Friday, May 24

Jim Carrey


Thursday, June 6, 1996

Each week from late May to early July unleashes another summer
would-be blockbuster, armed to the teeth with action, special
effects and all the gimmicks a huge budget can buy. But next week’s
‘The Cable Guy’ packs the neutron bomb of Hollywood stars: Jim
Carrey. He’s wild, he’s crazy and he pulls people into the theaters
from miles away.By Michael Horowitz

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Jim Carrey, you’ve just succeeded beyond your wildest dreams,
become one of the most sought performers in Hollywood, and earned a
cool $20 million for the upcoming "The Cable Guy."

What’s the first thing you do when you receive that check?

"Masturbate."

Success is rarely as fast and as furious as it was for Jim
Carrey. After only five films in which he was the center of the
action, the comedian is one of movie-dom’s most valuable
commodities, a spastic, contorting guarantee of $100 million at the
box office and legions of teenagers viewing and reviewing.

"The first thing you do is realize how ridiculous it all is and
try and remind yourself that it’s still about the work," says
Carrey. "Really, you constantly have to focus on the fact that if
this scene doesn’t work, then that $20 million dollars is going to
bite me in the ass. You know what I mean?"

Of course, he doesn’t get all that money. He’s in a relatively
high tax bracket.

"I’m paving some roads right now," he laughs. "I sometimes drive
around and I’m at the stoplight and I’m going ‘I bought this
stoplight.’ "

Not that he minds. "I got rich during a democratic time period,"
he shrugs. "I don’t mind a little extra going into the hopper. It’s
a great fucking country and I want to make it good, so I don’t
mind."

The fact that Carrey has any bearing at all after the last few
years in impressive. He alternately describes his whirlwind ride to
the top as an "ordeal" and a "bizarre dream," but seems to have a
clear idea of where he’s going and the path to get there. In
Beverly Hills to promote Columbia’s predicted summer blockbuster
"The Cable Guy," he talks about his career trajectory, his
commitment to his fans and recent revelations he’s had about
success.

While Carrey seems per in comedic perpetual motion on film and
television, in person he’s much more reflective. The stories of his
struggle to success have been repeated again and again. He’s talked
more than once about the $10 million dollar check he wrote to
himself in a motivational gesture years ago. He tells of his habit
when he first came to Los Angeles, where he would stand by his car
on Mulhulland Drive and gaze down upon the city, holding an
imaginary funnel for "all good things" to pass through. But though
the stories have been worked through before, they still hold
meaning for Carrey. While these stories show a faith and confidence
even his characters might mock, he’s very sincere.

"I believe in that sort of thing," he says. "I’m not some sort
of infomercial guy, but I do believe in visualizing what you want
in life."

Carrey’s quick to point out that the idea was never to get to
the top at any cost. "I always have disclaimers in every prayer,"
he says. "You’ve got to be careful that everything you wish for has
a disclaimer. ‘Please let me be human and not hurt anybody or
whatever.’ "

If the $10 million dollar check seems half-prophetic now, that’s
only coincidental. The money was only a symptom, Carrey explains,
of the goal he was really striving toward.

"All I wanted was to be able to work with the best people," he
says, talking about the creative process of collaboration he
enjoys.

"And it’s a weird thing, because all I wanted was to work with
Rob Riener and I had all these guys in mind and I’d have to make
them like me in some way and they’d have to see something in me.
But it’s really not about that as much as it is about coming up
with your own generation for people. And the guys who you wrote
with in comedy clubs become the people that everybody wants to work
with. It’s been quite a lesson."

Sure enough, "Ace Ventura" director Tom Shadyac has watched his
career take off, as "The Cable Guy" scribe Judd Apatow is now one
of Hollywood’s Most Wanted and he’s writing Carrey’s next: a
lighter comedy "Liar, Liar."

A lot of the talk about "The Cable Guy" has centered on its
tone. Director Ben Stiller, writer Apatow and Carrey have created a
comedy with more menace then your standard no-brainer, and the
question being asked is whether Carrey’s fans will make the
leap.

"Jim always wants to take things as far as they can go,"
explains Apatow, "but you can’t question his judgment. He knows his
fans and he knows where they will follow him."

"There’s always that concern of how dark you go," acknowledges
Carrey. "Columbia (the distributing studio) was pretty liberal,
they let me and Ben and Judd go to some uncomfortable places, which
is great. That’s my favorite kind of thing."

"I don’t want be placated as an audience. I want them to take me
on a journey and bother me and then release the tension. It works
with comedy to set up some tension."

The vote is still out on whether the "The Cable Guy" will become
another notch on Carrey’s string of successes, but he says the film
has more to do with his career trajectory than with trying to
predict the whims of his fanbase.

"I hope everybody in the world likes everything I do," he says,
"but that’s not a reality. I’m going to lose some people on this
and gain some people, and that’s the way you gotta go."

"I obviously made the mistake of bringing the Beatles up as an
example recently, they wrote ‘Carrey compares himself to the
Beatles!’ No, I’m just citing an example of a bunch of guys who
said ‘We’re not going to try and predict the audience, we’re going
to write our music, and we’re going to grow our hair however we
want to.’ If you play to the audience you end up being some kind of
shell."

So is this another case of the comedian really wanting to play
Hamlet?

"No, I don’t want to be Hamlet," says Carrey. "I do want to do
stories though. That’s what I’m concerned with, I want to do
stories. My favorite actors are guys like Jimmy Stewart who went
all over the place. You laughed like hell at him, because he was
very funny, and at the same time, you cared about him so much he
could make you cry.

"That’s where I want to go, I want to do everything."

FILM: "The Cable Guy," directed by Ben Stiller. Opens June
14.

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