May 2003
Bruce Almighty : An Interview with Jim Carrey

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Bruce Almighty: An Interview with Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey is one of those few actors who hasnít really had a bad streak when it comes to films. He and his handlers are smart enough to balance the types of films he makes so that a hit is ensured. After ďCable GuyĒ, he followed that with ďLiar LiarĒ, and ďMan on the MoonĒ, he did ďMe, Myself and IreneĒ. For an actor who makes about $20M per picture, his films usually make the grade. At a recent press conference, Jim Carrey spoke about working on his latest movie ďBruce AlmightyĒ and his feeling towards God.

WM: Do you spend a lot of time challenging yourself?

JC: I think itís important never to look a gift horse in the mouth and never to overlook your talents, what youíre good at and so I really say it sounds like a great creative challenge to me. It doesnít matter whether itís dramatic or comedic.

WM: Whatís the message you think this film is bringing?

JC: We all kind of like to face how we define ourselves. I donít have that many limits on myself. Maybe other people will try to limit me but I donít limit myself. I think this movie is more about somebody being grateful for what they have; sitting in front of a banquet table and saying Ďthereís no grapes, I canít eat that without the grapes.í I think itís about appreciating what you have as well as exploring. My interpretation to the secret to life is donít do anything or try not to do anything that makes you feel like you deserve to lose in life. And be grateful for what you have.And protect what youíve got thatís beautiful too. If youíve got a talent, protect it.

WM: What are your feelings about God?

JC: We always try to humanize him in some way. Heís probably just a shaft of life in a doorway. I think weíve always tried to personalize him. I wanted God in this thing to be the guy who is absolutely dignified and has this austere quality and no nonsenseness to him but at the same time has a sense of humor because God made our sense of humor. We donít get a lot of is God kind of messiní with your head. All of us get to a certain point where weíre screaming at God in our own way saying, Ďwhy are you doing this to me?í We always get to a point where we say, Ďoh thatís what I had to learní but itís always such a long time coming. It was a nice chance to say that. I donít think you can know God unless youíre passionate about him so youíre either screaming at him, enraptured with the idea of being around him or feeling him in your life. Either one of those two ways youíre gonna have some kind of contact; otherwise I donít think heís interested with people who are half interested. My values are spiritual. Iíve always been big about faith.

Everything in my life has happened for a good reason. When Iím on the beam man the blessings just come one after another like rain. Itís unbelievable when Iím in the right place. Iíve gone multi-denominational and Iíve studied a lot of different things. Basically I donít know what God is but I know heís at least an energy that rules all, that walks the earth and I really think there are laws. Maybe theyíre within ourselves, but I call that God too. Iíd love to be Jesus for a day, just to see what that was like. Thatíd be cool man.

WM: How would you assess your career at this point?

JC: My career has been a weird kind of low flying under the radar kind of place. I never made it on Saturday Night Live and all my friends did. I was at the Comedy Store getting standing ovations but I couldnít find my picture anywhere. This is how itís always been for me. Iíve had incredible blessings, unbelievable fortitude and at the same time thereís always a balancing factor to my life and generally what it is, you pick up the book on comedians and Iím not in it. Thatís OK. I think once that happens youíre completely defined and itís all over. Then youíre just doing the same thing, people have figured you out and put you on the shelf that suits you. If I stay kind of obscure thatíd be alright. You do the best work you can. Iíve always concentrated on the work and I donít know what happens all around that stuff like who gets the picture on the wall, who puts you on the shelf that suits you. If I stay kind of obscure thatíd be alright. You do the best work you can. Iíve been in this wonderful place. Iím not saying itís a bad place to be under the radar. Itís a wonderful place actually not to be the person that everybody plays out until they get tired of them and donít want Ďem anymore. I like to be something that you just like all the time. Whenever it comes out itís kind of special. In ĎLiving Colorí I was fortunate enough to have a vehicle where I didnít play a character that was one thing all the time so that I became that character. At the Comedy Store I started to get known doing impressions and stopped doing that because I saw where it was leading and so because I did that I was able to excel to another level without being known as the comic impressionist. In Toronto thatís what I was when I started out I was gonna be the next Rich Little. I like the pocket Iím in; itís a good place. Itís a place that feels like itís not tired.

WM: How was working with Jennifer Aniston?

JC: Brad was constantly haranguing me. Did you kiss her, did you kiss her? No, he came around once or twice, very nice gentleman, really cool guy. They make a great couple, really sweet. Sheís tremendous. We work well off each other because Jennifer is a completely different person than me. Iím a person who just throws myself out there and does wild stuff and sheís like the center of the wheel. Sheís the type of person that can sit there and allow things to come to her. I seek them out and destroy them. Itís a wonderful kind of mix.

Sheís very solid and very centered. You look at all magazines you see her in and you just think itís amazing. Before you know her you wonder why are people so interested in this person. They just never seem to get enough of her and then you meet her and you go thereís a reason. Sheís just a very cool centered person. Sometimes when you meet people like that youíre disappointed at the reality of them. The idea is always better. Sometimes theyíre playing an idea and sheís just being herself.

WM: Any truth to the rumor that youíre a control freak?

JC: I get upset about control about the littlest things; huge things I let go of control. My career itís like whatever, whenever, if it comes it comes, if it doesnít it doesnít. I donít sweat it. Itís the little things like the cap on the toothpaste. If that doesnít go my way, man look out! Thatís where my angst comes out. The little stupid things like the stereoís not working. The huge life things Iím completely cool about.

WM: What would you do if you were given Godís power?

JC: First of all Iíd send anybody who didnít like ĎThe Majesticí to the fiery pit of hell. Then Iíd start a new Utopian society made of people made out of nerf material so I could cave the criticsí heads in and they would pop right out again. No one would be hurt and Iíd get my rocks off. That is of course if there was anybody left to start a new society.

WM: What stories inspire you?

I love stories about teachers. I just canít get enough of those kinds of stories. I love that idea of an adult influence on kids. I had a great teacher and she never really gets credit. In the seventh grade who taught us Beatle lyrics and todayís lesson is ĎEleanor Rigbyí and whatever it means and breaking it down with all the double meanings that were possible. She also kind of harnessed my delinquency into a show at the end of each day. She said if I was good and didnít bother the other students when I finished my work I would be able to do fifteen minutes at the end of the day. I would write material and think about how I would skew the teachers. She confiscated a couple of caricatures I did at the back of the classroom of her and she sent them back to me years later when I was known. If I could teach it would be have to be art.

WM: Whatís this story about you being a hero on the set?

JC: It was a windy day and the trees blew over on the back lot at Universal. I did turn and go, Ďhey look out!í I was right on that. Somehow that turned into I saved everyoneís life on the set. Iíve saved so many and yet thatís what gets printed.

WM: Do you recall your communication with God?

JC: My faith came from a substitute teacher who came to my classroom in Catholic school in grade two for a day. She was an Irish gal who prayed to the Virgin Mary whenever she wanted anything in her life to happen, if she wanted something material sheíd pray to the Virgin Mary to ask God to give it to her and sheíd promise her something. I sat at the back of the classroom and thought that sounded cool so I went home and I prayed to the Virgin Mary at night because my father couldnít afford a bike and all my friends had these mustang bikes and I wanted one with a banana seat. Two weeks later I walked home from school, walked through my living room into my bedroom and my brother came in and said didnít you see what was in the living room. I walked out in the living room and the whole family was standing around a lime green mustang bike with a banana seat. I had won it in a raffle that I didnít enter. A friend of mine had gone into a sporting good store that had this raffle and entered my name separately two weeks before. That just went poing! Basically I donít necessarily ask for material things anymore and it may not be through the Virgin Mary; it may be straight to God or whatever. I have done that my whole life. I just did ĎEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mindí and I did a scene where I had to be a 8-10 year old in a memory and it was being erased and I had to jump on my bike and take off and I showed up on the set and it was a green mustang bike with a banana seat. I hadnít told anybody anything but this is how my life has always been. You would not believe how amazing my life has been from the check that I wrote for myself and everything has had something to do with that power in faith. Iím not a bible thumper but I do believe that the force is with us.

WM: Is there anything that didnít make the cut that will be on the DVD?

JC: There is a shot that we did of me falling out of this airplane, doing a free fall. Iím falling and we had this special effect with a pipe that shot air at a fierce rate into my mouth. My mouth looks like you can see my whole skeleton while Iím speaking. Itís really frightening and when they said cut and all the stuff went off and the fans shut down I couldnít see anybody because they were on the floor below the equipment just losing their minds. But it didnít fit in the movie so itís gotta go on the DVD. In ĎAce Venturaí one guy came after me in a bar and I take out a contac lens and swipe him, Ďyou wanna play with glass huh?í I fight him with my contact lens.

WM: Have you seen the sequel to Dumb & Dumber, Dumb & Dumberer?

JC: Iíve never seen it; I have no idea what itís like. I wish Ďem luck with it. I have a lot of people coming up to me thinking Iím in it. I guess they had a little sin of omission there. They did a lot of campaigning without saying who was in it or whatever so I donít know if they kind of misled people in that way.