Steve Carell and Jim Carey Interview – HORTON HEARS A WHO
Posted by Frosty
Opening this Friday is “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.” The film’s based on the classic Seuss book that was first published in 1954 and it’s about an imaginative elephant who hears a cry for help coming from a tiny speck of dust floating through the air. Suspecting there may be life on that speck and despite a surrounding community which thinks he has lost his mind, Horton is determined to help.
I saw a screening the other day and loved it. The animation’s beautiful and Jim Carey and Steve Carell were great as Horton and the mayor. I think the film’s going to make buckets of cash for Fox, and audiences will love the world of whoville.
Anyway, last weekend I got to attend a press conference with Jim and Steve and they talked about making the movie and what they have coming up. It’s a very funny transcript and worth reading. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the audio file from my recorder (I’m very mad at myself) so I can’t give you an MP3 of the interview. Again, sorry.
And if you missed the movie clips I posted a few days ago, you can watch them here. Again, “Horton” hits theaters this weekend and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Question: We all know that Dr. Seuss, you find his books in the young readers section of the bookstore or library. But I think we also know that Seuss transcends age and demographic, or whatever. Talk – in your mind, talk about yourself about, what about Horton really transcends a story for young people? Makes it for everybody? [LAUGHTER] Tell us, please.
STEVE CARELL: How does it transcend stories for young people? It's very – you're being very heady, right off the bat.
JIM CAREY: It hurts. It hurts.
STEVE CARELL: You know what? I don't think, as a five or six-year-old, you think about how things transcend anything. You just think about how it resonates. However much anything resonates in a five or six-year-old. This is a book that I think resonates with kids. And they don't understand the metaphors, and the – you know, the sort of richness to it. But at the same time, it resonates. There's something very specific about the theme, that I think even a little kid can understand. And that is that everyone deserves an equal footing in life. And I think that's just a very basic tenet of being a creature of the world.
JIM CAREY: Yeah. That was a really good answer.
STEVE CARELL: Just say the same thing. [LAUGHTER]
JIM CAREY: No, I think – you know, as far as kids go, the thing that attracts them to this is not the deeper concepts involved. It's really just the fact that Seuss's creativity was so incredible. He was such an original. And if you give a kid a character that he's never seen before, in a world he's never seen before, it just – they're able to completely lose themselves in an imaginary space. And yet at the same time, they're getting all those wonderful lessons. And – you know, my own personal experience, I just looked at it and went – you know, I've always been drawn to things that are different, you know? I felt odd anyway, as a child. So – you know, anything odd, I went, "Oh, that's – those are my people. The Sneetches without Stars. You know, I dig those people." There's something very original about the whole thing. And that's what draws kids. You know, myself, I listened to them on tape, so I didn't really see the pictures, but [LAUGHTER] – no. No.
QUESTION: What made you think that way, Jim, about being odd? Looking at things in an odd way when you were a kid?
JIM CAREY: I – I don't know. I was the baby of the family. I was kind of – I just – I guess my father was strange. My father was funny and strange, and I looked at him and I went, "Wow. Everybody's looking at my Dad, and everybody's laughing at my Dad." And I just immediately kind of wanted to be that. So I locked myself in my room when all the other kids were outside playing, and was devising ways to make myself appear to be different. Somehow.
QUESTION: You're both incredible physical comedians, and I was just, wondering how limiting does it feel, when you really have to do a lot with your voice, even though we saws in the scenes they've given, you will be turned into Horton, and you as well. Can you talk a little about that? Using your voice?
STEVE CARELL: I think there's a freedom within the limitations. I think when you are given sort of a structure, and you can do anything within that structure, there's something freeing to that. As opposed to, you can do anything, any time, anywhere. Sometimes you just don't know where to focus. At least for me. And really, the heavy lifting is done by the animators. I think we provide as much as we can vocally. But then you see it, and you see where they've taken whatever you've done vocally, and it's remarkable. So.
JIM CAREY: That's the great thing about this, is that you're surrounded by artists who are just as creative, or more so, than you are. And I love being handled by nerds. It's fantastic, man. Just to spew something out, and then have somebody put wings on it. You know, it's fantastic. It's a wonderful thing.
STEVE CARELL: Yeah. It's really cool.
JIM CAREY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Did you ever work together?
JIM CAREY: I still have never met him. But I'm looking forward to it.
STEVE CARELL: I'm sort of in awe, honestly. Cuz I was watching Jim answer that question before, and it still – I'm still sort of pinching myself, honestly, to – to be working with him. That's a big honor for me.
QUESTION: Jim, I know in the past you've turned down animated films where the schedule might have conflicted with staying in character, and other roles. So how did this one work out, were you able to work in between other movies, or –
JIM CAREY: Well, what they do is, they come to your house and they say, "This is going to be the simplest process in the world." And they lie to you, completely lie to you. Anybody who they're doing that to in the future might want to take note. It is hard work. [LAUGHTER] I mean, it is like – it's not as simple as they make it sound. It is – you know, a half a day here and there. Whenever you get a free moment, you're going in to do it. And – but the fact is, they come to you, and they really don't have a script. They don't have – you know, they have an overall idea of where they want to go, but they go, "Here's – you know, here's eight pages. What do you think we should do with it?" You know? And you sit in a room and you jam, and you come up with ideas, and you come up with lines. And it's a very – it's an amazing process. Because you think, "How is this ever gonna get to the end and make sense?"
STEVE CARELL: Well, it's also a huge leap of faith, too. Because there you are, and you don't know how anything you do will synch up with what anyone else is doing. So it's all based on how the director sees it and hears it. So he's the one threading all of these performances together. So you give him 100 – 1000 different variations on a scene. And then he then crafts it with the rest of the performances. So that – and I think it's a huge leap of faith. Cuz you can do things that you think, "Will that even work?" And in terms of what he's hearing, yeah.
QUESTION: Guys, both of you jump in the way-back machine for me, and tell me, was there a time in your life when you actually felt like a speck? And who saved you?
JIM CAREY: I know I'm a speck.
JIM CAREY: Absolutely. There's no question about it. I think – you know, that's how I feel. Honestly. Yeah, I mean, it just – I'm an interesting speck. But – but I think – you know, that's how I've always thought, in those terms. I mean, how can you look at the sky at night and not feel that you're a speck somewhere? I mean, I feel like – I saw a picture on Discovery Channel one time of Earth from Mars. Earth from – yeah, it was Earth from kind of the Mars perspective. The Mars Rover thing. And you could hardly find it. It was a speck. We truly are a speck. You know? So there's all different levels of that. It's just kind of where you're at. It's really true.
QUESTION: Steve, do you have an insignificant time in your life?
STEVE CARELL: If I think about it too much, my mind will explode. [LAUGHTER] Because essentially, the same thing. You know, we are – we're all so, so tiny, in the big picture. And it depends on what picture you're looking at. In the really big picture, we're infinitesimal. But –
JIM CAREY: I've always thought there were worlds within worlds within worlds, though. That somewhere on my right arm, there's – inside a cell, there's some kind of world happening where people are sitting there, going, "Oh, I hope we don't destroy ourselves." You know?
STEVE CARELL: Which gives us absolute—
JIM CAREY: He could swing that arm and hit it against a tree, and we're gone.
STEVE CARELL: That's right. That's why we're paralyzed. That's why now, after doing this movie, I can hardly move. Because essentially, I'm afraid I will be crushing tiny universes wherever I go.
JIM CAREY: That's right.
STEVE CARELL: So even in your laughter, and the saliva that's coming out of your mouth, you are killing worlds.
JIM CAREY: Right. There are worlds of people. There are worlds of people.
STEVE CARELL: So if that – if there's one thing people can take away from this movie, I hope it's that.
JIM CAREY: It's Armageddon in my pants right now. [LAUGHTER] I swear to God, it's Armageddon.
QUESTION: Oh, my goodness. I don't want to follow that. But I want to ask each of you, have you had a chance to talk to Audrey Geisel? And I – Jim, I think you may have talked to her –
JIM CAREY: Yeah.
QUESTION: -- the first time around. Have you talked to her further since then?
JIM CAREY: Well, every once in a while I say hi, but we don't talk a lot. But, you know, I was really honored that she kind of like, it was the first thing out of her mouth when they come to her with Horton, is, "Can you get Jim Carey?" So I feel really honored that she wants me to be a part of the legacy. And – you know. I just feel wonderful that two of these projects have come my way, you know? I'm such a fan of Dr. Seuss. So I – you know, it's a great thing. It's a great thing.
STEVE CARELL: No, no, I've never spoken to her.
QUESTION: Do both of you remain genuinely surprised at this sort of extraordinary success that you've attained? Do you pinch yourselves, and wonder why it is that you've become almost iconic in your success? And the second part of the question is, you know, there's all these videos, these Ben Affleck Jimmy Kimmel videos. And I was wondering –
JIM CAREY: Do you know about these?
STEVE CARELL: Yeah. Yes.
JIM CAREY: Okay.
STEVE CARELL: So you're asking, am I fucking Jim Carey? I think it's great to do a press junket for Horton Hears a Who, frankly – that speaks to all the kids that are going to be –
JIM CAREY: Yeah. That's a good tack to take on this, I think.
STEVE CARELL: And our Fox friends are – are –
JIM CAREY: They're gonna love it. They're gonna love it.
STEVE CARELL: Quite horrified right now. No. That's – that's not a legacy that I am – I am – straining to be a part of. In terms of pinching myself about success, all day, every day. I – and I owe a lot to Jim, frankly, for any of my success. Because essentially the first movie I was ever in was Bruce Almighty. And – and I never got auditions for movies, and it was one of the first I'd ever gotten. And – so I –
JIM CAREY: Stole the whole fucking movie. [LAUGHTER]
STEVE CARELL: No. But – but I remember – and I said this to Jim a week or two ago. Was that, I remember watching Liar, Liar, and thinking, "That looks like the most fun you could possibly have." Just being on set. You know, and at the end, the outtakes. And I thought, "Man, that just looks like a party." And I – in my wildest dreams, didn't think I would ever be able to be a part of that. And then a couple years later, I was. So – yes. I'm still pinching myself every time.
JIM CAREY: And he did an amazing job, and he's done that ever since. It's incredible to watch him.
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