Jim Carrey used to be Hollywood’s biggest name. He was the first actor to receive $20 million a movie, and around 20 years ago, he had a string of hit films which are rightly considered comedy classics now.
In 1994 alone, Carrey starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. From there he went on to star in Liar Liar, The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and countless others, firmly cementing his place as Hollywood royalty and one of the greatest comedy actors of all time.
While many actors’ careers ebb and flow, Carrey has never been one to do things quietly.
Even when not starring in a film or TV project, the 56-year-old has consistently made headlines with his off-screen antics too.
From baffling interviews on the red carpet, to opening up about his mental health, and more recently, finding a new creative outlet as a political cartoonist, Carrey’s career and celebrity status has always been more attention-grabbing than the usual Hollywood celebrity.
Yet, despite his other ventures, Carrey has been notably absent from our screens for some time now.
He is, however, returning to acting in an upcoming series called Kidding, thanks to a reconnection with director Michel Gondry, who worked with Carrey on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about his role as children’s TV host Mr Pickles, Carrey said:
I relate to this character on the level of somebody who has tried to bring joy and goodness through my work to the world, whose intention has always been to free people from concern.
Though it might not exactly feel like it, Carrey did make a conscious decision to move away from the limelight, and aside from a few choice roles (the less said about Dumb and Dumber To the better), he’s moved away from the world of acting.
Speaking of why he’s returning now, Carrey said:
You’re always waiting for that thing that you recognise as some part of yourself that you’ve experienced or haven’t been able to express yet, and also what you’re equipped to express now, after whatever life experience I’ve had in the last little while.
So you’re always looking for that thing that can express that, and when it comes – there’s always talk about movies and television, and whatever it is [but] it doesn’t really matter what the delivery system is. It’s really what you’re delivering.
But why the withdrawal from acting in the first place?
I just didn’t want to be in the business anymore. I didn’t like what was happening, the corporations taking over and all that.
And maybe it’s because I felt pulled toward a different type of creative outlet, and I really liked the control of painting.
Despite his paintings attracting their fair share of attention and notoriety, even submitting his ‘official portrait’ of Trump to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Carrey is most captivating when onscreen. It’s a welcome return.
Kidding will premiere on Showtime in the US on September 9.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.