As anyone who’s seen last year’s Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond will attest, Jim Carrey really throws himself into his roles.
And so it was that when he played The Grinch in Ron Howard’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, he truly embodied Dr. Suess’s mean, chaotic character.
So much so, in fact, that his make-up artist ended up in therapy.
The revered Kazuhiro Tsuji was the man behind Carrey’s astonishing transformation for the movie, which involved hours and hours in the make-up chair every day.
Tsuji was also responsible for movies like Men In Black, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Hellboy, and is currently Oscar nominated for his work turning Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
“Once we were on set, [Carrey] was really mean to everybody and at the beginning of the production they couldn’t finish,” Tsuji told Vulture.
“After two weeks we only could finish three days’ worth of shooting schedule, because suddenly he would just disappear and when he came back, everything was ripped apart. We couldn’t shoot anything.”
One day things came to a head.
“In the makeup trailer he just suddenly stands up and looks in the mirror, and pointing on his chin, he goes, ‘This colour is different from what you did yesterday,’” Tsuji went on.
“I was using the same colour I used yesterday. He says, ‘Fix it.’ And okay, you know, I ‘fixed’ it. Every day was like that.”
Because of the slow pace of the movie, it was agreed that a ‘mentally exhausted’ Tsuji would leave the production, in part for him to rest, and also to teach Carrey that his work was to be appreciated.
Eventually, after Carrey tried to contact Tsuji personally – Tsuji did not answer the call, nor return his message – director Howard got in touch and told Tsuji that Carrey had promised to change.
“I went back under one condition,” Tsuji said. “I was talking with my friends, and they all told me, ‘You should ask for a raise before you go back.’ I didn’t want to do that — kind of nasty. Then I got the idea: How about I ask them to help me to get a green card?”
However, following the experience, he checked himself into therapy.
“If I had a choice, I would not be in this mental state all the time. I’m really an introvert,” he added. “I don’t like to be in many groups of people, or work under those conditions.”