Chuck Russell revealed that a lot of money was saved on special effects after Jim Carrey was cast. Carrey's body movements were so flexible and cartoonish, they didn't see the need to enhance them digitally.
A lot of moments, particularly ones involving the dog, were ad-libbed on set. The scene where Milo won't let go of the Frisbee as Ipkiss tries to stash the money in his closet wasn't planned, and Jim Carrey ad-libbed Ipkiss' frustrated reaction to Milo not being able to run up the wall.
Prior to Cameron Diaz landing the role of Tina Carlyle, the producers had originally suggested Anna Nicole Smith for the role. Ultimately the decision was reversed when they found Cameron Diaz while leaving a modeling agency.
As befits Stanley's obsession with cartoons, The Mask acts like various cartoon characters, most notably the Tasmanian Devil (traveling as a tornado), Pepe Le Pew (romancing Tina in the park), Bugs Bunny ("dying" in the gangster's arms), and Tex Avery's Wolf (seeing Tina in the nightclub).
Based on a Dark Horse comic book series of the same name, which frequently comprised very dark horror stories on how the mask would murder people with cartoon antics. Chuck Russell has said that the movie script started off in that tone before being transformed as a vehicle for Jim Carrey's unique comedy.
Years before Son of the Mask (2005), there were, at some point, plans for 'The Mask II', but that sequel was canceled after Jim Carrey' declined to reprise his role. There was even a contest from Nintendo Power magazine where first prize was a walk-on role in that movie. In their final issue, they issued an apology to the winner of the contest.
An original script idea was for Stanley Ipkiss to meet the street gang that he later encounters as the Mask earlier in the film, getting mugged and having his watch stolen. This is why when his landlady asks him if he knows what time it is, he says, "Actually, no." The scene was likely shot since at least one trailer featured Stanley saying to the gang "I have no money" while listing other things he doesn't have. This scene is not in the final movie. As written, he would have offered them the mask, not knowing its power. Instead the gang just roughs him up and he goes home, which is why he's in shambles in the next scene. Jim Carrey would repeat this theme in Bruce Almighty (2003) when he confronts the gang in the alley.
The line "You love me, you really love me!" after the Mask's "award acceptance speech" in the Coco Bongo is a parody of Sally Field's infamous 1985 Oscar acceptance speech, when she won Best Actress for Places in the Heart (1984). Her actual words were "You like me... right now, you like me!" but it is often misquoted as "...you really like me!" or "...you really love me!" (as in this example).
Jim Carrey was paid $450,000 for his work in the film, a huge bargain for New Line because the deal was signed before Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) became a surprise hit, and made The Mask a hot property for the summer 1994 release schedule; Carrey then inked a $7 million before this film opened to star in Dumb and Dumber (1994).
The Mask asks "Where's a camcorder when you need it?" when police surround him. This is a veiled reference to the Rodney King beating, being one of the first, most notable incidents of police misconduct captured by private citizens on a camcorder.
When Ipkiss puts the mask on in his apartment, and becomes a whirlwind, lightning strikes in the background reveal a back lit image of his skeleton. The viewer will need to play the movie in slow motions as the scene is only 1/10th of a second long.
This movie was based on a comic book which was very different from the typical superhero strips. The original comic book series was adult-oriented, and centered on the mask turning whoever wears it into a psychopath killer, known as Big Head, who slays his victims in gruesome fashion for futile reasons.
The Mask's exclamation of "That's a spicy meatball!" after swallowing the bomb is quoting a famous commercial for alka-seltzer, in which an actor had to eat meatballs for over 60 takes because he couldn't deliver this line.
New Line Cinema did not want Cameron Diaz for the film since she was a model with no acting experience, but director Chuck Russell was so insisted on having her that he threatened not to do the film if he couldn't cast her.
After the Mask pays a visit to the auto body shop, the sign above the door now has pieces broken off that transforms it from saying "Ripley's Auto Finishing" to "Rip Off", showing the mechanics as crooks.
When Stanley wakes from his dream to find Milo licking his ear, a freshly opened jar of peanut butter with a knife sticking out of it is visible on his nightstand, revealing how the crew got the dog to perform.
Jim Carrey does an impersonation of Dirty Harry in the film. Carrey previously appeared in The Dead Pool (1988), the final film in the "Dirty Harry" series. Carrey would impersonate Dirty Harry again in Bruce Almighty (2003).
If you look closely, you will notice that the Mask wears clothing whose patterns match the pattern/color of Tina's clothes. For example, in their first scene together (the dance scene at the Coco Bongo), The Mask wears a yellow zoot suit while Tina wears a white and gold mini-dress (which symbolizes their attraction, for they both are wearing the same color of "yellow-gold/ or banana-yellow"). In the second scene (the Park Serenade scene) The Mask wears black and white French mime clothing (indicating his imitations of Pepe Le Pew) while Tina is wearing black pants, and a jacket with a black and white pattern on it ( the main colors of Penelope Pussycat, Pepe Le Pew's love interest). In their last scene (the scene where The Mask rescues Tina by swallowing Tyrell's bomb and flushes him down the Coco Bongo's ornamental fountain), the Mask wears a pinstriped Mafia suit, while Tina wears a vertical stripe-patterned dress.
Stanley Ipkiss' (in "The Mask" form) exclamation, "It was not me, it was the one-armed man!" was a clear parody of the movie The Fugitive (1993), wherein Dr. Richard Kimble (played by Harrison Ford) was convicted of his wife's murder despite his pleas that the real murderer was, in fact, a one-armed man.
During The Mask's "death speech" he says "tell Tiny Tim I won't be coming home this Christmas". Tiny Tim is a character in A Christmas Carol. Jim Carrey would later voice Ebeneezer Scrooge and the three ghosts in A Christmas Carol (2009).
The interior of the garage where Stanley has his car for repairs is an unused fire station in Los Angeles. The same fire station was used in Ghostbusters (1984) while the exterior shots are of Hook & Ladder fire station in New York the interior was filmed inside the fire station in Los Angeles.
The loaner car from the mechanic is a Studebaker. Two different models are used: the car that Stanley picks it up is a Studebaker Commander State 4-door sedan (1951), in the bridge scene the car that falls apart is a Studebaker Land Cruiser (1950); the difference is noticeable in the bullet nose fitting and the grille.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The DVD/Blu-Ray contains two deleted scenes. One was an opening scene with the Vikings coming to bury the Mask on the shore. Another was in the warehouse after Peggy turns Stanley over to Dorian: she asks for a reward, but Dorian picks her up and throws her into the printing press, with a newspaper printing out that shows her smashed face and says she died that night. This last scene was deleted so that Peggy could be brought back for the hoped-for sequel. It was also deemed too dark by spectators during test screenings.
In the original Dark Horse comic book series of the same name, the character of Stanley Ipkiss was much different, aside from very few similarities. As opposed to being portrayed as nice and lovable in this film, he was portrayed as very vengeful and murderous in the comics.
In the film, Stanley Ipkiss as The Mask gets his revenge on the mechanics by destroying their business and shoving car parts in their rear ends. However, in the original comics, Stanley Ipkiss as The Mask, or better known as the Big Head Killer, actually kills them by shoving car parts into them and mutilating their bodies.
Similar to Stanley Ipkiss's character portrayal between the comic books and film, Lt. Kellaway's personality is vastly different in the original comic books. While Kellaway is shown to be more abrasive and surly in the film, he was more respectable and compassionate in the comics.
Though Stanley Ipkiss didn't have a girlfriend until the end of the film when he'd finally got with Tina, in the original comic book, he was shown to be in a relationship with a woman named Kathy. Kathy would go on to be one of the principal characters in the original The Mask comic books.