To celebrate the release of Jim Carrey’s role in the new tv series Kidding, currently airing on CraveTV and The Movie Network, we take a look at some of the Toronto actor’s most memorable roles thus far.
Born in Newmarket, Ontario, he began taking an interest in comedy at a very young age, when at ten years old he wrote a letter to Carol Burnett stating he knew impressions well enough to be on her show.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, that can be seen here, the actor said he wrote himself a chèque of $10 million five years before getting casted for his role in Dumb and Dumber, stating he did that to set the goal for himself that would eventually lead to his success.
The Mask - 1994
Director: Chuck Russell
The role that launched Jim Carrey’s career, ‘The Mask’ is a nineties classic inspired by the comic book series of the same name. In the story, Carrey portrays Stanley Ipkiss, a bank clerk tired of his everyday life. Soon he finds a mask representing Loki, the Norse god of mischief. The moment he wears it he gets the chance to emulate his inner self. However things soon go awry when his alter ego is found linked to the death of a crime boss’s friend.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – 2004
Director: Brad Siberling
Based on the children’s book series by author Daniel Handler, most famously known under the pen name Lemony Snicket, the film began development back in 2000, and cost over $100 million. The film follows Count Olaf, devilishly portrayed by Carrey, who plots to earn the fortune of his adopted relatives after taking them under his care, despite them being under age. Despite the film not being developed into a franchise and instead rebooted as a Netflix series, it was praised for Carrey’s acting, and was approved enough to earn several Academy Award nominations such as Best Makeup and Art Direction.
The Truman Show – 1998
Director: Peter Weir
Truman Burbank’s life is seemingly perfect. He has the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect family, and in the perfect neighborhood. Except none of it is real. It’s one of Carrey’s top roles because he manages to play off as naïve, even though the audience along with all the other characters know full well he’s been lied to. It’s a great social commentary that forces us to look at our own lives, and how much of it is a certain way because of what those around us decided. What we realize at the end when Burbank finally has his awakening is the joke is really on the audience. Sooner or later he would have discovered his life was a reality show, but how long before we see that the film is about us? That we're just as clueless as the fans in the movie who spend their days watching him?
Man on the Moon – 1999
Director: Milos Forman
In Carrey’s first critically acclaimed role, he portrays the late famous and controversial comedian Andy Kaufman. Kaufman was a mysterious, misunderstood performer who above all, wanted to be known beyond his classic character Latka on the series Taxi. Here Carrey shows his sensitive, vulnerable side without letting the audience in too closely, just like Kaufman did in real life. You’re never really sure why he puts on a stint, but you go along because you just can’t seem to keep your eyes off him. The role even earned Carrey a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.
Most recently a documentary called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond was released last year which takes us behind the scenes in the making of the movie, which can be seen on Netflix.
Fun fact: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman also share the same birthday, January 17th.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 2004
Director: Michel Gondry
The plot is straightforward yet harrowing. Carrey plays Joel, a man who’s ex-partner Clementine decided to get a procedure to erase any memories of their relationship. Most of the story takes place inside the male lead’s mind, as we’re given insight into how exactly the couple fell apart. Here Jim Carrey is relatable and steers clear from his usual quirky roles. Despite already having proved himself as a serious actor with the release of Man on the Moon and The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was the role that finally convinced critics he’s more than just a comedian. (Not that he needed to convince fans.)