Daniel Stern’s Missed Opportunity with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Daniel Stern, recognized for his iconic roles in films like Home Alone and City Slickers, also had a knack for directing. In 1993, Stern showcased his directorial skills in the movie Rookie of the Year, where a Little League baseball player becomes a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. However, it was recently revealed that Stern was once offered the opportunity to direct the comedy classic Ace Ventura: Pet Detective but ultimately turned it down. The actor explained that despite receiving numerous offers after the success of Rookie of the Year, he couldn’t pass up on the lucrative chance to star in Home Alone and City Slickers sequels. This left Stern torn between financial security and venturing into the director’s chair.

Stern’s decision not to direct Ace Ventura may have left fans wondering what his unique vision could have brought to the film. The original Ace Ventura, released in 1994 and directed by Tom Shadyac, propelled Jim Carrey’s career to new heights and became a box-office success. While Shadyac undoubtedly did an excellent job, having Stern guide the film’s direction could have offered a fresh perspective and possibly added a different comedic touch to the already outrageous story.

Despite turning down the chance to direct Ace Ventura, Stern continued his directing endeavors in various television projects. He directed episodes of The Wonder Years, a show in which he also served as the narrator, portraying Adult Kevin Arnold. Additionally, Stern directed the series Manhattan, a historical drama centered around the creation of the atomic bomb. Despite these notable directing achievements, Stern confessed that he considered directing For All Mankind but ultimately felt it was too monumental of a task due to its technical complexities.

Currently, Stern stars in the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind as Eli Hobson, the newly appointed administrator of NASA. This role allowed Stern to explore both his acting skills and his passion for the cosmos. While his decision not to direct Ace Ventura may have been a missed opportunity, it seems that Stern has found fulfillment in playing pivotal characters in projects that captivate audiences and delve into captivating storylines.

Daniel Stern’s journey in the world of directing is filled with both missed opportunities and accomplishments. His decision to prioritize the financial stability and success of his acting career, particularly through blockbuster sequels, demonstrates the challenging choices actors face when given the chance to explore their capabilities behind the camera. However, Stern’s dedication to directing television projects and his current role as Eli Hobson in For All Mankind showcase his ability to adapt and thrive in different creative spaces. Perhaps the missed opportunity with Ace Ventura ultimately led Stern towards projects that were more aligned with his artistic aspirations.


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