'Everyone can relate to Scrooge'

'Everyone can relate to Scrooge'

funny Jim Carrey

Fortunately, director Robert Zemeckis did think of it and the result is Disney’s A Christmas Carol, which finds the superstar actor playing the ill-tempered miser who is haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come and taught the true meaning of the holiday season.

Carrey actually plays all the three ghosts as well, while several of his fellow cast members, who include Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright Penn and Robert Hoskins, also have multiple roles.

Excerpts from an interview with Jim Carrey

A Christmas Carol was published more than 150 years ago. Why do think it’s still so popular?

It’s one of the greatest stories of transformation and redemption ever written and it’s themes are truly universal. I think everyone can relate to the idea of someone who doesn’t feel loved and therefore doesn’t return love. Scrooge is faced with looking at his life, at the life he’s had and how his life is going to be if he doesn’t change, and of course, that’s shown in a very fantastical way with all these ghosts who visit him, but who hasn’t had a glimpse of that in their own lives?

Do you remember reading the story or seeing a film version when you were a child?

Yes, my introduction to it was the version starring the British actor Alastair Sim (from 1951). He did such an amazing job of bringing Scrooge to life. It was like he had a bad taste in his mouth the whole time and he was so bitter to the core that you felt his pain in such an excruciating way, and that’s what I wanted to bring to this — the bitterness that a loveless life brings to someone.

There’s that expression that by the time you’re 50, you have the face you deserve,
and I certainly believe that your thoughts and your feelings do eventually form your looks. Scrooge is like a road map of pain.

What was the best part of playing Scrooge?

I really love getting inside the head of a character, which probably sounds like a
cliché but I’ve always liked psychology and trying to understand why people become who they are. I also liked Robert’s idea that I should play all the spirits, which I believe is brilliant because all the different spirits could just be different aspects of Scrooge’s character.

You also had to play Scrooge at different ages.

If you look at it like that, it’s about seven different characters because I had to have the mentality of a seven-year-old Scrooge and then the slightly older adolescent Scrooge, who suddenly realises that no one is going to pick him up from the orphanage when everybody else has somewhere else to go, and so on. And, of course, your voice changes as you get older, which was a challenge in itself, as well as several different accents for the spirits.

How about the technical aspects of the film?

People think it’s like voice-over work, but I’d say it’s more like doing a play. All the actors are in a room together and give a complete performance that is captured by a camera. It’s just that those images are then processed by computer to give the film its amazing look.

Do you think there is a moral behind A Christmas Carol? Also, do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

I think the moral of the tale is to love — to love yourself and to love the people around you and to know that you can make a difference in someone else’s life. My favourite Christmas memory is from my childhood.

My big thing was that I couldn’t wait to lay under the tree and squint my eyes up at the lights. I also liked to listen to Johnny Mathis and all those other Christmas songs that just never got old as far as I was concerned.

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