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Bruce Almighty - The tunnel out of the agony sector is always in front of you

Compiled by: Jack Foley

JIM Carrey is generally recognised as one of the funniest actors of his generation - a comedy God, if you will. So playing a man who becomes bestowed with the power of the Almighty for his latest comedy might not seem like that much of a stretch for him.

Yet Carrey believes the film marks something of a coming together - a merging of the comic tendencies for which he is famous, with a more serious side that has since been revealed in movies such as The Truman Show and The Majestic.

And, from spending time in his company, at London’s Dorchester Hotel recently, it is clear that there is a lot more to the guy than merely making people laugh - however frequently the comedy genius threatens to take over.

"There are some serious moments in this film, that I wouldn't have been able to do if I hadn't done the serious roles that I have," he said, referring to the fall from grace suffered by his character, Bruce Nolan, in Bruce Almighty.

As a self-obsessed TV news reporter, who frequently blames God for his own shortcomings, Carrey is suddenly offered the opportunity, by the Lord himself (Morgan Freeman), to see if he can do better and sets about improving the world for himself and his own desires.

But judgement day is beckoning and it isn’t long before Nolan must confront his own failings as a human being before he can start to repair his damaged life.

So have there been moments when the jovial star has been in similarly dark places in his own life?

"Of course, absolutely. And it’s generally about a woman. Love lost, love yearned for, or whatever; that's generally the thing that brings men to their knees," he told me.
"I've never lost a job that made me ask, 'Lord why?'.

"But there's absolutely dark places that I've been to, I've been on my knees many times in my life. And 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 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.

"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 people, I swear."

Carrey is also incredibly candid about the good fortune he has experienced in his life, even if his rapid rise to fame was something he struggled to deal with initially.

For having burst into the comedy limelight with Ace Venture: Pet Detective in 1994 - and subsequent hits The Mask and Dumb and Dumber - he then experienced something of a backlash, following the less well received likes of The Cable Guy, the Ace Venture sequel and Batman Forever.

Right now, however, he admits to being content, saying: "I'm enjoying my life, actually. The fame part of it was a bit of a freak out for a while. And 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."

And he intends to continue diversifying, having successfully managed to balance the serious roles with the comedy, for which he is renowned - Bruce Almighty is the most successful comedy of the year, so far, in America at the Box Office.

"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," he says, when asked about what motivates him in terms of the films he seeks o make.

"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.

"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.

"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."

So what of the notion of being a movie God, does that provide the divine inspiration needed to continue being a success?

"That is like an all you can eat salad bar, baby. It's as it should be," he concludes. "But I love it."

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