Babble was lucky enough to talk to funny man Jim Carrey about his latest film, Mr. Popper’s Penguins (which hits theaters this Friday!). Read on for our interview, where Jim tells us what it was like to work with penguins, gives advice for parents whose kids want to make it in Hollywood, and shares how he got away with being a picky eater when he was younger. (And if you were wondering, Jim is just as funny in person as he is on the big screen.)
What drew you to this film?
Other than the fact that I love penguins, which I’ve said so many times before I ever did this project, 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. [My daughter and I] have certainly mended anything that was going on between us. We’re closer than ever.
Read more from our interview with Jim Carrey after the jump!
What was it like to work with real, live penguins? There’s a dinner scene in the movie with you and them we particularly loved.
They were supposed to sit in their seats and peck the fish off the plate and everything. And there were these guys with broom poles in little separations between them holding them back. But by the time they pull the camera back, the penguins had gone so mental that they were just like, “Screw it,” and they were up on the table, all over the plates and stuff, and all over the place. And inside my mind I’m just going, “This is amazing.”
Tell us about your new grandson!
He’s got this mischief on his face 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.”
But he’s very funny, too. Yesterday it was the sunglasses, putting the sunglasses upside down. And that totally reminded me of me because I was a very finicky eater, and my mother said that I got out of eating every time by just making everybody laugh and everybody howl at the table. When I was an infant, I was doing weird faces and stuff until the food got cold.
At what age did it hit you that, “I need to be an entertainer”?
Since I was a little tiny kid, I used to look at my dad, and he used to command the room. And he was one of the funniest human beings you’ve ever met in your life. He was just one of these characters that when he told a story, he was so incredibly animated. The character I played in Truman Show was my father. And so, I saw him early on and I thought, “That’s me. That’s who I’m going to be.”
What was it like working with your younger co-stars?
Great. They are really talented kids, super talented, more so than you even see in the film.
I always worry for kids when I work with them that they’re going to make it through okay, because it’s a really tough thing for an undeveloped ego to handle that attention and that extra energy like that coming at them.
I think it’s really an important thing for parents to realize that they’re there to love their kids, their kids aren’t there to love them. 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.
These kids, when I see them, I just hope that the whole Hollywood acting thing is about what they love and not what their parents want or how their parents what to be seen.
Got any advice for parents whose kids want to get into the business?
Make sure that it’s about them and not you, not how you’re seen in the world, not, “You’re going to make me look great if you do the right thing.” I literally have, in films, seen a toddler being spoken to by a parent saying, “Your dad and I talked about this. It’s going to be a lot of money.” And I’m sitting there pulling my face off going like, “That child doesn’t have a chance.” That’s the main gist.