Role Mommy contributor Kristin Flannery met the star of “Mr. Poppers Penguins” and she found out that in real life, Jim Carrey is not zany as he seems…
MPP_poster.jpgI expected to meet a crazy, off the wall Jim Carrey, but was pleasantly surprised to discover a deep, thoughtful man when we met for the press junket of “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” out this Friday, June 17th in theaters nationwide. From “Ace Ventura” to “Truman,” we all know Jim Carrey’s acting range is vast, but seeing him in TV interviews when he hams it up for the camera is the way I thought he would arrive at the roundtable. I had a prime seat next to him and when he entered the room, I have to admit that I was a little nervous but he was so nice and made eye contact with everyone in such a way that you thought you were the only person in the room.
While the interviewers complimented Jim on his performance in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” he was very humble, “I’m not the guy who really wants to go out of his way to do something soft, like without kind of a rock and roll edge to it. But, I really kind of felt touched by it. It was really nice.”
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He plays a highly successful real estate developer in Manhattan, too busy to spend quality time with his family and Jim admits that his character is not that far from his own past, “That’s what really drew me to the movie other than the fact that I love penguins, and I’ve said it, so many times before I ever did this project. But, the theme of somebody who is an adventurer but doesn’t explore his relationship with his own son, is an amazing theme for me. Certainly there have been times in my life when I was so crazed with Hollywood and everything that was going on that I missed time with my daughter. So, I understand that and how important that is. And so, that’s a theme that I’m ready to play. We’ve certainly mended anything that was going on between us. We’re closer than ever.”
Like many busy parents dealing with the pressures of having it all, Jim can relate, “I mean, it’s definitely a recognizable theme and certainly something that’s really prevalent for everybody nowadays. Everybody has to work and everybody’s got that kind of guilt feeling, “Am I spending enough time,” and, “Do they have my full focus?”
The most important thing in the world is to make your kids feel like they’re the most important thing to you.”
Now that he has a close relationship with his daughter, he makes sure that his grandson is also a top priority in his life, “I just hung out with him yesterday. He is starting to mimic and stuff like that. It’s so funny. But, he’s about a year and two months. So, he’s just kind of “gah blah,” or whatever. But, he does definitely mimic. And the great thing about him, you can see with kids, before they get squashed by anybody in school or anything like that, is there is this confidence of knowing that they are it.”
Jim is amazed by the self confidence that kids have, “He walks into the room and he says, “Hi!” He’s got this mischief on his face and stuff that you can just tell that he knows he’s going to be completely accepted in every way, you know? There’s no rejection in there at all. It’s just full on, I am it. I know you want to see me. I know whenever I say hi, everybody’s going to laugh, everybody’s going to do their thing.”
When discussing child actors, Jim has an enlightening look on the topic and on parenting in general, “I know a few, and Ron Howard is this wonderful guy. He made it through because he had parents who made him the most important thing. They will, if you love them. But, it’s not their obligation. It’s up to us to love them and let them go and do their thing and not go, “You’re not making me feel good.”
A movie with penguins is sure to have ice skating and Jim took full advantage of the rink. “Behind the scenes, in the apartment when they put that floor down that you could skate on, they lose me when that happens because I’m Canadian. And the rink in Central Park, “Hello.” I was drenched with sweat. Before every take, they’d have to completely re-do my makeup and blow-dry my hair. They’d say, “Come on inside,” and then they’d blow-dry my hair and give me new clothes and everything, because I took my hockey stick and my puck out there and fantasized that I was a Stanley Cup champion.”
Jim holds teachers in high respect, especially one who saw through his antics and helped him focus his talents, “I did until I had one teacher that was so smart in the sixth grade, Lucy Dervadis. She knew because I would always finish my work first. I was really smart in school. And I would finish and then I would disturb everybody by being funny and doing disruptive things in class. And so, she had the brilliant idea of saying, “Jim, if you just sit there and be peaceful, be calm, don’t bother anybody after you finish your work, I’ll give you 15 minutes at the end of class to do whatever you want in front of the class.” But, she came up with an idea. It’s like such a clue into kids. Instead of giving them drugs for ADD, find an outlet. Find something to do with that, because it’s just that they’re special.”
Don’t miss Jim Carrey in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” this Friday, June 17th. Follow the film on Facebook and Twitter and make sure you use the hashtag #popperspenguins. More fun interviews to come, including a chat with Carla Gugino and legendary actress Angela Lansbury! In the meantime, check out this fun trailer!