Jim Carrey Q & A: Disney's A Christmas Carol
A CHRISTMAS CRACKER!
We catch up with Jim Carrey to find out about his fun festive film, A Christmas Carol…
Why did you agree to sign up for A Christmas Carol?
- I was deeply attracted to A Christmas Carol because I got to play a whole host of roles in one movie. Plus, one of those roles was Scrooge. What a wonderful character to play!
How tough was it to shoot the movie?
- I found the entire shooting process really fascinating. You’re working in an empty warehouse with cameras all around you, but nothing else at all. You have to create the entire world in your head! There are very few props, apart from maybe the frame of a fireplace or the frame of a door. Even the fire is added later.
Was that a fun experience?
- It was incredibly fun! Not only do we have to create the entire world in our heads, but the actors also have to wear these ridiculous suits with balls all over them. The balls help the director and the special effects team work on the CGI later on, but we looked totally ridiculous during the film shoot.
How would you describe Ebenezer Scrooge?
- Scrooge is not a person who really loves his life. He wants to live it alone. He’s a guy in pain. He’s a guy who doesn’t have anybody to love him.
How would you describe the movie?
- This is a classic version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and I'm playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge at four different ages, as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It was a wonderful challenge for me – especially with all of the English accents I worked on for the various characters I play in the film.
How did you decide on the different accents you use in the movie?
- I played around with various accents, but a wonderful voice coach called Barbara Berkery helped me along. She was an invaluable help. What accents did I go for? Well, Scrooge is very English, but the Ghost of Christmas Past is Irish. I also went for a regional accent from Sheffield. I went all over the place!
What went through your mind when you saw yourself as Scrooge for the first time?
- It was really freaky to watch the movie for the first time. As soon as I saw a close up image of Scrooge, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, he looks just like my father.’ It’s unbelievable! It was like I was looking into the future. That’s what I’m going to look like when I’m old. Maybe not the long chin and the long nose, but everything else will look that way.
There are situations in the movie where you play two or more characters in one scene. How did you shoot those sequences?
- I had the most incredible help during those scenes. An actor called Cary Elwes would stand in and read the lines for the other characters – and he was wonderful to play against. Cary is a genius. He was also very helpful when it came to the accents. I call him ‘the accent man’ because you can name any country on the planet and he knows the accent.
Is it true that a relative of Cary Elwes was the original inspiration of Ebenezer Scrooge?
- That’s very true! Isn’t that fascinating? Scrooge was based on one of Cary’s great, great, great, great uncles. He was called John Elwes.
Wow! Tell us more…
- John Elwes was a Member of Parliament and he was so cheap that he would wear the same clothes all the time until they were in tatters. He wore a wig that he found in the garbage. He wouldn’t buy new meat until he had eaten everything that he had – even if it was rancid. He was the character that Charles Dickens based this story on, so it was great to act against his great, great, great, great nephew.
Why did you want to play Scrooge in the first place?
- It’s a dream of every actor to have the greatest material in the world to play with and A Christmas Carol is exactly that. I had the greatest talent in the world to work with on this movie in terms of the actors, the crew and the director. It’s been a beautiful experience.
Did your role as the Grinch help prepare you to play Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?
- Scrooge is the original Grinch, so there were a lot of similarities in the characters – but both are very different stories. There have been a lot of different movie versions of Scrooge, but I think our director – Robert Zemeckis – has created the best version of this story so far.
What makes it stand out from the crowd?
- It’s a really beautiful holiday picture. It’s a wonderful story and we had an amazing team bringing it all together. I’m completely honored to be a part of this cast and I’m completely honored to be part of this whole experience. It’s been a huge high point in my life.
What’s your favorite memory of Christmas?
- I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas because the festive season was really where I started to come into my own as a performer. Why? Because I performed loads of stuff for my family, relatives and neighbors at Christmas.
Did you put on Christmas shows for everyone?
- That’s exactly what I did. When other kids were playing outside, I was conjuring up characters and doing impressions in my room – and it would all come together over the Christmas holidays. All of my relatives and neighbors and everybody would storm over to our house at Christmas for The Jim Carrey Show.
What did the shows involve?
- They involved everything and anything! I was a little kid, but I would throw myself down stairways and do all kinds of funny characters. It was really funny and I have wonderful memories from those days. I love Christmas! In fact, it’s one of my favorite times of year.
DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL AVAILABLE ON DVD & BLU-RAY TODAY!