Jim Carrey’s behavior on movie sets has been noted numerous times in the past. His performance for Man On The Moon was captured fairly well in Jim And Andy on Netflix and apparently pushed him to “psychotic” places — and led to some fun reactions from the crew. He also has a pretty famous encounter with Tommy Lee Jones under his belt during the shoot for Batman Forever, with Jones telling Carrey, “I cannot sanction your buffoonery.”
But according to Oscar-nominated makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji, Carrey’s behavior on the set of How The Grinch Stole Christmas back in 2000 actually led him to therapy to discuss the experience. He recounts Carrey’s “combative” demeanor from the set in a new interview with Vulture:
Production on How the Grinch Stole Christmas was not easy for Jim Carrey. He was encased head-to-toe in green fur, in a design that kept changing, and the fake snow on set kept getting into the gigantic contacts he was forced to wear. The way Tsuji tells it, he took these frustrations out on the crew. “Once we were on set, he was really mean to everybody and at the beginning of the production they couldn’t finish,” he said. “After two weeks we only could finish three days’ worth of shooting schedule, because suddenly he would just disappear and when he came back, everything was ripped apart. We couldn’t shoot anything.”
Tsuji then goes on to discuss the moment that forced him off the set in an attempt to change Carrey’s behavior towards him:
“In the makeup trailer he just suddenly stands up and looks in the mirror, and pointing on his chin, he goes, ‘This color is different from what you did yesterday.’ I was using the same color I used yesterday. He says, ‘Fix it.’ And okay, you know, I ‘fixed’ it. Every day was like that.” Mentally exhausted, Tsuji met with Baker and one of the producers, who were also unhappy with the slow pace. They came up with a solution: He would go away for a while, which would make Carrey see how valuable he was. After a week of hiding, Carrey called. Tsuji didn’t answer, and he didn’t call back. Then director Ron Howard called. He left a message saying Carrey had sworn to change.
“I went back under one condition,” Tsuji said. “I was talking with my friends, and they all told me, ‘You should ask for a raise before you go back.’ I didn’t want to do that — kind of nasty. Then I got the idea: How about I ask them to help me to get a green card?” He returned, and Carrey kept his temper in check the rest of the shoot.
It’s then that he decided to go see a therapist and ended up realizing how “unhappy” being on set made him. He stuck around in the film industry for a bit longer, working on the remake of Planet Of The Apes with Tim Burton and Looper to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like Bruce Willis — something he seems to be particularly hard on himself about in the piece. He ended up retiring in 2011, but was coaxed back by Gary Oldman to work on Darkest Hour and earned an Oscar nomination in the process.
It’s a great profile, especially if you’re interested in the under-the-line work in the film industry. Full of 16-hour days and testy celebrities.