Truth be told, I was not a huge fan of the over-the-top, face-pulling comedian Jim Carrey of the Ace Ventura days (I know, I’m weird). But then emerged the genuine actor Jim Carrey in The Truman Show and I changed my tune. In that film, I saw a real actor with a lot of heart who had been masked by the mugging and the pratt-falling, and I was whipped. Then, after several years and a few good but not great movies, came one of my favorite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His haunting performance of Joel Barish and his palpable chemistry with Kate Winslet won my heart forever.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet Jim Carrey in person at the press junket for the soon-to-be-released film Mr. Popper’s Penguins. He was even more impressive and charismatic in real life than he is on the big screen. He is dynamic, engaging and full of good energy. Though I stuck my foot in my mouth a few times (CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO) he made me, and all my fellow bloggers, feel comfortable and at ease.
Despite my blunders, I was actually able to squeak out a few articulate questions. I asked him if he had any advice for parents whose kids want to get into the entertainment business. His response: “Make sure that it’s about them (the kids) and not you, not how you’re seen in the world, not, ‘You’re going to make me look great if you do the right thing.’” He talked about some parents of child actors that he had encountered over the years who made it all about making money for the family, putting undue pressure on the kids, and ensuring a challenging road ahead.
Throughout the entire interview he spoke of putting children first and of loving them above all else, probably because a big message of the movie is the relationship of the lead character, Tom Popper, with his own dad and his two young children. Carrey reflected on a book that Steve Martin had once given called Drama of the Gifted Child which talks about people who suffered neglected or abuse-filled childhoods. “I think it’s really an important thing for parents to realize that they’re there to love their kids, their kids aren’t there to love them. They will, if you love them. But, it’s not their obligation. It’s up to us to love them and let them go and do their thing and not go, “You’re not making me feel good.”
This quote really stuck with me, as I have two young daughters at home and can admit that there are times when I find myself acting like the kid in the relationship. I appreciate the occasional reminder that I am the adult and that “it’s not about me.”
Aside from these heavier topics, the interview, on the whole, was light-hearted and full of fun. He did some of his famous faces and impressions, talked about his love for Dick Van Dyke and his adoration for his young grandson, Jackson.
Some fun facts I learned about Jim Carrey:
- He loves hockey (he’s Canadian, don’tcha know). When he plays, he says he feels like, “…a free soul. I’m completely like a bird.”
- He carried fish in every inch of his wardrobe during the shooting of this film in order to pacify the pesky penguins during takes.
- His character in The Truman Show is based on his dad, Percy Joseph Carrey, who used to open up for Rodney Dangerfield in Las Vegas. His face totally lit up when he spoke about his dad who died in 1994 from cancer.
- He credits his sixth grade teacher Lucy Dervadis for giving him a platform to perform stand-up at an early age. In order to get him to behave in class, instead of punishing him, she would bribe him with giving him fifteen minutes at the end of class to do whatever he wanted in front of the classroom if he would behave during class. She could see that he needed an outlet for his energy and creativity.
- His favorite iPhone app is a gun app. He said “Well this is totally inappropriate. You know, like if somebody says something stupid, you can just hold up an automatic weapon and go like that and shoot them. “
- He loves to tweet (follow him @JimCarrey).
- He’s always loved penguins, even before doing this movie.
After his performance in Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and particularly after meeting him in person, Jim Carrey has moved to the top of my list of favorite celebrities. He is a super star for a reason. CLICK HERE FOR MY FULL MOVIE REVIEW AND FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $50.00 MOVIE THEATER GIFT CARD AND A COPY OF THE BOOK.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins opens in theaters next week, June 17th, 2011.