and God created
He’s God. Well, a movie god. JIM CARREY counts his blessings. Words: Miles Fielder
od is smiling at me. ‘I like you much
better than all the other people.’ he says
softly. Holy shit. I've been blessed by (iod? ()K. not (;()(I (iod. Not that fella with the long white beard who looks like ('harlton lleston. but rather the movie god. Jim (‘arreyx ('arrey‘s blessing comes with a cheeky. impish grin.
Still. Jim (‘arrey is a movie god. (‘inemagoers worship (‘arrey at the altar of comedy (the one with the raflia work base). His new film. Bruce Almighty. in which (‘arrey plays a regular Joe (named Bruce) upon whom (iod (played by Morgan Freeman) bestows all his powers for one week as a test of human nature. is currently the top grossing US comedy. And (‘arrey. arguably at the top of his game. received a staggering $25m for his services. There's something miraculous (and not a little obscene) about that salary.
So. how does it feel to play (iod. Jim'.’ ‘I was not (iod.' he explains patiently. his mood changing. ‘l was a flawed human being who had the power temporarily.‘ ()K. Jim. well how does it feel to be a movie god'.’ ‘1 don‘t see that being good for me in any way.‘ L'h-oh. God (sorry. Jim) is angry with me. But then (‘arrey's smiling again. paning his lips. recalling what Moses did with the Red Sea. to reveal perfect white teeth. and saying not at all seriously. ‘Being a movie god. that s like an all-you-can—eat salad bar. baby.‘ With impeccable comic timing. he dismisses the question with: ‘lt‘s as it should b..'
Jim Carrey‘s been a joker since he was a kid. Born in the pleasant Ontario. Canada suburban town of Newmarket in 1962. James liugene (‘arrey grew up making his three elder siblings. his mother and his accountant-cum-jazz saXophonist father laugh. His teacher allowed young Jim to perfonn stand-up routines for his class at the end
of each school day. And at the not-at-all ripe age of
l(). Jim sent his resume to television's The Carol Burnett Show.
However. during Jim‘s adolescent years things went wrong for the Carrey family. Hard times financially forced them to move to the ugly industrial town of Scarborough. where everyone had to take jobs as janitors. Jim would work an eight-hour shift immediately after school. Later.
when things got tougher still. the family lived out of a Volkswagen camper van. Then. from the age of 15. Jim started performing stand-up in comedy clubs and finally got his break touring with the veteran comedian Rodney Dangerfield. (‘onsidering that difficult period in his life and given he’s now achieved movie god status. it's hard to believe (‘arry when he says. ‘I don't feel any pressure to be funny at all — l'm funny because I want to be funny.‘
I ask (‘arrey about a scene in Bruce Almighty. the one in which (iod tells the despondent Bruce he created him to be funny. so he should enjoy life. Be funny. It seems like the scene might be about (‘arreyz himself a religious man.
‘I wrote it.‘ says (‘arreyp ‘So. it's about me. That whole thing comes from something somebody said to me when l was 19-years-old and l was playing a club called Dangerfields in New York. It was this thug bartender — I couldn't tell if he was malioso or whatever. I came off stage one night and the guy said: “Kid. you‘ve got a divine spark. You‘ve gotta protect it. Whatever you do. protect that spark." It stuck with me in my head — I always believe in that spark.‘
People started noticing that innate (God-given?) spark. Following a successful run in the television comedy Duck I'iicrnry. Hollywood noticed (‘arrey's spark. A few now forgotten films roles (remember (‘arrey's self-destructive rock star opposite (‘lint liastwmxfs Dirty Harry in The Dead Pun/1’) led to his 1994 breakout hit. Ace H’Ilful'u.‘ Per Detective. The film fixed his comic screen- persona. elasticised facial and body contortions that hark back to ‘schmucks' such as Jerry Lewis and bring about in cinemagoers hysteria and hatred in equal measure. The Mask. Batman I'm-ever and an Ace V'nturu sequel followed and then in I997 (‘arrey secured a cool $20m for The Cable Guy. making him the highest paid comic actor ever (until this time Carrey kept a cheque he‘d written to himself for 20 million bucks in his wallet).
Carrey expanded his range. taking serioUs acting roles in the reality TV satire The Truman Show. the biopic of the late great comedian Andy Kaufman (with whom Carrey shares a birthday — 17 January) Mun mt the .Wmm. and the McCarthy
‘BEING A MOVIE GOD, THAT IS LIKE AN ALL-YOU- CAN-EAT SALAD BAR, BABY'
"j Jim-'3 .Jtii 2’1")", THE LIST 13