The film is a classic to celebrate Christmas with the family, but its protagonist felt that he was being buried alive every day he went through makeup.
Jim Carrey is one of the kings of comedy, but making people laugh hasn’t always been easy. It is one thing to interpret a character that causes laughter among the public and another what the actor is feeling inside. Carrey had such a hard time filming one of his legendary comedies that the CIA had to help him: they trained him to endure torture.
The interpreter starred The Grinch in the year 2000. The fantasy Christmas comedy directed by Ron Howard cast Carrey as the green curmudgeon who hates Christmas. But the actor had to spend many hours sitting in the makeup chair to characterize himself as his character and that was beyond him.
As he confessed in the program of the BBC The Graham Norton Show:
The makeup took eight and a half hours. It was like being buried alive. The first day I went back to my trailer, put my leg through the wall, and told director Ron Howard I couldn’t make the movie.
The suit, the prosthetics, the makeup… Everything made the actor claustrophobic and for Howard and the film’s producer Brian Grazer it was very bad news: it could mean the cancellation of the film. And it is that, with a view to making the film, Audrey Geiselthe widow of Dr. Seuss -creator of the character- had only sold them the rights for Carrey to do it.
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“We had to keep the makeup and we had to keep Jim, but we had to find a way to make it possible for him to endure something that resembled torture.”claimed Grazer in 2015.
Therefore, if giving life to the Grinch was pure torture for Carrey, the solution could be to train him to endure it. And what better than the CIA to help him.
“We had an actor being held captive by his suit, he was being tortured by his makeup. Perhaps a CIA specialist could teach Jim Carrey to survive the Grinch’s green makeup the same way he would teach spies to survive hostile interrogation? ?” Grazer wondered. The producer then contacted a friend from the CIA and began the training..
“So they brought in a guy who trained CIA operatives to endure torture. That’s how I got over it”Carrey explained. The actor and the CIA agent locked themselves in a room for an entire weekend and Carrey learned methods agents use to control their thoughts, distract themselves from pain and discomfort, and develop the mindset needed to overcome panic. The actor has described those days he spent learning to endure breakage as “hilarious”.
Although the training helped, it wasn’t enough. Carrey also recounted that the music of the bee gees helped him during the filming process:
The only thing that worked to calm me through the makeup process was everything they had done. I don’t know why, but the Bee Gees made me happy. There would be no Grinch without them!
The combination was effective. Carrey continued to apply makeup daily during the 100 days that the film’s shooting lasted, and the film was also a success. The Grinch raised more than $345 million all over the world and became one of the most mythical titles to celebrate Christmas with the family.
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