Christmas Carol: Jim Carrey Plays Multiple Roles

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Jim Carrey is the star of Robert Zemeckis’, “A Christmas Carol,” an adaptation of the 1843 novel written by Charles Dickens. The film is being released by Disney on November 6, 2009.

Even as Robert Zemeckis was writing the script, he had only one actor in mind to play the role of Scrooge—Jim Carrey.

“Jim’s not just a wonderful actor, he’s a chameleon,” says Producer Steve Starkey. “He can work his body in ways other actors can’t. He’s just so versatile. I can’t imagine the film without him.”

Neither could the director. Zemeckis had no doubts that Carrey’s talent as an imaginative and risktaking actor would make him the quintessential Scrooge. “When I did my first performance-capture movie and I realized the potential of what could be done, I couldn’t help but think that the greatest performance capture actor that exists is Jim Carrey,” says the director. “His face is so incredibly expressive, and he’s so great at creating characters, giving him the ability to completely change his physicality. All of his talents as a performer and as a comedian are included in his performance.”

Producer Jack Rapke agrees, “There is a place that he goes to that in a million years you wouldn’t think it was possible. He has an unlimited amount of extraordinary physicality. The way he transforms himself into Scrooge is amazing. He gives his all, pursuing every single permutation of the character. He comes up with so many alternatives and they are all great. It’s an embarrassment of riches.”

“Scrooge,” says Carrey, “is not a person who really loves his life. He wants to live it alone. He’s not a spiritual guy on a mountain. He’s a guy who wants to make his cage as comfortable as possible because if he steps outside it, he risks being seen by people. He risks people finding out that he’s broken and bitter.”

But Carrey believes there’s more to Scrooge than the miser. “Nobody is just one thing, you know? There’s much more to all of us. Generally at the bottom of it all, there’s goodness.”

Not only does Carrey play the old and miserly Scrooge, but because of the advantages afforded by the film’s technology, Carrey is able to portray Scrooge at every age—from a young 7-year-old, alone and friendless, sitting quietly at school, to an old man, bent over and feeble. The technology captures Carrey’s unique acting performances as the actor expertly crafts the evolution of one character’s lifetime. “He’s a guy in pain,” says Carrey. “He’s a guy
who didn’t have anybody to love him.”

Carrey also portrays the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. “Since the ghosts are all an extension of Scrooge, it’s only fitting that they all have a bit of Scrooge in them,” says Zemeckis. “So it was a perfect fit to have Jim play all the parts.”