There’s an old legend about clowns: behind the make-up and the constant laughter they provoke, they are just sad old fools. Carrey started out in the 1990s and had them rolling in the aisles with his wildly talented creature in The Mask (1994), quickly followed by a series of films with high entertainment value. Whether it was Ace Ventura, The Grinch or Dumb and Dumber, his Tex Avery-esque gimmicks and elasticated face had the entire planet on their knees with laughter. Then one day the world’s jester didn’t want to laugh anymore. So, he shared with us a more serious side, one that was deep, moving and political in The Truman Show, one that was melancholic in Man on the Moon, and then poetic in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry. The French director didn’t forget him and gave him a role in the series yet to be released on Showtime, entitled Kidding. In his new incarnation, Carrey just presented a documentary about the (not always funny) humourist Andy Kaufman at the Toronto Festival. These days Jim’s jokes are more tainted with irony and absurdity than pure idiocy.
An unlikely slasher
It’s not just the movies going on in Carrey’s life. This summer he revealed another facet to his character, that of painter completely possessed by his rather good, very colourful works, in a short film shown online (I needed colour, by David L. Bushell). Painting seems to have saved the actor after the suicide of his wife Cathriona White in 2015 - for which he’ll be facing trial for involuntary manslaughter in 2018. During one of his rare public appearances, the former funny guy did a turn as a surreal commentator. Invited to a New York fashion week party on September 8th, he recounted to a confused journalist from E! News that the event was nothing but a circus void of any meaning, and that neither she nor he really existed. Extract: “I wanted to find the most meaningless thing I could come to and join, and here I am. You know this makes no sense? (…) I don’t believe in personalities, I don’t believe that you exist, but there is a wonderful fragrance in the air (…) I believe we are a field of energy dancing for itself, and I don’t care.” It was part Jean-Claude Van Damme and part Guy Debord...
Metaphysical mischief maker
Jim Carrey has long been known and loved for his body which he could contort so effortlessly and for his ultra-expressive facial features. But now it’s his sprit he wants to reveal to the world. His interviews are like strange lessons in life. Passionate about Christ and a fervent believer in transcendental meditation, he told CNN, “My soul is not contained in the limits of my body, my body is contained in the limitlessness of my soul.” In another interview published by le Monde in September, he continues his rantings: “Many people interpreted what I have been through as depression, but that’s got nothing to do with it. I started getting interested in the idea of “Everything”, rejecting anything to do with individuality more and more. My ‘me’ has gradually dissolved thanks to a series of epiphanies (…) I have sadness, joy, but these emotions don’t hang around long enough to be overwhelming.” The mask seems to have definitively fallen from one of the most human souls in the City of Angels.
Jim Carrey Sounds Off on Icons and More at NYFW 2017