It is not really difficult to get Jim Carrey, who commands more than $20 million per film, to halve his remuneration. Give him a script like the one in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, and see what happens (though the title doesn't really have to be that long).
Carrey, who is often called a leather-faced actor by the critics, makes huge profits for his producers when he bites into sitcom kind of movies. His quest for dramatic films has resulted in a mixed bag, making some of his die-hard fans wonder why he can't stick to slapstick.
While his nasty turn in The Cable Guy didn't work out, he was brilliant in The Truman Show, which went on to earn about $250 million worldwide. He failed in the sentimental The Majestic but he says he has hopes that his new film, which must have cost about half of the budget of his mainstream films ($80-$100 million) will be a winner.
The 42-year-old actor, whose last comedy Bruce Almighty grossed over $450 million worldwide last year, also craves for emotional dramas like Eternal Sunshine. Charlie Kaufman, the maverick Hollywood craftsman whose Adaptation and Being John Malkovich have become cult hits without making a big profit, scripts the film.
Eternal Sunshine stars Kate Winslet opposite Carrey, also features Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood. Directed by arguably the best known music video director in Hollywood, Michael Gondry, Eternal Sunshine opens through Fox Searchlight this Friday.
Gondry's 2002 debut film Human Nature, a wild satire revolving around an obsessive scientist and a female naturalist who discover a man born and raised in the wild, misfired at the box-office. Carrey, however, found so much promise in that film that he gladly welcomed Gondry into directing Eternal Sunshine.
Carrey plays Joel, a complex character in Eternal Sunshine, who just cannot let go his passion for his former lover (Kate Winslet). At first, when he learns that she is using a new scientific experiment to forget all memories of him, he asks the inventor of the process to remove Clementine from his own memory. But as his memories of Clementine progressively disappear, he begins to realise that he does not want to forget her. So he starts devising ways to keep back the memories.
'The wonderful thing about this movie is it is about love,' Carrey told Chicago Tribune. 'It's romantic without being romanticised. It's real life. It's love when you go, 'You're ugly to me sometimes, but I love you, although sometimes I'm not going to like you'.'
The initial response for Sunshine from magazine critics like Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) is encouraging. In his television show, Roger Ebert has given the film an enthusiastic thumb up. But the real test will come when audiences across North America will gather to see it. Last year, Carrey's Bruce Almighty opened with a divine $54 million in North America in just three days.
The new film, given its more demanding subject, would be declared a potential hit if it opens with about $12 million in wide release.
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