On Saturday, Jim Carrey gave an interview on a New York Fashion Week red carpet that soon went viral, thanks to a stream of existential, philosophical pronouncements some found bizarre and others found delightfully candid.
“There is no me. There are just things happening,” Carrey declared in the iterview. “Here’s the thing. It’s not our world. We don’t matter. There’s the good news.”
Carrey’s comments left plenty of people scratching their heads, but in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival conducted by TheWrap CEO and editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman, the “Ace Ventura” actor explained what he meant.
“As an actor you play characters, and if you go deep enough into those characters, you realize your own character is pretty thin to begin with. You suddenly have this separation and go, “Who’s Jim Carrey? Oh, he doesn’t exist actually,” Carrey said. “There’s just a relative manifestation of consciousness appearing, and someone gave him a name, a religion, a nationality, and he clustered those together into something that’s supposed to be a personality, and it doesn’t actually exist. None of that stuff, if you drill down, is real.”
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It sounds like an existential crisis, but Carrey likened it to more of an epiphany, an “existential experiment” as he calls it.
“I believe I got famous so I could let go of fame, and it’s still happening, but not with me,” Carrey said. “I’m not a part of it anymore. Dressing happens, doing hair happens, interviewing happens, but it happens without me, without the idea of a ‘me.’ You know what I’m saying? It’s a weird little semantic jump, and it’s not that far, but it’s a universe apart from where most people are.”
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“I’m not the continuum. There’s no me. It’s just what’s happening. It’s not personal,” Carrey said. “Things are happening, and they’re going to happen whether I attach myself as an ego to it or not. There’s grooves that are cut pretty deep from my entire life. There’s still an energy that wants to be admired and wants to be clever, and there’s still an energy that wants to free people from concern, and now it goes further. I want to relate what this is to people so they can also glimpse the abyss! It sounds scary, but it’s not. Everything still happens.”
Carrey was at TIFF to talk about the documentary “Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond,” which examines the depths he went to in order to portray comedian Andy Kaufman in the 1999 movie “Man on the Moon.” Kaufman, he explained, represented the same realization he’s now coming to know.
“He was The Great Beyond,” Carrey said. “And The Great Beyond to me represents Andy and represents artists that are willing to go over the line into the unacceptable and the unexpected.”
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“Jim & Andy” director Chris Smith has his own take on all that: “I just asked him one question at the beginning of the interview and just let him talk for four hours.”
Watch the video above.