When Big Fat Liar premiered in February 2002, the comedy immediately became a fan-favorite film. Following it’s theatrical release, the flick found a home on streaming services where it’s available for young viewers to watch on repeat.
The throwback movie followed the story of a teenager named Jason Shepherd (Frankie Munez) who takes a trip to Los Angeles with his best friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) and, essentially, dismantles the career of huge movie producer Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti) after he steals Jason’s school paper and turns it into a movie. Both Jason and Marty are huge liars, and they both get caught up in some pretty hilarious schemes while trying to get what they want.
“[The blue dye scene] was an idea we had in script form and I can’t remember when it came about, but the idea that if you were kids and you were trying to torment an adult, the idea that you would put dye in his swimming pool and change the color of his skin, struck us as really funny,” director Shawn Levy told Forbes in February 2022, when celebrating the movie’s 18th premiere anniversary. “I do remember that the water didn’t turn blue enough, so we ended up [using CGI], even back then in the early millennium. I remember doing no more than two takes.”
He added, “I’ll say, that was Paul Giamatti in a makeup chair getting airbrushed with blue dye for three hours a day and it was not comfortable — it was itchy. I can’t imagine that’s how we would approach it if we were making that movie in 2020, but Paul did that and was just a trooper.”
Shawn, for his part, has since directed some major movies over the years — and is even an executive producer on Stranger Things — but he said some of his most valuable lessons of filmmaking came from Big Fat Liar.
“When I think back on it, it’s really absurdist humor and it’s out there, but when you’re making comedy — and this was the lesson I learned on that movie — when you’re [doing] comedy, you have to take this leap of faith,” the director told Forbes. “That what’s funny to you as a writer or a director, will be funny to millions of people. It’s a crazy leap of faith, but there’s no other way to do the job. That was the movie where I learned that.”
Scroll through our gallery to see what the cast of Big Fat Liar is up to now.
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