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Jim Carrey's Serious Side

Aired December 16, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: an extraordinary look at the many faces of Jim Carrey, and why this famously funny man's serious side is generating headlines and talk of an Oscar.

The other side of Jim Carrey is next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Great pleasure to welcome to our show tonight Jim Carrey. Now normally we call this LARRY KING WEEKEND; we're going to call it LARRY KING LIVE because every time I'm in his presence I feel live. It was just taped a few days ago for broadcast tonight.

And his new film, "The Majestic," which he told me about at an airport...

JIM CARREY, ACTOR: I'm glad you remembered what it was. There was a hesitation there. But it's good. It's good that...

KING: I remember what it was. I mean, you got off your plane and you came over to me and said, wait until you see...

CARREY: It's so early. It's so early for people like us.

KING: By the way, I've seen a lot of stuff from this movie. Saw the whole first half of it.

CARREY: The whole first half?

KING: If you're not up for an Oscar for this then, there's a crime, right? I mean, you've been jabbed a few times.

CARREY: I'm fully prepared to accept any gift God has for me in this world, and that would be a nice one.

KING: Is this your best performance?

CARREY: I think it certainly is. It is, absolutely. I hate to compare them, because they're all their own babies, and you approach every one differently. And to me, "Ace Ventura" was the perfect choice for that job.

So it's just a different kind of work. I mean, I kind of approached this, you know, much more about the character's interior. And so it was new ground, and interesting ground. And every once in a while I went to Frank and I said, Am I being human? (CROSSTALK)

KING: ... said in the past by other -- Milton Berle and others have said, It is not difficult for the true comic spirit to do serious work.

CARREY: We're very full. And that's -- I think we're shy people. People who do crazy, comedic things, we're shy people. And so when we're faced -- when we're on the spot, generally the tendency is to climb the walls. And, you know, when people talk about their inner child, I see mine as kind of a palsied, you know, whatever -- trying to get attention by pulling his lip over his head, you know.

KING: SO it ain't hard to play a guy that was in strife?

CARREY: No, it's there. And it's there for all of us though, you know. I think we're all innately uncomfortable in our human skins, you know. I think when we get waves of bliss, it's a fantastic thing, and we revel in it. But, you know, the spaces between that are difficult.

KING: A lot of things to talk about. How did this film come your way, and why did you take it?

CARREY: I loved the arc of the character in this movie. I loved the writing; I thought it was really well done. And before I did "The Grinch," I said to myself I kind of wanted to put something good- natured out onto the planet...

KING: You told me this is a Frank Capra kind of film.

CARREY: Yes. It's a film where you get to know all the characters in the town. And, you know, you get to feel like you're part of that family.

KING: Now basically a guy has had a -- he was involved in the McCarthy hearings, right, and he's a stand-up guy for the other side, and he's drilled out of work and he gets in a car accident, right?

CARREY: Yes. He's a guy who basically lives his life with compromise every day. He takes the studio notes and changes the script that he loves more than anything in the world.

KING: He cops out.

CARREY: He cops out. He sells out. And he's ready to, you know, basically do anything he has to to save his own skin. SO I think of him as a scavenger. He's the hyena, you know. And Luke is a hunter.

Actually, my character is a hunter, but he's acting like a hyena. And when he loses his memory, he's kind of reprogrammed by this town. He's taught to believe in himself. He's taught that he's worthwhile, and that he's done these wonderful things. And everybody's counting on him. So there's a lot of responsibility that he has to step into. And in doing so, he really does become this hero. When he remembers who he is, he's faced with the choice of, Who am I going to be?

We all have that choice. We make that -- you know, we make those choices over and over again on a daily basis.

KING: Do you like the comparison to Jimmy Stewart?

CARREY: Oh, it's fantastic. Sure, absolutely.

KING: Was he someone you liked a lot?

CARREY: Love Jimmy Stewart. Jimmy Stewart was my favorite, for sure, acting-wise...

KING: Because?

CARREY: I think he's brilliant. I'm not, you know, the type of -- you know, the Brando, Dean brooding kind of thing as much as I am the everyman type of person. So I identified with him.

I met him one time, also. And that was a huge blow to me, actually, because I met him at church. He was doing a reading of the story of Christmas at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church. And if you go there, it's a great sermon. Reverend Morrison.

KING: Good guy.

CARREY: But I sat there like it was a Led Zeppelin concert and I had gotten tickets -- I had camped outside or something. I sat there just gawking at him. he even lost his place at one point because he looked at me and I looked like a complete idiot.

KING: Knew him well. He appeared on this show; he used to come on my radio show a lot.

Now, what was -- what did he have -- and obviously, you're going for it, too -- what was -- it's not easy to be everyman.

CARREY: I have to be careful how I say this, because I do believe that we all have it. But Jimmy Stewart for me had a divine spark. And that's what I've always believed in myself, and that it was not really as much about the tricks or the sleight of hand as it was the person doing it. So I have to have faith in that.

I mean, you know, do you think you'd lose your audience if you, you know, gave up those suspenders?


CARREY: No. Exactly. It's just what you like.

KING: That's right.

CARREY: OK. So it's not like Farrah Fawcett, you know, going bold, or Bob Dylan going electric. It's just your choice, you like to be like this. But if you wanted to change, you wouldn't lose your audience. You have faith in that. And of course, I have to have faith in that.

KING: Did you enjoy doing it?

CARREY: I loved it. I loved it. And sometimes it was hard. And it was difficult. It was -- you're always going through so many things when you make these movies. It's unbelievable. you know, at the same time as you're having the most incredible experience of your life, you know, there's life pain, and there's suffering that you're going through on different levels. And that's the way it's always been for me. It's never been one thing or the other; it's always been everything at once.

KING: And you always give everything. Anthony Quinn told me -- he says, it's hard to compare...

CARREY (impersonating Anthony Quinn): Anthony Quinn gives everything to everyone! Ha ha, you're pregnant!

He control's the elements -- I'm Anthony Quinn! I was Anthony Quinn -- I used to break into Anthony Quinn on the set, you know, whenever things got hard.

KING: You used to do great...


CARREY: We're losing the light -- (impersonating Anthony Quinn) No we're not, we have an hour and a half! I command the sun, I'm Anthony Quinn.

KING: I'll tell you what he said when we come back with Jim Carrey. The film, "The Majestic" opens Friday. Don't go away.


CARREY: Ashes to ashes, my movie. It could have been good, even with the stupid thug. Like "Grapes of Wrath." My shot at doing something really good, something really -- something.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What's it about?

CARREY: Pain, nobility, the human condition, truth. It was my chance to get out of B movies and onto the A-list.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Go home, man. Listen, why don't I call that gal of yours -- what's her name, Sandy?

CARREY: Don't you worry about me. Hey, I'm going to give you a little extra something, because you took a big chance talking to me.



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You have no recollection prior to waking up on our beach? You have no idea who you are, or how you got here?

CARREY: I remember a dog licking my face. Before that, blank.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I think there's someone who might be able to shed light on this. is it OK if I bring him in?

CARREY: Please.

MARTIN LANDAU, ACTOR: It is you. It is. Oh, Luke. Luke, I never gave up hoping. You're alive! My boy. God! My son!

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Break it to her gently.


KING: We're back with the extraordinarily talented Jim Carrey.

And what I was going to say about Anthony Quinn, he said he gave his all to every movie he ever did. If it was "Sons of Iwo Jima" or "Zorba the Greek."

CARREY: Absolutely. It's kind of frightening in this day of method madness in acting, because when you take on a part, you really do take it on. There are things -- I mean, if you take on a part where you're under siege and about to be killed -- you know, I almost did a film like that, and I backed out at the last moment because I just didn't want to go there at that time, because I started dreaming and I started -- my universe started giving me whatever I needed to feel those feelings. And so it's kind of a scary thing when you pick a part that's intense.

KING: Did you speak to Jimmy Stewart that day, by the way?

CARREY: Oh yes, I did. I spoke to him, and it was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. What a jerk!

No. No, it was a disappointment, though. He's a fantastic guy, but...

KING: Well, why were you disappointed?

CARREY: Well, I went up to him and I had put too much into it. you know, it was like -- for me it was like John the Baptist meeting Jesus. you know, You are the one that has come to replace me. That's what I was expecting, and I was dreaming about.

And he -- I went -- I said something like inane like You are my greatest aspiration. I had become him. And he was embarrassed, and his face turned red, and he walked away.

And I walked out of the church that day, and I thought -- it hit me, I went, Thou shalt not honor false gods before me. i walked out and I went, I did it. I was in church idolizing someone. And so he took on a different perspective for me at that point. He's a terrific actor, but I don't know him.

KING: Where were you on the morning of the 11th of September?

CARREY: I was in Malibu. I rented a place out there for part of the summer. And a friend of mine called me and said...

KING: Were you sleeping, or...

CARREY: ... turn on the TV and try to be forgiving. It's an interesting friend I have. He's a very spiritual guy.

I turned on the TV, and of course I got sucked in like everybody else. I wanted to be there so badly to get involved. And it was a real watershed moment, I think, for this country. I think we were caught up, you know, since Vietnam and Richard Nixon, everything else, you know, we've become kind of cynical and very materialistic. And obviously I'm no one to point fingers in that respect. But we have been as a whole, I think. And What don't I have rather than What do I have.

And I think it was God tilling the soil in a certain respect. A terrible, terrible thing.

KING: What did it do to you?

CARREY: What did it do to me?

KING: Yes. You have a daughter, you have a...

CARREY: Oh, my gosh, it certainly made me want to connect in a way I haven't necessarily been. It certainly made me look around and appreciate what I have. I have so much that it's really ridiculous. I've always believed in the horn of plenty, and my life is the proof of it for sure.

So I appreciate...

KING: Do you ever think, I don't deserve all this money? I mean, do you ever think to yourself...

CARREY: No, no, no. Never.

KING: You do?

CARREY: No. I deserve it in the respect that pictures generate a certain amount and so, yes, that's a fair business proposition. You wouldn't ask Bill Gates to go out and, you know, do what he does without getting a share of the company.

KING: But did you say to yourself as a little kid, I have a dream that...

CARREY: Oh, constantly. That's all I do is sit around and go -- and say -- first of all, check myself constantly for, you know, am I appreciating this? Why not, if I'm not. Generally it stems from some kind of a desire that -- I've come into this place where I like to try to pull myself back to the now and to what's happening right now. Right now, you are my life, Larry.


KING: What about being funny again after September 11? Was there a grace period?

CARREY: Well, I guarantee you, the world that I come from, the comedy clubs, there was someone up on stage the next night doing jokes about it. I guarantee it.

KING: Really?

CARREY: I guarantee it. I was in Toronto when the shuttle exploded...


CARREY: ... and it's only a matter of hours in a comedy club. It's just the nature of the place. Who's going to be the first one, who's going to be the dangerous one. And so, you know, I look at those things a little differently.

KING: Were you able to laugh soon after?

CARREY: It was -- it was a muted laugh, for sure, if anything. I mean, you know, I was of the mind-set like a lot of people were, like, you know what, when somebody dies, when there is a funeral to be organized, when there is something to be handled, you have to handle it. You have to get involved and do what you can to fix the problem. And then, you start thinking about, you know, how it's affected you. You know, but you handle it first.

KING: Is being funny, Jim, could it be a burden sometimes? For example, this...

CARREY: This right now, this is nothing here.

KING: This movie is very serious. People might go in and expect Jim to do something, fall down, do a flap, do a front, do a face, do something. Is that a burden when you're typed?

CARREY: It's only a burden if you let it be a burden. It's a burden if you're afraid to lose what you have. All life becomes difficult when you're hanging on, you know, when you're trying desperately to hang on to something. So, I try not to do that. I try to go to different areas, and the last thing I want to do is patronize the audience. You know, I don't -- I don't want to take them for granted, and I don't believe that what they really want to see is just faces. I believe they want me to tell stories in as creative a way as I can possibly do it, so -- so I just want to do it all. I want the boxed set to be varied and really kind of smorgasbord.

KING: I want to ask you about in a minute about being other people, what the kick is in that.


KING: Jim Carrey is our guest, the film "The Majestic" opens Friday. You're going to be hearing a lot about it and a lot more about him come next March. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, my client is clearly under an enormous strain, as a direct result of the belligerent questioning of Mr. Clyde (ph), and he is therefore not responsible for his comments. At this time, we wish to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

CARREY: No, no, we don't.


CARREY: No, Kevin, we don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, knock it off!

CARREY: The Fifth Amendment is out of the question. But there is another amendment that I'd like to invoke. I wonder if anyone here is familiar with it. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're out of order!

CARREY: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or purging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peacefully to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not presume to lecture this committee!

CARREY: That is the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman! It's everything we're about! If only we'd live up to it!




CARREY: I think I'm mixed up in something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mixed up in what?

CARREY: There's no point trying to explain it, but a lot of strange things have been happening. People on the elevator, there was no backing on it, I looked out, there was people there. And on the radio, on the way to work, starts following me around, talking about everything that I'm doing. You know what I mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, Truman, look, if this is one of your fantasies...

CARREY: I think this is about my dad!


CARREY: I think he's alive. Yeah.


KING: We're talking with Jim Carrey, the star of "The Majestic." I hear also just -- I notice for a fact you're going to play Howard Hughes.

CARREY: Well, yes. I mean, it's very early in the process, but we just secured the rights to...

KING: You'd be perfect.

CARREY: ... biography. Oh, it's a terrific part. I mean...


CARREY: ... guy with something to prove, and the hole that he had to fill somehow -- I mean, it's just at terrific character. It's fantastic. It's so rich.

KING: Is selection difficult?

CARREY: Not selecting is difficult, because at this point, you know, if I don't do a project or if Tom Hanks doesn't do a project or something like that, somebody else who is very, you know, talented and wonderful creatively is going to do the project, you know, because these are high-level projects.

KING: Because to you, it's a big project, yeah.

CARREY: Absolutely. So -- so, it's a strange thing, you know, to see other people doing the movies you've read or...

KING: And you must have seen some.

CARREY: Sure. Sure.

KING: And have regretted any?

CARREY: All the time. I regret not doing everything. I mean, I wish I could do everything. That's the biggest problem.

KING: What did you turn down?

CARREY: ... there are so many wonderful stories.

KING: You turned down... CARREY: Oh, I can't say. That would get me in trouble, for sure.

KING: But there was others...


CARREY: ... that I turned down.

KING: Really?

CARREY: I'll never tell.

KING: All right, "The Truman Show."

CARREY: Yeah, what a wonderful...

KING: Didn't you think you were going to win for that?

CARREY: No, I never...

KING: You did?

CARREY: ... I never assume things like that, honestly. I mean, you know, I hear this...

KING: Buzz.

CARREY: ... bandied about every once in a while, the idea that I'm so like desperately want an Oscar -- and I certainly do. I mean, I certainly want to be recognized for what I do, but that is not the focus of my life. I love what I do, and I feel so lucky to do what I do, that how could you sit at the banquet and go, "what else is there?" You know? I mean, it really isn't just -- just not right, so.

KING: The late George C. Scott didn't like competition, didn't accept his Oscar.

CARREY: It's a strange thing, it's a strange idea, but I guess the aspect that's great about it is that you are recognized by your peers, and that's a nice thing.

KING: Did you almost drown doing "The Truman?"

CARREY: Yeah, when we did the stuff in the water, I almost drowned. So, if the people are watching the DVD or something, you know, when I fall off the back of the boat and I'm bobbing in the water, I am drowning.

KING: What happened? Where were you, where was that scene?

CARREY: It's kind of fun to stop it, you know, step it forward and stop. Oh, look at the panic.

KING: You must have... CARREY: We were in a tank at Universal -- it's the water tank up there -- and of course, they, you know, had wave machines and they had jet engines blowing on me, and they had rain and they had everything else. The divers were all around, ready to jump in and help me if I need it. Just give us a signal, man, just do this, this and this -- or whatever. They gave me a signal. Anyway, I don't remember what it was because I almost died.

And I was trying to do the signal and whatever, and they just said, "we just thought you were so good."

KING: That was a guy drowning.

CARREY: I had to go underneath the water, I was completely dressed in wool, so I was weighed down, and I swam kind of walk-swam out of -- out of the storm and sat there on the wall while it raged for another minute, you know. So, and everybody was like...

KING: True, your daughter has stopped on watching that, because of that?

CARREY: Well, she knows about it, so yeah. She didn't have a tough time watching that, but she definitely was checking it out when we went into the same pool for "The Majestic." She was like walking around, going, "can you take the edge off that over there?" You know, taking care of me.

KING: And the water is used in "The Majestic" how?

CARREY: Well, you know, I drive off a bridge.


KING: Do you get more frightened since you've had the scare?

CARREY: I think that there's a certain amount of danger with anything. When somebody, you know, a bunch of people are in a room drawing what's going to happen, and then they have to, you know, get on the set on the day...

KING: And go do it.

CARREY: And go do it. I mean, it's a dangerous business. People get hurt all the time, and, you know, there's always a little chance of that.

KING: When you watch other films, no matter what the film is, as a performer, do you say, here's what I would have done?

CARREY: It depends on a film. It depends on a film. I generally don't try to stick myself into the story.


CARREY: No, no, no, I can totally believe in what I'm watching if it's done well. And you know, I mean, there's just so many incredible performances out there. So many incredible actors, you know. I love to watch actors.

KING: Did you watch any films in particular to do "The Majestic?"

CARREY: Not films...

KING: Any Capra films? Have you seen his films?

CARREY: No, because I certainly didn't want to try to be Jimmy Stewart. I mean, that's not possible in the first place, and I think it's a really big mistake to try to imitate somebody in a film, to me, to kind of forget about what the interior is and what your reactions to things that are going on around you are. You'd be thinking, how does he react or whatever -- and there was a little bit of that in Andy Kaufman, but I so kind of left the planet and kind of became him that it really was first-hand reactions after a while. It was -- I had to take a good month afterward and sit down on the coach and figure out what I liked and you know.

KING: Is it true that you...

CARREY: Chocolate pudding? No. Yes! No. Wait. No.

KING: You became became him? You wanted to be called Andy off set?

CARREY: I didn't say it, I just was him. So...

KING: You became him.

CARREY: ... it was a foregone conclusion. By the second week, Milos Forman was calling me at home, and saying, "I don't know what to do. I don't know how to talk to Andy" and things like that. So, and I said, "well, you know, maybe we should fire him. I do a pretty good impression." But he went, "No. It must be Andy." We were all caught up in it.

KING: Were you a funny kid, Jim?

CARREY: I was -- yeah, yeah, definitely.

KING: From a happy home?

CARREY: I was desperate. I was...


CARREY: It was -- my immediate family was the sweetest, most creative, wonderful, lighthearted people in the world. First time you come over to my house for dinner, you know, the family has just met you, and my mother will get upset about something, go out to the kitchen and come back in with a half-a-pound of butter and smear it across your face. And next thing you know, you know, somebody's girlfriend has spaghetti down the top, and the things start flying -- and that was our family. We were very, very crazy. But you know, we had elements. I had alcoholic grandparents that were, you know, fun and not so fun to have around. You know, they were -- they were a problem during Christmas. They -- you know, my father was out of work and my grandfather would get him in the corner and go: "You're a loser. You're a loser, Percy (ph). But it's OK, I love you."

KING: And you would see this?

CARREY: Sure, I'd watch my father squirm. He was the nicest guy in the world, so he would never say anything, but he squirmed and I watched him squirm. And so, how I relieved the pressure was when they left, I would do a routine. I would do them for the next three hours. I would impersonate my grandparents, my drunken grandparents, and it was like, you know, the dam burst. It was like, oh thank God, we can flow again.

KING: Jim Carrey. The film, "The Majestic," it opens Friday. We'll be right back.


CARREY: Thank you very much.




UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: So what do you say everybody: Saturday night out at the Point, a big welcome home celebration for Luke, huh?


CARREY: Yeah? I saw your picture.

HOLDEN: Oh. Do you remember me?

CARREY: No, but I'll sure try.



CARREY: It may just be my imagination, but I feel like we're not alone.

HOLDEN: You can all go about your business now, he's not going anywhere.


KING: We're discussing the life and times of Jim Carrey. You worked in a lot of odd jobs, right?


KING: You were a janitor?

CARREY: I was a janitor. That was an experience. That was the toughest time in my life, when I was living with a family and we had to get a job together, so the entire family were janitors and security guards. And it was a very low point as far as morale.

KING: How old were you?

CARREY: I was 15 at that time, and I was going to school and then doing an eight-hour shift after school in a factory and punching a lot of walls. And you know, our family went through a very interesting thing. It really clued me into a lot of behavior that people have, you know, why kids can't learn in school.

I couldn't. I was an A student and suddenly in the space of one year, when we moved to Toronto to do this job, I couldn't hear a single thing the teacher said to me. You know, I didn't want to know anybody. All I wanted to do was get into a fight, you know.

So I literally -- I mean there was, this factory we worked in was different racial factions all kind of pitted against each other. It was very bizarre. It was like a war. And I used to be in the middle of all that, and they used to do things like, you know, remind me that they're there by defecating in the sink or whatever. And that was my life.

KING: How did you get through that?

CARREY: As I said, I punched a lot of walls. I...

KING: But then what?

CARREY: You know, I started into comedy. I started going out in the comedy clubs.

KING: At 17, like?

CARREY: I was 15 when I first went down. And my mother dressed me in a polyester suit and I go booed off the stage, and I didn't go back for two years. But then when I went back, I was gangbusters, I was after it.

KING: Did you have an act?

CARREY: You know, my first act was me and my father sitting around like thinking, what am I going to do, you know, because he knew I needed to get in front of an audience, but I had never written an act. I mean, I'd written things for the family, but it was a different animal, you know, going downtown to Yorkville where everybody's tragically hip and impressing those people.

KING: The idea of doing other people, imitations, was that your entry into the business? When people would go to see young Jim Carrey, was it you've got to see him do Peter Falk? CARREY: There was a lot of impressions. Exactly, a legend. Yes, everything started with Peter Falk, a legend, you know, like that. I did tributes to people basically. I got the courtesy applause, you know, yes we love Sammy Davis. Thank you, Sammy, for speaking through this untalented man.

But the whole time, there was a whole huge side of me that couldn't be expressed. It was so frustrating. You know, you had to fit something into a Hollywood restaurant where John Wayne is talking to the busboy who's Peter Lorre and that kind of thing. It was just so limiting, I couldn't stand it anymore. And I wanted to be the guy that was imitated. So, yes.

KING: You dropped it completely, right?

CARREY: I did. I went -- and a lot of people told me that I was looking a gift horse in the mouth, but you know, there is life after impressions, I mean.

KING: Did you...

CARREY: Again, if -- you risk loss. You have to risk loss all the time.

KING: If you don't take risks, you don't make it, right?

CARREY: Right.

KING: You could have an easy life -- an easier life?

CARREY: I don't think it's an easy life.

KING: Not taking risks.

CARREY: I think a life of compromise is a horrible life to lead. I think that's hell.

KING: Well put. Are you there for -- anti-The Suits, the people you have to deal with who...

CARREY: Not at all. Honest to God, I think we're all in it together. And I know a lot of executives who are just as excited about putting something beautiful on the screen as I am.

KING: And just as risk-taking?

CARREY: Absolutely, and just in a different fashion.

KING: They're putting money up.

CARREY: They're risking some serious money, but also their hearts are in it a lot of times, I do find. You know, maybe you don't want them around all the time going, Maybe you should do this, You don't want that. But you know what, I'll take an idea from anybody. You know, so I don't care. KING: As an actor, why do you like being other people? Why do you like building this theater in the Majestic, this -- it's all a myth.

CARREY: It's so much freedom. If you did it for a week, you'd just never stop doing it because it is like a vacation from yourself. You have a whole other set of problems, another person's set of problems. You figure out -- you're constantly discovering yourself through it, you know, how close you are the character, what's similar about you to the character. So it's very enlightening. It's very enlightening. And I don't know, the more I do it, the more I just want to tell stories.

KING: Would you do theater, wherein you go onto Broadway and you do the same part every night for a year?

CARREY: I would throw lightning bolts at the last row.

KING: You would...

CARREY: I would love it.

KING: Has it been offered to you?

CARREY: Yes, it has.

KING: And?

CARREY: It's not the right thing so far, but you know some day I'll get out there and that would be a blast. I'd love it.

KING: You could do "The Producers."

CARREY: Sure. Sure.

KING: Have you seen it?

CARREY: Yes, I have. It was really...


KING: Do you think you could do the Broderick part?

CARREY: Yes, I could. But I'm thinking, you know, something a little different. I don't know what exactly. "Jesus Christ Superstar" probably. Yeah.

KING: When you do the same thing every night, does it change do you think, every night if you're doing a play?

CARREY: It has to. I think so. I mean, I'm very easily bored, you know. I have to move on. I can't -- I don't -- you know, I mean I won't say that I never will but, you know, since "Ace 2" I haven't done a sequel. I don't like revisiting, revisiting, revisiting, and you end up imitating your original inspiration. So I'm not up for that too much. KING: I'm going to ask about "The Grinch." Why would a major superstar take a role in which you do not see his face? We'll be right back.


CARREY: Hello little girl. How dare you enter the Grinch's lair! The impudence! The audacity! The unmitigated gall! You've called down the thunder, now get ready for the boom! Gaze into the face of fear!




CARREY: Now for those Whos inviting me down there on such short notice. Even if I wanted to go, my schedule wouldn't allow it!

1:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize. 6:30, dinner with me. I can't cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I'm booked.


KING: Back with Jim Carrey. "The Majestic" opens Friday. Come -- some other bases to cover, "The Grinch." Why did you take it? Can't see your face.

CARREY: Well, it was certainly about alienation. There was a lot of that going on. At that time in my life, I was kind of going, Why do I keep going out and making my life more difficult -- making it more difficult for myself to have an actually private life, or whatever like that.

So I was feeling a bit like the freak with the green hair. And of course it was something -- a fable that I had loved my entire life. That was Christmas to me. Without the Grinch, Christmas didn't exist for me growing up.

So it was really important. Plus Ron Howard, you can't go wrong. I mean, he's terrific.

KING: And the kids still love it. They watch it every day.


CARREY: ... fantastic.

KING: What about having your personal life known? I mean, through tabloids and the rest and because you've become so famous, we know who you're dating. We know who you're marrying. What is that like? CARREY: You know, it's a mixed bag. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's great because you get a message out there that you want. But other times, you know, it's difficult to go and get a cappuccino and be, you know, and experience the triangulation of paparazzi down in Malibu, you know. I mean it's too -- literally they follow you in a triangle to the car. It's like, you look over there, they're there. They're there. They're there.

And that's an odd thing, especially in the wake of what was happening on September 11. I would just look and I would say, This is the freedom people are dying for, you know. I think we all have to really check ourselves and make sure that what we're doing serves somebody.

KING: But you also sometimes let who you love hang right out. Last time we were together, you were in love with someone. Boy, you were just high off it. You love loving.

CARREY: I do. I'm a nut for love, and you know, it's been complex for me.

KING: Is it hard when it ends?

CARREY: Absolutely. It's hard when it ends; the hardest. The hardest. I feel things deeply. So -- and I never stop loving somebody I loved.

KING: Really.

CARREY: That seems to be the way it's been.

KING: So they're always a part of you?

CARREY: There's always a part of me that's with them, yes.

KING: Are you in love now?


KING: How is that? What is it like for someone when they've been in love a few times to not be in love?

CARREY: I may have just lied there, by the way. I don't know.

KING: In the last second?

CARREY: I just met someone.

KING: Somebody called?

CARREY: Hey -- that segment producer. No, you know, I'm always in love. I'm always -- you know, I'm always a little bit, you know, in love, always looking forward to the next experience, and hopefully the last experience.

KING: Do you want to marry again? Do you want to have more family?

CARREY: Oh sure.

KING: You want the totality of life?

CARREY: Yes, you know. I think there is something that you get in a relationship that you just can never get flying around trying to briefly connect with people.

KING: The other side says though, when you're not in love, you also don't have pain.

CARREY: Yes, but that's life. I mean, the most extraordinary people in this world, I think, are the people who end up like 80 years old and you know they've been, they're like an old trout that's been caught 100 times and they're like, you know...

KING: Keep going to the hunt?

CARREY: Exactly. You go back in and you go, I believe, and you have faith.

KING: Does it bother you that the public knows about it? They know when you're together. They know when you're not.

CARREY: Then know when I'm together and when I'm not, generally, with someone, but they don't really know. They don't know. They see images and someone sits with an image of a picture and thinks up a caption and tries to figure out what you were thinking and doing that day. So they don't know from what they read or see, and they won't always know from what I say. I try to be as honest about my life when I'm talking to you as possible, but you know, there are certain things...

KING: Do you like fame?

CARREY: ... you protect and people you protect.

No, not necessarily. What I like -- I like certain things about it. I, you know, I've always wanted attention, and I got attention big time. And I do really enjoy the look on people's faces when they see me. It is -- it took on a different, a different aspect for me in the recent past, and at some point I just woke up and I said, You know what, you got to pick up your myth and you got to own it.

And how can you turn this into something good and something that doesn't seem like it's taking from you all the time? And I just kind of look at it as when people come up, if they're civil and they don't ask for too much from you. I look at it as an opportunity to open up to somebody and to give them energy. You know, again, out of yourself.

KING: Touch somebody?

CARREY: Get out of yourself.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Jim Carrey. Don't forget, "The Majestic" opens this Friday. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You know why I pulled you over?

CARREY: Depends on how long you were following me.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Why don't we just take it from the top.

CARREY: Here goes: I sped, I followed too closely, I ran a stop sign, I almost hit a Chevy, I sped some more, I failed to yield at a crosswalk, I changed lanes in the intersection, I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and speeding.


CARREY: No. I have unpaid parking tickets.




LANDAU: Did you?

CARREY: Did I what?

LANDAU: Get the last reel up?

CARREY: Oh, no. Everybody went home.

LANDAU: People know that the movie ends. Good little picture, too. Damn shame I'll never see how it turns out.

CARREY: The good guy wins.

LANDAU: Good. That's good. Good guys should always win.

CARREY: Don't think about the movie. You just hang on, OK? Hang on here.


KING: We're back with Jim Carrey. "The Majestic" opens Friday. Your next film is with Nicole Kidman, right?

CARREY: Yes. Yes, "Dog Ears."

KING: "Dog Ears"?

CARREY: Yes, and Gary Ross is directing it. He did "Pleasantville."

KING: Comedy?


KING: Gary Ross, but it's a comedy though?

CARREY: Comedy. It's a human story though. It's got drama in it. It's not just yucks, but there's a lot of funny in it too.

KING: Do you like working with her?

CARREY: I'm really looking forward to it. She's terrific. She's really done well, and I think she's great.

KING: When do you start?

CARREY: I believe we start at the beginning of March on that, yes.

KING: Has anybody...

CARREY: I should be studying right now.

KING: Has anything been finished in between time, or "The Majestic"...

CARREY: No, this is it, yes.

KING: So you've been not working for a while?

CARREY: I've been -- no, there's no such thing as not working. I basically, you know, between production and things like that. Those sort of things.

KING: Reading scripts?

CARREY: Absolutely, reading and developing material and whatever else.

KING: You are a Canadian citizen, right?

CARREY: Yes, I am.

KING: Are you going to be an American citizen?

CARREY: Yes, I am. I'm going to be a dual citizen. You know, I've been doing a lot of press and I've gotten some calls from my family in Canada, which are concerning me, which is the calls that "I heard that you don't like Canada anymore." You know, that certainly is not the case. I love Canada and the people of Canada, and I am a Canadian and I will never give up my Canadian citizenship. That would be like, you know, switching mothers. You know what I mean, or something like that.

KING: Why dual?

CARREY: I don't like this mom. I want another one.

KING: Why dual? CARREY: I love this country. I love this country, and I love what this country has done for me. My daughter is an American citizen. I want to vote. I want to have a huge impact on the American political climate, or at least a little tiny one, and I just really love the ingenuity and the bravery and the confidence of the American people. I like this place.

KING: How close are you now to American citizenship? You go for your test?

CARREY: It takes a while. It takes a while, actually. It takes a year or so.

KING: It's a great day when you're sworn in, though.



CARREY: That's another thing that's kind of strange because a lot of people think I did that because of September 11 and that's not really true, although September 11 did definitely, you know, remind me of why it's a good idea, why people reacted and -

KING: But you would have done it anyway?



CARREY: Yes, I was doing it.

KING: Would you say, Jim, that you are really happy now?

CARREY: I think I'm happy about a lot of things. But to say that I'm just happy would be too one dimensional. So, I'm everything. I'm good. I'm bad. I'm happy and sad. I'm yin. I'm yang. I'm basically accepting whatever's happening.

KING: Good father?

CARREY: Yes, I think so. I think so. I think my daughter knows that she's loved and -- that's a project I'm doing in the near future is called "The Children of the Dust Bowl" and that's about a teacher who makes the Okie kids from the Dust Bowl, you know, in that period of time who were deemed unteachable and they came to California.

He takes them and builds a school by hand, and makes them feel worthwhile, and it's really important that we make our kids feel worthwhile and so that they can make, you know, decisions that are about respecting themselves.

So everybody needs to belong, you know, and it's -- you got to make sure you make them belong to something good, you know. I think that's -- there's so many ways they can go wrong.

KING: You must be expecting big things from "The Majestic?" I mean, you know it's a good movie, right?


KING: It's a really special movie.

CARREY: I love the heart of this film. I think it's a really sweet message in an unbelievable time. God, the way the universe timed this thing out, I mean it's just kind of a breath of fresh air right now, you know, and it's also a lot of respect for sacrifice. It's about what it takes to be the hunter instead of the scavenger.

KING: Always great seeing you, Jim.

CARREY: Good to see you too, Larry.

KING: Jim Carrey.

CARREY: Was I funny enough?

KING: Was he good?

CARREY: Did I score?

KING: Did he score? OK, he scored. It's a wrap. Thanks for joining us. Tuesday night, Laura Bush from the White House, the first lady. You know her.

CARREY: She's hilarious.

KING: Yes, a riot. The film "The Majestic" opens Friday. Don't go away.


KING: Last week, we closed our show with the biggest selling female pop artist in the world, Mariah Carey. She recently went to Kosovo and Macedonia to give U.S. front-line troops some holiday cheer. She took her Chinook helicopter to four remote sectors to meet with the soldiers and dazzled about 2,000 of them with a holiday concert.

And tonight, we have another wonderful selection. This one from her performance in Macedonia. It's a great song for the holidays too. "All I Want for Christmas is You" dedicated to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

For Jim Carrey and yours truly, Larry King, good night.





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