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The Number 23 - Jim Carrey reveals numerical obsession

Jim Carrey in The Number 23

Feature by Jack Foley

JIM Carrey seems like the perfect choice to play a character who becomes obsessed by the number 23 – given that he’s fallen victim to the same curious obsession in real life.

When talking about the film recently, Carrey revealed that he became intrigued by the number long before he was offered the script for the film, The Number 23.

“A friend of mine said one day, maybe 15 years ago, I see 23 everywhere. When I said ‘what?’ he started pointing it out to me – license plates added up to it, people’s birthdays and significant dates in history all added up to 23.

“The Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8.15. So I immediately started seeing it too. It was like a disease that caught on in me and I became obsessed with it. Like there’s 46 chromosomes in each human body – 23 from each parent and so on…

“It finished up with me talking to a friend who was a minister and he had a book in his pocket that he pulled out and handed to me; it was the 23rd Psalm. That’s ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd and I shall not want’. It’s all about living without fear and knowing that you’re taken care of. So that became my motto and I go to it all the time.”

So taken was the actor with the number that he even changed the name of his company to JC23 a couple of years ago, while he claims that “the 23 thing” happens to him “about 10 times a day”.

He could scarcely believe his luck, therefore, when he was talking to a friend about the phenomenon, who responded by telling him about a script based around the same themes.

“He gave it to me to read and it was really compelling the way they came up with all the different things. I then gave it to a friend of mine to read and he finished it in about an hour and a half. When I walked back in the room he had it open at page 23 and was circling every 23rd word to see if there was a code.”

It’s this idea that propels a lot of the plot of The Number 23 forward. The film, directed by Joel (Phone Booth/Flatliners) Schumacher from a script by Fernley Phillips, finds Carrey as dog-catcher Walter Sparrow who finds his happy existence beginning to come apart after he begins reading a novel called The Number 23, which his wife (Virginia Madsen) happens to find in a book store.

Discovering that the novel’s hero – a sleazy detective (also played by Carrey) – shares many of the same character traits and life experiences as his own, Sparrow becomes obsessed with its repurcussions, particularly as the novel ends with the detective becoming a murderer. He subsequently attempts to find the mystery author, Topsy Kretts, and prevent the unthinkable – but merely ends up becoming increasingly paranoid and teetering on the brink of insanity.

The film is now playing in UK cinemas, having opened on – guest which date – February 23! Read our review

  1. Awesome…as I have the same fixation with 23. I was born on that date and have the number tattooed on my body

    Maureen Lyons    Feb 27    #