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Bruce Almighty - Jim Carrey Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. How cool is it being a movie God?
A.
Jeez, this is why Morgan Freeman isn't doing this with us, right? See Morgan was so confronted with being God and being asked about being God, that he couldn't even come out on the road with us. He couldn't deal with it at all.
Fortunately, I was not God, I was a flawed human being with God's power, temporarily.

Q. I said a movie God, it could be interpreted in more than one way? In terms of being the number one Box Office draw and holding sway over everyone else?
A.
That is like an all you can eat salad bar, baby. It's as it should be. But I love it.

Q. Is there anything you wanted to do as God that Tom wouldn't let you?
A.
There were a lot of scenes, some of which were cut short. For instance, when Steve Correll's on, doing the news, and I'm messing with him, we took it much further. His head burst into flames, and it got really violent and horrible, and Tom just went, 'no, I think it's too much, maybe'. Tom is always there to reign me in.
Tom Shadyac: There were a lot of things that may be on the DVD. Jim discovered Big Foot at one point...
Jim Carrey: After I fall from an airplane, I do a freefall and the parachute doesn't open and I hit the ground and, fortunately, land on Big Foot - so everything is going right for me as a reporter. But that didn't get in. It's some of my favourite stuff, so I don't really understand why [he laughs].

Q. How do you deal with the public's perception of you, given your rise to the level that you are at now, and given that it was a fairly hard run?
A.
I'm enjoying my life, actually. The fame part of it was a bit of a freak out for a while. There are definitely times when it's not so great to be special and known by everybody; when you're wearing something wrong, or in a vulnerable place.
But I'm really good with my life now. At a certain point I just kind of decided to pick it up and wear it, and have fun with it.

Q. Do you feel under any pressure to be funny?
A.
I don't feel any pressure to be funny at all. I'm funny because I want to be funny. I could sit here in a room and be serious for an hour, and you guys would go away and make me much funnier than I am!

Q. What was Morgan Freeman actually like to work with, and how did he handle the comedy, given that we're not usually used to seeing him being funny?
A.
Morgan Freeman is so class, man, so cool, and so kind of.. scary. He terrified Tom; he didn't know what to do with Morgan.
First day I met Morgan, I walked up to him and said 'hi, so glad you're doing this movie'; and he said, 'nice to meet you to, now never touch me again!' [laughs].
But he's got that way about him, you just fold under the pressure. He's like a laser through your soul and he raked Tom over the coals. I couldn't believe you knew he was joking.
Tom would say, you know, 'Morgan, maybe in this you should come in and be more gentle about it...' and he'd come back with, 'why would I want to do a fool thing like that?' Tom would just go aaagh. It was hilarious.
It was relief that Morgan was so cool, actually, he was a really cool guy. Really fun to work with and totally willing to have a sense of humour about himself.
To me, he's one of those guys that every actor is afraid of, because you walk on screen with him and you've got to be ready, you know. He's ready, he's there and he'll drain your soul.

Q. Has playing a reporter actually made you take pity on the press?
A.
Oddly enough, I am drunk with my own power [laughs]. It really wasn't much about the reporter aspect, as it was about somebody who is just ungrateful for what he has. So it was more concentrating on that.
Having said that, I learned a heck of a lot about being a reporter during the movie. It was interesting to look at the other side of it a little bit. I learned a lot about what happens during sweeps week and stuff, which, in America, is everything. The most cherished, brilliant, lauded reporters in America become total skinhound, flesh pedallers during sweeps week. It was hilarious. It's like Harry Reisner, suddenly, 'next, thongs that kill!'
It was more about, I have been the guy who has everything and yet is so one-track minded about what I want, that I can't seem my blessings.

Q. Towards the end of the film, the Almighty lectures you about having a spark, so I was wondering whether you are aware of having it in your own career, and whether you have ever under-valued it?
A.
I wrote it. It's about me. Basically, that whole scene comes from something somebody said to me when I was 19 years old and playing in New York.
He was kind of like this thug bartender, I couldn't tell whether he was a Mafioso guy or what was going on, but I came off stage one night, and he said 'kid, you've got a divine spark, you better protect it; whatever you do, protect that spark'.
And it stuck with me in my head and I always kind of believed in that spark, and that's really why people... it's not what I say or what I do, it's why people want to hang out with me. So, that I wanted to put in the movie and I think there have been times when I've forgotten about it.

Q. So do you have difficulty protecting it?
A.
It's more difficult not to protect it. Generally, if you go down the wrong road, things get tough. When I'm on the bean, man, everything is easy, and when I'm right with myself, and right with God, and doing the right things in my life, it's incredible, the monsoon of blessings that come to me. I've just been so lucky, there have been so many miracles in my life, it's incredible. But it's because I believe in them, I think.
When I lose sight of that, of what's important, it's like waking up on the wrong side of the bed - you're walking round in your life and say 'why is everybody against me today'? Everyone's against you, because you've decided that everybody's against you before they came that way, you know.
I really believe in the philosophy that you create your own universe. So I'm just trying to create a good one for myself.

Q. Which was more daunting, playing God or the Grinch?
A.
Definitely the Grinch; the Grinch was tough, that suit was like being buried alive. It was like a physical task.
This one was such a pleasure. I'd go in there and it would be like, 'cover the zit'. But they're both kind of miserable guys at the start of it.
Q. What about the folklore of the Grinch?
A.
Well yeah, it was a big responsibility in that way...
Tom Shadyac: How about the folklore of God?
A.
Yeah, he has a tiny bit of a track record.

Q. Who would you want to bestow God-like powers upon, if you could do so (and no counting politicians)?
A.
Mmm, who doesn't appreciate their life? That Beckham dude! I mean, what's wrong with jolly old England? What does he have to go out to America for?
Q. Did anyone know who he was, in America?
A.
Not until they got that ball in the face. And then they woke up [laughs].

Q. Were there any protests from people who were offended by the depiction of God in the film?
A.
It's about human frailty, it's not about God's frailty. I mean, when Jesus Christ Superstar came out, there were a lot of people who went, 'oh, there are people in construction hats, or whatever'.
There's going to be a problem with somebody always, but this has had an incredible wide range of acceptance, actually.

Q. What's the most extreme thing you've ever done, when it comes to love?
A.
Staying home on a Saturday night. I am truly an idiot when it comes to that stuff; I'll buy electronic billboards, saying, 'hi, turn left now... love is waiting around the corner'. And I'll be there [pulls a funny face] with a bunch of flowers. But I'm an idiot that way.

Q. What motivates you now in terms of the roles you take, given you have had some success with serious roles, but bigger success with comedy?
A.
I love acting, I love play acting, I love pretending, I love telling stories, so whether they be serious or comedic, or whatever, it doesn't really matter to me.
The thing about this process is, Tom and I get together and we have a hoot. We just have so much fun on a day to day basis, and I wish there were cameras on the set all the time, to show people what a good time we have. Hopefully, that glow comes up over the screen.
But, I equally enjoy telling a good story in a dramatic sense. I'm not always looking for the laugh, I'm not the guy who sits there listening to conversations and wants to jump in with something hilarious all the time; I actually listen to people.
Weirdly, it seems that the two are coming together. There are some serious moments in this film, for instance, that I wouldn't have been able to do if I hadn't done the serious roles that I have.
It's just all fun and I feel so lucky to be able to do it, honestly. Whether I have to do it for free, I'm just never going to let somebody put me in a box and file under G for Goofy. It's never going to happen.

Q. Is it frustrating, though, when you make a quality film, such as The Majestic, and you possibly don't get the audience reaction that you deserve?
A.
No, and you know why? The Lord is My Shepherd and I shall not want.... [proceeds to recite the whole verse]. So it doesn't concern me.

Q. In the film, Bruce gets to a really dark place towards the end; have you ever been in a similarly dark place, and what brought you there?
A.
Of course, absolutely. Generally, it's about a woman. Love lost, love whatever, yearned for, or whatever, that's generally the thing that brings me to their knees.
I've never lost a job that made me ask, 'Lord why?'. There's absolutely dark places that I've been to, I've been on my knees many times in my life. The only way I ever get out of it is to start looking at what I have and what's been given to me.
It's always the way out. I don't want to take it all the time, but the exit from the agony is always there. The tunnel out of the agony sector is always in front of you, and yet you don't take it by choice. You just want to sit and indulge in that, and be in pain.
But the easiest way out is to just go, 'ok, let me see, the grass is beautiful, the park is gorgeous, I saw a really pretty girl about five minutes ago, and I had a really great conversation with this old guy on the elevator, hmm, I've got a freakin excellent car...' and if you just keep doing that, there would be no unhappy be, I swear.
Because sometimes when you think you have nothing, and there's nothing but pain, if you sit down and actually make a list of what you're grateful for, even if it's the stupidest little thing, you can't help but be happy at the end of it. It just lifts you.

Q. Have you got a motto or maxim in life that carries you on?
A.
Be grateful. Find something to be grateful for. That's basically it. And try not to do too many things that make you feel like you deserve to lose.
Because we do programme our own computers. I believe that there's like a plus and minus column, and if you end up on the minus column, you're own conscious will make you lose.

 

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