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Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen and Joel Schumacher Interviewed Ė ĎThe Number 23í
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Opening this Friday is the new Jim Carrey psychological thriller called The Number 23. While most times a star gets on board due to a director or a script, the reason Jim got involved was pretty simple Ė he has an obsession with the number 23. While I had never heard of anyoneís fascination with the number, apparently many people feel very strongly and one of them is definitely Jim. After attending the press conference and hearing him speak, itís clear this was more than a paycheck.


In the film Jim plays a normal every day guy whose life gets thrown into chaos when he starts to read a book called The Number 23. While at first the book seems harmless, the more he reads, the more he starts to see the numbers everywhere. As the film continues, we start to wonder whatís real and whatís in his head.


The interview was conducted as press conference that was done a few weeks back. To listen to the audio click here, otherwise you can read the transcript. Hope you enjoy it.


And if you want to see the trailer before you read the interview click here.




Virginia Madsen asks why Jim has the biggest one (referring to the microphone in front of him)


Jim Carrey: Thatís a question theyíve been asking for years


Question: Before you started this movie you knew about this phenomenon because you named your company JC23, are you thinking of changing that now?


Jim Carrey: No, never.


What did you know about it then that you would want to name your company JC23?


Jim Carrey Well you see it started out for me, a friend of mine in Canada kind of handed it down to me. He was seeing it everywhere, added up license plates, doing all these things, he had a book full of 23 phenomenon and he handed it to me, and I said he was crazy and then I started seeing it everywhere. And then one day, a few years later after it had entered my life in a big way and I was driving my friends crazy, somebody handed me the 23rd Psalm, a book on the 23rd Psalm, the valley of the shadow of death, living without fear basically, knowing youíre taken care of, so I thought that was great progression from Pit Bull productions, which is kind of like grabbing hold of life and just not letting it go, to not sweating it.


Joel Schumacher: And ripping other peopleís throats out.


Jim Carrey: So I named the company that, and then I explained it to a friend and he said, ĎWell, I just read script called The Number 23.í And I said, ĎI have to see this.í And I read the script, I was compelled by it, and I was freaked out actually because the first page of the script was actually originally me trying to capture a pit bull, the Pit Bull Productions to JC23 was not lost there. And it went on like that. Then he read it, and I came back into the room, a friend of mine I gave it to, and I had come back into the room and he had turned to the 23rd page and was circling every 23rd word. He was looking for a code. And thatís what I want to do with the audience with a movie like this, thatís the fun of it.


Have you ever heard of the phenomenon?


Virginia Madsen: Yes, because I think all that stuff is really fun, the shows on the Discovery Channel about ghosts and the yeti and UFOs, which I totally believe in, so Iíd heard about it but I didnít know how vast it was until really the first day of production. Iíd sort of been on line, and I came in and there were these beautiful, beautiful roses from Jim, these enormous - with this romantic note, weíre going to have Ė to my beautiful wife -


Jim Carrey: I just didnít want any trouble.


Virginia Madsen: And you know, I was so gullible I was like, ĎOh, I love him now.í Thatís all it takes. But then on the table there was this book about this thick with all the fun facts about the number 23, just in case youíre a doubter. So I was like, ĎOh my God.í


Jim Carrey: And then it began, and her son started picking out things. Her son was sitting there all day long trying to figure out the phenomenon on the set. And he pointed out that our names together were 23 letters (referring to him and Virginia) and our names together (his and Schumacher) are 23 letters.


Virginia Madsen: And itís his 23rd film (speaking of Schumacher).


Did weird things happen on the set?


Joel Schumacher: Well, I hired Danny and Virginia, I asked them to participate in the movie, and then the first day of shooting I found out they had been married once.


Virginia Madsen: 23 years ago!


Joel Schumacher: And I asked them if they would have a problem doing a sex scene together?


Jim Carrey: Weíre trying to keep them apart right now.


Joel Schumacher: I thought that was kind of, as Jim would say, whooo.


Jim Carrey: By the way, watch the Super Bowl, keep you eye on Devon Hester.


Playing an animal catcher, do you feel youíve come full circle from Ace Ventura?


Jim Carrey: Well, again, this is the way my life and the universe works basically is very mysterious.  Movies find me, and I kind of just allow them to find me, and when it becomes a real good fit I do them. And in this case it was the 23 phenomenon, and also the fact that he was a dog catcher was I think a really nice little wink toward my other work, so it was just all inclusive.


You were very intense in this movie, is this going to start another direction in the way your career is going? I think this movie proves youíre the real McCoy when it comes to doing serious roles


Jim Carrey: Thanks very much, I appreciate that. Well, you know, I really have always thought of myself as somebody who lives in the middle of the wheel and is able to go to the extreme, to the outside of the wheel in any direction, so thatís kind of my Ė the best case scenario for me is to be able to be centered and then go out and you can be zany and funny or you can do something that really has some depth to it and serious. So thereís many different colors to paint with, and I would hate to get trapped in one little thing. I always feel like funny is an appendage, but it is not my whole body.


Which persona for the three of you did you feel more comfortable in?


Virginia Madsen: Well, I definitely -  Agatha, but I mean, all of us have a dark side and all of us have an even darker side to our sexuality, and it was to tap into that. Everything that I play as an actress is a different aspect of me, being able to unlock that little door and show that. This movie was great because I just got to show a lot of different sides.


Jim Carrey: Hitchcock was wonderful in his approach to things, he would make you look at something normal in a completely way, in The Birds it was like you could never look at birds the same way.


Joel Schumacher: Or the shower.


Jim Carrey: The shower, exactly, it tapped into some kind of weird little bugaboo that everybody has, the fear of whatís on the other side of that curtain.


Joel Schumacher: I could never dress up like my mother after that. And that was such a great housedress.


Jim you didnít answer which character Ė


Jim Carrey: Which character was I, all of the above.


Which did you feel the most comfortable being?


Jim Carrey: Well I love Walter because heís the family guy, heís the guy who wants to have a normal life. Heís most of us who want just things to be stable. Weíre in a constant state of denial that we live on plates of rock that are floating on molten magma and nothing is stable in the universe, we just want to keep things from moving too much, or changing too much. So I like that character, he was very loving with his family and he loved his job. But the other character was a little bit different for me to play, so thatís exciting for me Ė


Joel Schumacher: But you fell in love with playing Fingerling.


Jim Carrey: I did like Fingerling, and Jenny liked it. Itís amazing what a tattoo does for a girl.


Joel Schumacher: I donít know if Billyís here, Billy Corso was the make up artist, but Jim and Billy stayed up all one night in the trailer and invented that tattoo.


Virginia Madsen: I was so pleased.


Jim Carrey: That was the reaction it was hilarious, because -


Joel Schumacher: He thought I wouldnít like it. He didnít think I was hip enough to like this tattoo.


Jim Carrey: We didnít know if you could get it. And he just went off for like three weeks he rubbed that one in. 


Joel Schumacher: Yes, well, I have done some hip things in my day.


Jim Carrey: I wanted to approach it right, so I came up to Joel and I said, ĎI wanted to tell you Joel that I know weíre doing the scene with the shirt off today, and I have this tattoo, and Billy and I are used to covering it up so if you donít want to use it thatís totally cool, weíll just use it for something else,í and I took my shirt off and he went, ĎThat canít be real.í


Joel Schumacher: I didnít say that. I said ĎI love it.í


Jim Carrey: Yeah, I love it, itís in the film. I said, ĎSeriously we can cover it up.í He said, ĎItís in the film.í And Virginia was just standing there like this (bland stunned look). She was just standing there looking wistful, so I knew it was working.


Can you describe it and how they put it on, and if you had to have it on for weeks at a time.


Jim Carrey: Billy painted it, originally painted it on, and so we like got on the computer and played around with photo shop and did a mock up of it, and then I stood there and he painted in on me. We were there Ďtil like four or five in the morning downtown in the middle of nowhere, but it was so great. It turned out really cool, and then he worked it out so he came up with the process where he could actually do little pieces of Ė a decal kind of thing where he could stick it on. It still took awhile, but heís just amazing.


Joel Schumacher: And because a lot of the Fingerling world is so graphic and black and white and red, it was perfect. It was perfect to set up a lot of and Virginia is in the black wig and mostly black underwear I think. (Laughs.) Fabrizia doesnít get dressed a lot.


Virginia Madsen: No, I recall one scene where I am just walking out and I just take my coat with the lingerie.


Jim Carrey: And the interesting thing too is our relationship in the two different worlds. Itís like, when I kiss her as my wife, as Walter, itís loving and sweet and itís beautiful. And when we are together as Fabrizia and Fingerling its angry and itís basicallyÖ


Joel Schumacher: Blood is exchanged.


Jim Carrey: Itís biting and eating. Itís consuming the other person.  Itís pretty interesting.


Virginia Madsen: Yeah. (Laughs.)


Q Jim, can I just ask you, do you have any tattoos?


Jim Carrey: I like to start in the center. (Laughs.) No.


Can you clarify who Walter is talking too?


Joel Schumacher: His son.  There is a letter to his son at the end. The whole thing is a letter to his son. 


Anything that really consumes you?


Jim Carrey: The only thing that has ever consumed me is love from time to time.  Feeling like, ĎWhat is it? How do I get it?í All of those things have consumed my mind from time to time. My spiritual journey has been a good kind of thing Iíve been on I guess some people would say Iím obsessed with but in a really good way. Itís just enjoyable. I donít really have crazy obsessions about things.


Joel Schumacher: I think you are more seeking in that. I think you are a pupil, a student.


Jim Carrey: I think obsessions happen because youíre trying to understand something or some urge. Like in the film, I think itís like trying to avoid something.


Joel Schumacher: Well, there are also magnificent obsessions and also more tragic, evil obsessions.  So obsession can be a great thing or it can also destroy lives.


You mentioned Jenny [McCarthy] earlierÖ


Jim Carrey: Oh, I did it.  (Laughs) I see.  Can we just take some personal responsibility for the question youíre about to ask?


Joel Schumacher: You opened the door.


Jim Carrey:  Itís your fault that Iím going to ask you something. (Laughs)


Can you talk about being on the spiritual journey?  I mean being with her, do you feel closer to that good place youíre trying to get to?


Jim Carrey: I feel that our relationship happened at a time that I am more ready than I have ever been in my life to have a relationship.


Joel Schumacher: This is the happiest Iíve ever seen Jim.


Jim Carrey: And we also encourage each other and weíre also on the same path, so itís reallyÖ


Joel Schumacher: And Iíve seen you when youíve been really suffering in love.


For Fingerling did you look at any characters from the past?


Jim Carrey: No, I didnít really. I thought that if I was in that position, if I was that guy how I would see myself and how I would...basically it would bleed into your hair and into your eyes and into everything about you. The coat, all the choices are choices that somebody makes because what is going on in their spirit. Yíknow? Every choice we make is based on that.  The colors we wear Ė everything.  It just bleeds into everything. It starts with a lie the person believes about themselves or the delusion they are living with or the pain that they have kind of accumulated. Things they are not dealing with. It all creeps out in certain ways.


Joel Schumacher: I think it was more original than the noir cop.  Because when you see a cop, especially in a black coat like that in a noir setting, you expect them to be the cynical, burnt out, alcoholic.


Jim Carrey: We didnít want him to be a life hater.


Joel Schumacher: But since it is Walterís delusion that has created this. I think the first time you see him is when he meets Fabrizia and you see one side of him. But when he goes and sees the suicide blonde that Lynn Collins plays so brilliantly, there is a real compassion, because of course, in Walterís life his mother committed suicide and itís the same actress who played his mother and the widow Dobkins and all that, because itís all in his consciousness somewhere and subconscious.  So, I think you can see him as seeing how much he wants for her to have a better life than what she is giving herself. And I think thatís what is different about it.  Itís not, ĎLife is shit. Everyone is shit. Iím on the take.í And I think thatís the difference that Jim brought to it, because it had Walterís spirit in it.


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