Created: Tuesday, 16 December 2008 17:38
Published: Tuesday, 16 December 2008 17:32
Written by Lupe Haas
It’s no surprise Jim Carrey’s career has lasted through hits and misfires. The energetic and positive funny man had the press and his fellow Yes Man co-stars (Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Danny Masterson) laughing and entertained throughout the press conference promoting his latest comedy Yes Man at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
In Yes Man, Jim is Carl, a negative person always saying no to life until he is forced into thinking as a yes man and agrees to everything. Jim took this to heart in real life. Jim Carrey took method acting one step forward with a leap off a bridge for a bungee jump scene in which he insisted on performing himself.
CineMovie: What was going through your mind when you were on that bridge?
Jim: Death. Lots about death and lots of crossing over were actually going through my mind. Prior to that I thought to myself, “They do this all the time. They’ve got this down.” But when I stepped onto that bridge - that was intense enough. “What have I done? Why am I doing here!” Then when I got my feet up on the ledge, it literally felt like a freight train going through my veins and body until I jumped. It was insane. I actually had post traumatic stress for about a week after the jump. I dreamt of hitting the ground. Those people who do it all the time are addicted to that adrenaline rush like you would not believe.
John Michael Higgins: Can I ask a question? You have a scene answering the cell phone while you’re hanging, did they reset the shot or was it all in one take?
Jim: I’m always trying to complicate things. At the last second, I was like, “Well maybe I can get that in!” So I made a styrofoam cell phone so it wouldn’t hit me in the lip, put it in my pocket, and gave it a shot. And I did it. Once I knew I was alive, I was fine.
CineMovie: Would you do it again?
Jim: No, did that and crossed it off my list. They didn’t want me to do it at all so I said I’m only going to do it once in my life so might as well get it on camera.
In a separate press conference with Director Peyton Reed, Reed tells us he took every possible safety precaution that day for his star and moved the scene to the last day of shooting to satisfy the studio, producers, and insurance company who initially refused to grant Jim’s request to bungee jump himself. Multiple cameras caught the one-time Jim jump and even Reed was surprised to see Jim have the presence of mind to finish the scene with him talking into a cell phone.
Jim took on other life threatening risks for Yes Man but his life was not in danger this time.
Jim: I had to learn Korean phonetically every day for four weeks with a Korean coach who literally is afraid to go back to Korea if I got it wrong. He would tell me, “No! No! No! This is serious. I will be hurt.” So I hope I got it right. But he was on me and it took a while. It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life but I was dedicated. Very dedicated.
CineMovie: Speaking of tough, what scene was the hardest to shoot or get through in the movie?
Bradley Cooper: The scene that didn’t make it in the movie was the brawl at the bar.
Jim: [laughs] Our true punk nature came out.
Bradley: [to Jim] You went for it. There were a bunch of stunt guys and extras, and Jim just said, “Let’s go for it. Lets mess around a bit.”
Jim: Let’s go melee! Hockey fight! C’mon!
Bradley: And Jim’s energy was so high that it made you want to follow, so we went for it. It started out as acting but then it got heated. Soon there was twelve guys beating the sh*# out of each other and Jim’s flying all over the place. It was unbelievable.
Jim: At one point, I turned around and one girl was punching me in the head. I also caught an elbow in the eye.
Bradley: [to Jim] You cracked me in the nose.
Jim: I cracked my ribs in another bar scene.
Zooey: And you were amazingly good-natured about it. I came in the next day and Jim would joke, “cracked rib” then laugh and you’d be like ‘Ow! ‘
Jim: They had to move all the physical stuff to the end of the shoot because I had three fractured ribs.
Zooey: But that didn’t slow you down at all.
As Jim Carrey’s love interest, Zooey Deschanel avoided the rumbling and death defying acts but she did bring her own indie musical talents to the music and lyrics for her on screen music band with real act, the Von Iva’s from San Francisco.
Zooey: I usually write alone so it was fun to write with other people and the Von Iva’s are so funny, talented and smart. It was a fun process joining their band for a week.
Jim: She blew us away with that stuff. We weren’t expecting that. . .
Jim: We were on the set and we were like, “What? This is fantastic.” We loved it.
CineMovie: Given the theme of the movie, would you consider yourselves yes people?
Danny: I said no to Spiderman. So no!
John: I say “yes” to everything. Have you seen my resume?
[laughter from the room]
Jim: I would say I am a yes man.
Bradley: I have to admit that after seeing the film, I was suckered into the movie in the sense that it got me thinking “I have to change my life around.”
Zooey: It’s exhausting to just say “yes” to everything for real even if it’s just for a day.
Bradley: Have you tried it?
Zooey: [guilty] No!
CineMovie: What’s the dumbest thing you’ve regretted saying “yes” to in the past?
Jim: [in a low voice] The Majestic.
Danny: Getting the Brazilian wax. That hurt.
Jim: Looks good though.
Danny: It’s really tight in there.
Jim: And great from what I’ve seen.
Zooey: I accidentally entered a youth pageant when I was fourteen. It’s a beauty pageant but without the beauty. It was terrible.
Danny: How did it happen accidentally?
Zooey: I thought it was a talent show. My choir teacher lead me on.
Bradley: I studied abroad and misread the form thinking 500 pounds was a lot of money to spend for six months there. I was wrong and broke for the last three months. I ate rice and oil for the remaining time. I gained a lot of weight.
Jim: I was eleven years old and joined the Sea Cadets which is like a military version of the Boy Scouts. They shave your head and humiliate you but you know what, if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t know that I’m a useless maggot. So I’m glad. Saying “yes” always leads to something good.
And it’s that positive thinking that will have moviegoers returning to see Jim Carrey get back to his comedic roots in Yes Man opening December 19.
Watch Jim Carrey’s inspirational speech in Spanish.
Created: Thursday, 23 October 2008 12:58
Published: Thursday, 23 October 2008 12:52
Written by Lupe Haas
You know you’ve made it as an actor in Hollywood when you’re starring opposite Edward Norton and Colin Farrell in “Pride and Glory” opening October 24th. Actor Manny Perez is living the American Dream.
Manny Perez first came to attention in 2002 with the independent film “Washington Heights” which he starred, produced and co-wrote. Director Gavin O’Connor also took notice of Manny Perez and five years later cast him as Coco Dominguez, a “sleaze bucket” as Manny describes it from Washington Heights who is threatend and beaten by crooked New York cop played by Colin Farrell in “Pride and Glory”.
Since coming to attention in 2002, Manny Perez has starred in numerous television roles such as F/X’s “Rescue Me” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” on NBC and starred opposite Roselyn Sanchez, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez, and Harvey Keitel in feature films. Not too shabby for an kid who immigrated from the Dominican Republic to Providence, Rhode Island with his parents and eleven siblings with no knowledge of the English language. This talented actor tells us how he achieved his American Dream and his on set experience with “Pride and Glory”.
Not a bad gig when you get to work with Edward Norton and Colin Farrell, two of the hottest actors in Hollywood.
Manny: I am a big fan of both but I mostly worked with Colin Farrell. I expected this bad boy because that’s what you hear about him but once I met him, it was the opposite. He was one of the most kindness man I’ve met in my life. He’s totally down to earth, respects the craft of acting, and caters to the actor by rehearsing the scene and bringing out the best from you.
Edward Norton is also known to be very hands on during production and has had clashes in the past with filmmakers, most recently with Marvel over “The Incredible Hulk”. Did you see any of his influence on set?
Manny: I had only scene with Edward Norton and I didn’t see one person taking over the set. Director Gavin O’Connor had full control but he let his actors improvise and everyone had input including the extras who were from the neighborhood. Gavin cast real people from Washington Heights to give it realism and authenticity so if something was not realistic from their perspective, Gavin would listen to their input and take it into account. That’s the beauty of working with Gavin. As an actor, I prefer directors letting the actor do their thing and not just be a puppet.
As a working actor who broke through on the independent side, what advice would you recommend for struggling actors especially minorities who are not offered many roles in Hollywood?
Manny: You can’t wake up one morning and say ‘I want to be an actor’. You have to prepare yourself very well. I came from the Dominican Republic at age ten without knowing any English. I learned the language, studied theater in high school, went on to college and studied acting. I prepared myself very well and I’m always doing something to advance myself. You have to respect the craft and learn everything there is to it. And then you can go the independent route which is what I did.
You continue to advance your career and not rely on Hollywood to come calling. You’re writing, producing, and starring in your own projects?
Manny: I believe in the Spike Lee way, in that no one is going to make films about me or for me so it’s up to me to create my own and continue doing as I first did with “Washington Heights”. Currently, we’re editing “El Hijo del Carnicero” and I’m writing another story set in the Dominican Republic about third world corruption. We hope to start shooting early next year. So I’m continuing doing my own thing.
While doing his "own thing" Perez has his share of Hollywood film projects coming soon. Opening in December, Manny appears with Freddy Rodriguez and frequent collaborator John Leguizamo
in “Nothing Like The Holidays” and he begins shooting an animated film
with Michael Caine and Jack Black this month.
Manny, however, sets both the independent and Hollywood fare aside for a personal crusade. In 2007, he was honored with a Humanitarian Award in his native country and recently the Tony Bennett Excellence in Media Award and Perry Ellis Humanitarian Award in the U.S. for his charitable work.
Manny: I came from a poor mountainous region in the Dominican Republic and I didn’t have my first pair of shoes until I was five years old. I know what’s it’s like to be without something so basic. So I connected with Soles 4 Souls.org and Crocs United to provide shoes to the poor and needy in third world countries. It’s a thing I love to do. Once you have shoes, you feel more grounded as a human being.
And no one knows that better than Manny Perez who will no doubt be one step ahead of the rest. Catch this well grounded actor when “Pride and Glory” hits theaters October 24.