The Farrelly brothers’ Dumb and Dumber To, which will reunite two of cinema’s greatest dolts when it hits theaters this Friday, features a lot of the stuff you remember from the first film: non-stop stoogery, road trips, extremely annoying sounds, the Mutt Cutts van, and much more. However, it’s a new addition to the running gag list that really stands out.
Or doesn’t stand out, as it were.
Rob Riggle plays not one, but two of the sequel’s antagonists: a pair of twins, who along with a duplicitous adulteress, try to track down Harry and Lloyd after the idiots get swept up in their inheritance scheme. One of the twins is an expert in disguise, so skilled at painting himself into various backgrounds that he practically turns invisible. The effect is good enough to raise a few startled chuckles out of audiences, and that might be partly due to the fact that the sibling directors opted to use in-camera effects rather than dress Riggle up in a lycra greensuit and disappear him in post-production. “At first, we actually went through the process of sewing potato chip bags onto a jacket, in true Dumb and Dumber fashion,” says production designer Aaron Osborne. “I wish I had a picture of it, it was ridiculous. We went through a million ideas before we landed on camouflage body paint.”
The filmmakers hired body artist Carolyn Roper to paint Riggle into a variety of scenes, including detailed ones like the fully-stocked vending machine you see in the photo here. “Actually, the vending machine was absolutely perfect for this sort of thing,” says Roper. “You want a nice complicated background. The more complicated it is, the better, almost. The more lines you have and the more things that bend into that shape of a body, the more it’s going to disappear.” Of course, all that minutiae doesn’t add up to a quick process. It took Roper about seven hours to fully camouflage her subject, and because of the necessary exactitude, Riggle needed to stay in situ the entire time.
“I stayed hydrated,” says Riggle, on how he managed. “And don’t forget I was in the Marines for a very long time so I learned how to stand at attention during inspections and stuff. I knew little tricks like not to lock my knees out and move around without really moving around.” And he says it was worth the wait to see himself suddenly appear with rows of chips and candy painted across his midsection. “Hey, that’s where they end up anyway,” says Riggle.