Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. In the production notes, Brad is quoted as saying
you strike him as being Peter Sellers' odd cousin. Can you elaborate?
A. The joy in being bad has got to be there, it's got
to be on the screen, and it's so much fun, you know. Comparing
things to Peter Sellers obviously is lofty; he was one of my favourites.
But I just saw the TV movie (The
Life and Death of Peter Sellers], and, you know, I hope I'm
not compared to him always! Stomping on the children's toys!!!
It's pretty heavy! No, Peter, Peter! You're good, people love
you! I don't know what question I'm answering!
It's tough to be compared in that way to that person. I mean I
play multiple roles but I always try to keep in mind that I am
Count Olaf, you know, the whole time. He's just making really
bad acting choices, which I love. This movie is something which
could be revisited because there's so many possibilities. We came
up with 30 characters in the trailer that will never be seen,
but who were so much fun. It was really a thrill.
Q. So would you be happy to return to the role?
A. Well, you know, hey, if they back the truck up, you
know what I mean? This was very fun, very fun. It's amazing how
something so incredibly negative could be such a blessing. I think
our lives are all better by comparison, you know?
Q. Count Olaf is disturbingly English sounding. What
was the inspiration?
A. American Standard actually! It's a bastardised version
of the English... though not quite. It was an opportunity for
me to, within a very silly structure, to be kind of a classic
Q. But what about the bad acting department - was that
based on anyone?
A. Bruce Willis! [Laughter abounds] I'm kidding, Bruce,
don't hunt me down, you're an action guy, I understand. But, no,
basically the character is born out of absolute, like a complete
black hole void of person or sense of self - which is true of
some actors! He's an actor losing his hair, too, which always
adds a danger element. It was just a fantastic idea to be able
to make fun of us, you know. We're a very vulnerable group and
been through many, many an acting class, and met many an acting
guru, and it was just really fun to be in that situation. I mean,
we improvised for days. There were a couple of times where I turned
to Brad and said 'is this the third day I don't think I've said
anything in the script? What's going on here?' We were just all
like repeating moments from my acting classes.
Q. Why do you think children are increasingly being drawn
towards these sorts of dark stories?
A. Because they're bad... children are bad! No, I think
it's a relief to kids, I really do.I think they see through this
story that no matter how bad it gets, they have each other, their
friends, their family, they have something. It connects also...
the books really connect, in a way, with kids I think that everybody
kind of feels orphaned, in a way, these days. Even if you've got
parents - both parents - everybody's busy and working and everybody's
trying to make it in the world, and people have that feeling,
you know? And the feeling, also, that no one ever believes you.
That's what I loved about it, you know, that I could be right
in front of them, they could be pointing at me, and none of the
other adults get it, because they're so self-involved.
Q. As in Violet and Klaus, naturally in life would you
be an inventor, a reader or a biter? And if, how and why?
Emily: Probably more of a reader. I don't think I could
actually invent something myself, but, yeah, I read a lot. So
that's pretty much what I'm like.
Liam: Yeah I'm definitely a reader.
Timothy: I'm a biter of books! 19th Century English
literature... very tasty!
Meryl Streep: I'm probably more of an inventor,
I think. I'm always trying to think up new ways to do things.
Jim Carrey: Me as well. Inventor. A little bit
of reader. Biter sometimes - just myself. I've got marks all over
my body! But inventor, definitely. I mean, the wonderful thing
about this, and I feel so lucky to have done so many different
kind of things in the last little while, this is something different;
it's not Harry Potter,
it's not anything else. People are trying to compare those and
yet it is a completely different entity and has a character all
its own. It's like nothing I've ever seen, and I think it's really
different. And that's everything to me. I just want to create
things that have not been done before.
Brad: I would be the control freak directing
a biter to read while inventing!
Q. What advice would you give to young actors about how
to stay cool and funny even if life is hard?
A. Stay out of my way. Don't get any parts that I want
- I'll track you down! No, I honestly, I believe that the most
important thing is to believe, to have faith, because there are
times when we've been up against the wall in this business, where
you think there's no love, there's no money, there's very little
that keeps you going except faith. And just.... I've always operated
that way from the very beginning. I've visualised everything that's
happened and I've always just had this weird kind of feeling that
I could make it happen, with God's help and the help of my friends,
Q. Robert DeNiro has tried to do comedy, Robin Williams
has tried to do serious, yet you seem to be able to do both. How
does it work? Do you think now it's time to do comedy, or drama?
A. You're never satisfied, I think. I don't think you
can be satisfied. I think it's your job not to be satisfied, and
to be wanting to express different things; oh my gosh, I wonder
if I could find that in myself, whatever it is, you know. And
it's great, everybody kind of wants to do the things they don't
get to do as much of. It's inate in us just to be unsatisfied.
Q. You must be quite satisfied, as you've just got a
Golden Globe nomination?
A. Yes, very beautiful. yeah thank you! If I'd said the
blockbuster award, they would have got it!
Q. How does the make-up surrounding
this character compare to the Grinch? And in terms of performance,
which was more stretching?
A. I think Count Olaf.... The Grinch just wants to be
left alone! Count Olaf wants to be seen by everyone and revered
by everyone and thought of as a genius by everyone. So he's closer
to the real me [laughs]. It was a very personal performance for
me! And in terms of make-up, The Grinch broke me, basically. I
was a wild pony, a bud stallion before that happened. I would
cry before I went to the trailer, it was so difficult. So this
one was a joy. I mean, I think that was preparing me for this
or something. I just was excited about the effect that it has.
And the experimentation that we did in the trailer was so much
fun, it really was like, kind of... it's a bitter-sweet thing
because there's so much that was created for this movie that's
not in the movie, and yet what's there is really cool, but we
know what's there, what we did, all the things we did, and all
the things that were created, that may happen later, or may not,
who knows? It was a really exciting process, finding the characters
Q. Do you consider yourself to be a big kid and what
was your childhood?
A. My childhood was, huh, not unlike the Beaudelaire
orphans! [laughter] No, I absolutely do. I mean anybody in this
business has to have a wide image of living and of making believe.
You have to have a child inside you somewhere. I think that's
what makes people love you and what makes people hate you, you
know, in the same vein. Some people love that they can see that
on film, but some people don't like that anybody can still go
there! It's a strange thing. All I know is that it really is play
of some sort. It's educated play. You have to know your character
inside out, and when you do that, you get given gifts. It's great,
it's so much fun. It really is truly magical.
Q. I know that you like singing in the shower?
A. I put on concerts in the shower. It's unbelievable.
It's great because I can slide around here. I love to sing in
the shower; I sing and I fight with people, to be totally honest.
Cos that's the time to do it. You can't do it in public! So you
Q. How do you deal with an unfortunate event in my life?
Streep. I guess denial, denial, denial, and then moving
on to forget about it. I've always gotten up every morning in
a good mood, and then it just sort of goes downhill from there.
Jim Carrey: But it's funny, though, how sometimes
these things that are the worst things that you think could ever
happen to you, actually, later on, you're doing a part or something
like that and you go 'actually, I could not do this if I didn't
go through that'.
Streep: Oh that's very true! And the people that
say 'this is an opportunity', this sad thing, this is a door opening
to something new and different that you wouldn't have signed up
Carrey: It's one of the weird things you do to
yourself, being an actor, it's like you almost, you don't invite
it, you don't want negativity, it's just when it's happening,
there's a part of you that's going 'interesting'. We were talking
about that last night that certain actors, in the middle of sobbing,
will stop and go 'hold on, one second, I want to see what that
Q. What was working with Billy Connolly like?
A. What a pleasure, what a pleasure. Truly, really a
great guy, and I don't know if there's some seething darkness
underneath there, I have no idea; all I know is that me makes
me laugh because he's positive about everything. Literally like
[impression] 'I just got hit by a car last night, it was the funniest
thing!' And it's like, you know, everything's positive, that's
his angle. Like 'nuclear holocaust, isn't it funny the way you
roll along the ground trying not to be melted!'
Q. What were the books you read as a kid that gave you
A. Anna Karenina. Terrifying. Far too many names to remember.
Q. Count Olaf is a very iconic baddie. Did you enjoy
A. I loved it. It's so much fun to play a character like
this because it's, you take away all the rules. The rules are
gone. There's nothing you can't do. It's just such a freeing kind
of thing. And everybody's safe; it's ok. It was a very strange
kind of balancing act on this one, because he is really dangerous,
and yet you want to laugh at him.
Q. Can you say anything in defence of Count Olaf?
A. In defence of Count Olaf? Oh no, I don't think he
thinks he's evil. I think he thinks that people are wrong. That
everyone who perceives him as wrong is incorrect. Is beneath him!
He needs to feel that there are people beneath him. I think he's
a child at heart. He's just a lonesome child like them, actually
[points towards children].
Q. We're next going to see you in Fun with Dick and Jane,
how's that going? And were you a fan of the original?
A. I loved the original! I thought it was great, but
I think it's more relevant today. You know, it's set in the year
2000, just before Enron happened, and everybody kind of lost everything,
and before George got in, and it's kind of an interesting little
moment in time. It's about people who are losing their middle-class
lifestyle and decide to rob 7/11s. It's a really fun romp.
Q. Did you terrify the Hoffman twins when you were done
up in make-up?
A. Yeah, they were terrified. It was very hard to get
Brad: And we made so many efforts to get round
that. We'd bring them in before the nose went on, then bring them
A. They tried everything with those kids, you
know. They had fruit loops, and somebody with a little small TV
with Shrek on it! So a lot of times when you see the baby, she's
actually watching Shrek! [laughs]
Q. Have you got a 10-second pitch why you should win
the Golden Globe?
A. I would never do that in a million years. My pitch?
My pitch is why not, I'm human too!
Q. You said there were no rules here, but would you do
something like Bad Santa?
A. Bad Santa? I think
that's been done... and pretty well, too! You know, yeah absolutely.
There's a weirdness... it's a dark kind of tale, and yet there
is an intent here that is bright, and that is that they have each
other, and that's all they need - whatever the backdrop is. So
I'm very excited about it, cos I'm interested to see how people
react, and how kids react especially. It seems to have tapped
into something in them, the books, that's creepy and I want to
see how they react. And it was such a fun production to be part
of, really. It's beautiful, beautiful work from everybody. From
acting, with these guys, it's tremendous, and the art direction,
from Rick Heinrich's direction, is fantastic; Brad is a genius,
and you know the costumes as well were staggeringly beautiful.
I mean you can see it in the movie, but when you see them close-up,
as well, and see the work that went into the costumes, it's not
a costume, it's real, and it's amazing combination of Elizabethan
meets Madonna... Like A Virgin tour or something. Crazy and wonderful.