Jim Carrey Distances Himself from Kick Ass 2—A New Kind of Actor Protest?

The comedian isn't the first to back-pedal on a project, but he's doing it in a new way

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Kick-Ass 2
Daniel Smith / Universal Pictures

Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) strategizes with Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in 'Kick-Ass 2'

If you didn’t guess from the title, Kick-Ass 2 is—like its predecessor—pretty violent. At least one person involved in the production isn’t so happy about that. On June 23, actor Jim Carrey (who plays mobster-cum-crimefighter Colonel Stars and Stripes) tweeted to his 10 million followers that he could not back the film, which is due in theaters Aug. 16 . “I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” he wrote, following it up with an apology to his colleagues and the clarification that he was not ashamed of the film itself but, rather, had changed his position on on-screen violence.

As Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress points out, Carrey has not elaborated on what exactly he’s bothered by and why—or even what he means by “cannot support.” Some of his fans have suggested that he donate his earnings from the film to a cause related to violence prevention, but consensus seems to be that he will at least refrain from promoting the movie. Mark Millar, the creator of the comic on which Kick-Ass is based, wrote in response to the tweet that the movie is “one of Carrey’s best-ever performances” and he’s “baffled” by what Carrey said, because it’s: (a) a work of fiction, (b) less violent than superhero blockbusters, (c) a movie that spends time talking about the consequences of violence, and (d) about a vigilante, Carrey’s character, who refuses to carry a gun. (More on that in the video below.)

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Carrey isn’t the first actor to back-pedal on a project—but he’s still bringing something new into the mix.

Most stars do it after the fact, and mostly because they think the movie in question just isn’t much good.

Mark Wahlberg, for example, made 2008’s The Happening but then publicly said it was “a bad movie” while promoting The Fighter about two years later. Christopher Plummer waited even longer: he apparently dissed what he called “The Sound of Mucus” for the beloved musical’s 40th anniversary. There’s little incentive for actors to say something before a movie even has a chance to be a success, something they benefit from regardless of quality, unless they think it’s so bad that it will reflect badly on them—which is what happened when Brad Pitt said he tried to walk away from The Devil’s Own, just about a month before that 1997 movie was due in theaters. Likewise, the New York Times review of 1990’s The Freshman includes Marlon Brando‘s public statement that the movie is “horrible” and “going to be a flop” and “a stinker.”

On the I-won’t-do-promotions side, Edward Norton refused to promote The Hulk in 2008, due to personal differences with the film’s producers; Sean Connery also refused to participate in 50th-anniversary celebrations for the James Bond franchise. There’s a potential reason few actors follow in Norton’s footsteps: many actor contracts require participation in publicity events; if that’s the case for Carrey, he may face legal repercussions if he follows through on his tweeted intent.

Carrey, however, isn’t saying that Kick-Ass 2 is bad—he’s saying it’s, according to his thinking, wrong. This has also happened before; for example, Katherine Heigl told Vanity Fair she thought Knocked Up was sexist. A more apt comparison, however, since that also took place months after the movie was already a hit, is perhaps the decision by movie studios and TV networks to delay violent content in the days and weeks that directly follow events like the Newtown shootings.

As TIME’s James Poniewozik wrote back in December, examining that phenomenon on TV, those decisions seem to make sense at the time—but also seem to imply that everything is suddenly all better at some randomly chosen point in the future, when the news cycle has moved on and gun violence (or whatever the tragedy is in a particular case) is no longer in the news.

So that’s where Carrey is doing something we don’t see very often: he’s talking about violence in the movies when there hasn’t been a mass shooting in the last couple of days. If he follows through on his tweet, he’ll be bringing the issue into the news independent of anyone actually getting shot—which, no matter one’s take on the issue and no matter the movie, is refreshing to see.

(MOREWhat We Should Be Thinking About Pop-Culture Violence, and What We Will Probably Do Instead)

12 comments
WinterIsis
WinterIsis

Well, I did not see anywhere that Carrey has returned the money he was paid for making the movie he is now attempting to sink at the box office.  Perhaps that is understandable in light of the fact that he is a Progressive.  That is how they function.  A sort of 'I got mine, now close the door' mentality.  His money is in the bank, but those who spent their money to back the movie (and to pay Carrey) are hoping for a chance to earn that money back.  I watched Carrey in the Batman film and thought he stole that show, but his political bent is now souring my impression of him.  I believe we should all pay the price for the choices we make, and I hope that people who see what Carrey is doing by trying to torpedo this film--without returning the money he was paid, that is important--as nothing more than political manipulation and in remember it in the future when Carrey makes new films or TV, and turn against him just as he is turning against the producers who hired him.

ThomasE.Reed
ThomasE.Reed like.author.displayName 1 Like

Carrey hasn't had much notice for a long time. His spastic geek roles aren't selling any more, and his slower, supposedly serious roles aren't catching on either. I have the feeling he's going through Male Actor Menopause, and he doesn't know where his career can go, so he lashes out at one of the more stupid roles he's recently finished. And yes, it's kind of inappropriate, as well as against the Actor's Code, to diss a film that just paid you money.


dbrunover1
dbrunover1

I'm skipping this move just so I don't have to smell his stench ..

NebuchadnezzarII
NebuchadnezzarII

Whatever, actors get paid to act, not pontificate. If he refuses payment, that'd be saying something. If he had a problem with the movie, it should have been when he read the script.

tony.ornelas
tony.ornelas

There was a scene in the comic where little kids are violently gunned-down after giving directions to some villains. This was quickly followed up by a gang-rape and the murder of an entire squad of cops.

If any of this is in the movie then I can't begrudge him for not wanting to promote the film.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

funny that he didn't have any problems with this until AFTER he got paid.  at the end of the day, he's just a wh0re like the rest of hollywood

Marney864
Marney864

For someone so passionately against violence, one would think he would have done the easiest form of homework for this sequel --- watch the first movie.  The original Kick-Ass was marred with criticism due to it's taboo violence and language mixed with minors.  What a Dumb-Ass.

mandrews445
mandrews445

I hope he did give his paychecks to charity. Otherwise, this act would be considered lowdown, not supporting the movie after he was paid to act in it. Talk about taking the money and running...

Mickiee
Mickiee

Did Jim Carey give the money he earned from the movie to charity or did he keep it?

annetown
annetown

Uhhh.. Forgot the 'S' in scum up there. Awwwkwaaarrrrdd

jesuswalksmovie
jesuswalksmovie

@annetownCum is the Latin word for with and is usually used to join two nouns, showing that something serves two purposes.  Awwwwkwaaaarrrrddd

HarveyWallbanger1
HarveyWallbanger1

Jim Carrey is a flake. There were enough historical acts of violence for him to have developed such an objection to on-screen violence before now. There's some other motivation behind this sudden change of heart, I believe...perhaps the nearly likelihood that nobody would go see it. The movie studio should definitely sue him for damages...sabotaging the movie as such before it is released.