Jim Carrey: I still don't feel secure working in Hollywood
What drew you to the film?
I did it because I love penguins. I am not kidding! I’m a sucker for anything that touches the heart. The world is coming apart at the seams and this film cuts through it all. ‘Mr Popper’s Penguins’ (he says in a cartoon voice) – how can you not be happy saying that?
Tell me about Tom Popper.
He’s a good guy but was abandoned as a child – his father was off having adventures. When you leave people alone they get a little edgy, selfish and wily. I don’t know why I was cast! It’s the classic tale of a father not paying attention to his family. He doesn’t think about much apart from making his mark on the world.
Can you relate to him?
Yes, that is often what happens – we repeat the same mistakes. We put things off, we put the people in our lives off. I have done that myself, I’m willing to admit it. I’ve been down the wrong road and valued the wrong things. Mr Popper is moving on an upward, mobile trajectory. He thinks he has it made, then his father’s death stops him in his tracks. His dad leaves him a little memento – he’s always sent him souvenirs but this one’s different.
How do the penguins change his life?
They make life impossible, thus destroying his path towards greatness. By doing so they make him a real person. Things happen to all of us that are uncomfortable but you deal with it and get through it.
What was it like working with real penguins?
They are insanely beautiful. It is difficult to be unhappy around a penguin; they should send some to Wall Street and have them mill around so people don’t jump off buildings and things! They are like puppies times ten, just pure love.
It must have been challenging, no matter how adorable they are.
Penguins are untrainable but will follow you if you stink like a fish, so I tried to stink as much as possible.
Is there a common theme in your films?
This film is about abandonment and poor choices we make because of it. Practically every movie I see is about that on some level, realising what love and family are worth. We can strive in every area of our lives to accomplish great things but if our family isn’t intact and our kids are running around not knowing how much we love them, what is it all worth? We lose the game.
What are your goals?
To approach things differently than they have been done before. Even if I am being over the top or crazy, I want to do something original. There is nothing that makes me happier then when someone says: ‘I watched The Mask 300 times when I was a kid.’ I look forward to when I am 80 and people come up to me going: ‘It was you, dude.’ That’s an amazing feeling.
Are you still passionate about your work?
I am, it is as if I am starting out every time I make a film. And I swear to you I don’t feel any more secure than I used to, or jaded in any way. There was a moment when I thought ‘I am not sure I want to be part of this big thing that is Hollywood.’ I looked at it cynically for a minute. Then I sat on my couch and realised the value of what I do.
What is that?
We free people from concern. It is what everyone needs in this day and age. There is nothing better and it started out that way.
How did you start?
I was always trying to make my mother laugh because she was sick or depressed or whatever. Many comics start out by trying to heal their family. That’s how you get good. Your drunken grandparents leave and you turn around as a seven-year-old child and imitate them. That is how it began for me, bringing comic relief to my family. It really is comic relief, people don’t just want to see it, they need it. I need it more than they do and that is why I am on this side of the camera because I am a really needy person.
http://www.metro.co.uk/film/871384-Jim- ... -hollywood