth...

That's right, Jim Carrey almost starred in Joel Schumacher's "Phone Booth," the taut single-location story that rarely leaves the titular calling station, which means whoever took on the role would have to really show off their dramatic chops. The role ended up going to Colin Farrell, whom Schumacher had discovered for his Vietnam drama "Tigerland." Farrell gives a great performance and really sells his character's rude American persona, even if he doesn't quite nail the New York accent. It's difficult to imagine Carrey in the same role, even acknowledging how great he can be in dramas. It just seems like too much face time for someone so addicted to mugging it up, especially after his turn in "The Truman Show." Even when he's playing someone perfectly "ordinary," Carrey tends to bring out the extraordinary.

Schumacher and Carrey had previously worked together on "Batman Forever" in 1995, where Carrey starred as the unhinged Riddler opposite Val Kilmer's Batman. The two seemed to work well together, or well enough for Schumacher to want to bring Carrey back, but eventually the actor backed out and Schumacher put in Farrell instead. 

"Phone Booth" was shot on a tiny budget of $13 million (that's nothing for an action thriller with known actors) and went on to be critically and commercially successful, raking in just under $100 million at the global box office. 

Maybe Carrey could have pulled it off — he's brilliant in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," after all. Instead of thinking about the casting that never was, Carrey fans can check him out in "Sonic the Hedgehog 2," where he plays the mustachioed madman Dr. Robotnik, when it hits theaters on April 8, 2022. It just might be his final film.