One of the biggest movies of the season opens today as Robert Zemeckis’ 3-D wonder “A Christmas Carol” finally makes its debut. This is Zemeckis’ third motion capture film and he’s lucky enough to have Jim Carrey on board to provide some remarkable performances as the iconic Ebenezer Scrooge as well as six other characters from Charles Dickens classic tale. Carrey, who is currently growing a beard and gaining a ton of weight to play Curly in a new “Three Stooges” movie (something he wouldn’t comment on), spoke about the difficulties of motion capture during an event for “Carol” last month.
“For an actor there are a lot of extra challenges. You have to create the ambiance and the believe in the surroundings in your head,” Carrey says. “Often when we did our dance, you are clicking these pincers together with cameras on them going ‘clack, clack’ against each other’s heads. It’s really disconcerting.”
Carrey continues noting that his co-star Gary Oldman told him, “‘I want to work with you man, but I never imagined it would be like this.’ And he not only had the pincers and the cameras starring at his face and all this stuff everybody else had, but he had a crane up his butt . He was on a crane for 90% of his performance. And I said, ‘Y’know, you’re kind of an addictive personality. Don’t get used to that.'”
Zemeckis adoption of motion capture with Carrey’s expressive abilities is a fruitful union which creates one of the most realistic CG characters in recent memory. It would have been great to see the actor perform the role in live action, but the physical transformation motion capture allows is truly startling. The process allows Oldman to be transformed into not only Scrooge’s diminutive and battered employee, but his deceased partner Marley and none other than Tiny Tim. The performances and animation is so seamless there is barely a hint either actor is portraying multiple roles. And yet, for Carrey at least, he’s still in a state of “divine dissatisfaction” regarding his work.
“It’s so important to trust your captain and to have that faith and love his work [because] you get yourself in these situations where acting is always uncomfortable,” Carrey admits. “I’m always in a state of discomfort and never satisfied and the thing that saves you in the worst of the moments is ‘It’s Zemeckis man. It’s gonna be beautiful.'”
After so much success, what drives Carrey to continue is unclear, but he did express extreme joy over viewing his Scrooge walking and talking on the big screen.
“My family is going to have a heart attack because that is my father,” Carrey reveals of Scrooge’s appearance. “Not in his mood, he was the happy version the day after, but it’s unbelievable. It’s really a look into the future for me. That’s what I will look when I get old!”
You’ve been warned Ms. McCarthy.
“A Christmas Carol” is now playing nationwide. Check out five clips below for a sneak peek.