Jim Carrey certainly lost himself in the role of Steve Gray in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. The funnyman portrays a Criss Angel-like Las Vegas magician who causes all sorts of problems for Sin CIty’s premier magic act led by Steve Carell as the title character. Although some may find a parallel between illusionists and actors, the superstar told us he sees something quite different when we visited with the actor in Las Vegas. “I think magicians are a lot more arrogant,” Carrey said.
Perhaps his attitude towards the men and women of magic dates back to his childhood. “I was always fascinated by it growing up. They’re kind of like, ‘Abracadabra, you’re an idiot!'” Carrey said and laughed. “They don’t let you in on the joke. Comedians are in on the joke, unless you’re Andy Kaufman.”
Carrey was drawn to his upstart magician character on many levels. “My character’s one of those guys who would mess his hair up for three hours to look like he doesn’t care,” he said.
Steve Gray is taking the Vegas Strip by storm with his “stunt” magic tricks such as holding his urine for 12 days or sleeping on a bed of hot coals, as seen in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone trailer. His goal is to take the crown that Carell and his partner Anton — played by Steve Buscemi — currently own as Vegas’ top magic act. “He really wants what they have. He’s coming at them trying to undermine their confidence and disrupt their lives. He’s pointing at them like they’ve been corrupted, yet he is totally the corrupt one.”
One of the great scenes featuring Carrey in the film showcases him literally playing with fire on Freemont Street in Sin City… something his character calls “brain raping.”
“It was kind of normal for me,” Carrey said and laughed. “I felt totally at home out there. I like being on the street in Vegas. I have trouble in the room.”
Seems the actor, after years of performing in the city as a stand-up comic and now back as a Hollywood superstar, has a firm opinion about the rooms in Vegas hotels. “Nobody puts a window in that you can crack. I just get dryer and dryer. By day three, I’m beef jerky,” Carrey said.
He then shared a dream he had just the night before — all caused by those pesky Vegas hotel rooms!
“I have crazy dreams here. Last night I had a dream that I had been shrunk down to the size of an insect and I was swallowed by a hungry giant. I went though his esophagus and into his stomach, and I was burned by his juices. By the time I got to the lower intestines, I wasn’t anything that I could recognize. Then I woke up at the cashier at Bally’s begging for another line of credit. I don’t know if it was the Ambien or I have a gambling problem,” Carrey said. “If you could give me $500, I swear I’m good for it. Seriously.”
Part of the reason Carrey is where he is today is the time he spent toiling as a comic in Las Vegas. Of particular importance to him was opening for comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield. “I brought my dad down to see the show. To see your name up on that big sign is such a thrill. ‘Wow, I’ve really made it,'” he said and smiled broadly.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone chronicles how high success can be, and in terms of what the title character goes through, it also comedically shows the lows as well. Carrey completely relates to the vocational ride that is show business.
“It’s a rollercoaster for sure. There are so many highs. I find myself working with guys like Steve Carell. There’s moments in your life where you go, ‘I can’t believe how insanely lucky I am.’ And then you can turn around and the next moment you can feel so completely caught up in your own wanting and desiring and needing and feeling like you’re missing something,” Carrey said.
“The higher the high, the lower the low.”
Another joy in making the movie was Carrey was able to finally share his art with the world. His character sports some crazy tattoos, all from his wildly creative mind. “I created the tattoos and the insignia with the rabbit with the skull,” Carrey proudly said. “My makeup artist, Academy Award-winning Billy Corso helped me bring it to life and refine it. That was thrilling — the first time any of my art has crept into a film. It’s amazing all these little touches you have to do to be a completely different person.”
The man had to get into sick shape as this The Incredible Burt Wonderstone U.K. trailer shows, and it was the first time he had to take off his shirt onscreen.
“I’ve just never taken my shirt off in a movie before. It was good to finally do that. Figured that was Matthew McConaughey’s thing and I was just going to leave him to it,” Carrey said. “It’s not a natural place to live in that kind of shape. It looks great. It’s fantastic. It gets a lot of attention, but you have to eat like antimatter to stay in that kind of shape. It’s not a happy place to live. I’m back now. I got Mr. Cuddly back (points to his gut).”