The 23 enigma is the belief that all incidents and events connect in some way to the number 23. To believers, this would include the day of Shakespeare’s birth and death (April 23rd, 1564 and 1616) and the day Adolf Hitler tried to seize power (January 23rd). There are many more interesting facts which I would suggest that if you have an interest in the number and the movie, or just want to laugh at conspiracy theorists, it’s worth a Google. Is it all a coincidence? Well, if it is, it has become the fascination of many, and it also raised my interest. So it is a wonder that it took this long to make a movie about it. And for Joel Schumacher’s 23rd film, he takes on THE NUMBER 23 with Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen and Danny Huston. It is a strange and intriguing psychological thriller about obsession and one man’s descent into everything surrounding the magical number.
at the Press Conference for the film, Joel,
Alongside Jim was a very beautiful and charming Virginia Madsen, whom yours truly has been a major fan of for a very long time, CANDYMAN people!!! Add to that Mr. Joel Schumacher and Danny Huston [John’s son] and you get a very funny hour of talk about THE NUMBER 23 and much more. Read PART 1 here.
Part 2 of 2
|Jim Carrey||Virginia Madsen||Joel Schumacher|
all the characters filmed at once or were they filmed intermittently?
JS: Sometimes they had to play both characters on the same day. We had not a lot of money and not a lot of time to make this movie and a lot of complex things. So, as you know, when you’re in a setting that’s where you have to shoot everything out so that you don’t have to go back there and rent that again and get licenses, etc. So, those were the hardest days, I think, when you have to do both characters. And sometimes Jim was supposed to do three characters in the sense he’d be young Walter in the flashback, the present day Walter, and Fingerling all in the same day, and I think that was the most difficult for him.
VM: [To Jim Carrey] I loved when you were young Walter. He had this bowl hair, it was so cute. And your whole body language would change and you’d be like, ‘Hey!’ [Laughing] But when he would change into Fingerling, something happens where you just metabolize your role and your whole face would change.
It got very craggy.
Yeah. It was like you got really like dehydrated or something.
Something does happen when you take on a role. It’s very strange.
Before I did ‘Man on the Moon’…
You would be a different person when you came on the set. You too,
Virginia. I saw you change, Virginia. At first you were a little
hesitant about Fabrizia because she’s so unlike you, but I think
the minute you saw that first clip of her, you thought, ‘Oh, I get
it. I get it.’
But it was interesting what you were saying the other day, which I
never realized, but when we were Fingerling and Fabrizia, we
didn’t really talked to each other very much.
VM: Whereas when we were Agatha and Walter we were always hanging out and we were all telling stories and it was like we were really affectionate, but then we were really separate. But then we’d be like “Rah, rah, rah!’
You would knit on the set and not talk to many people and Jim would
put his earphones on.
But also, many people wouldn’t talk to me.
I was listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails and stuff like that.
And I would sort of walk on like I had to give myself permission to
Well Fabrizia is a very intimidating person.
VM: Well yeah, suddenly all the women would have something that they had to do. And then all the men would be like, ‘Uhhh?’ like they had a job to do. So after a few hours, I got really lonely when I was her, you know, because I was so isolated that’s my worst… I hate that more than anything to be isolated.
Jim, when you did MAN ON THE MOON, you stayed in character day and night practically. Did you do that on this movie in any way?
that the only film you’ve done that way?
That’s the only film because I felt like Andy needed special
And Andy did that.
JC: Andy would have done that. That’s why I did it. I kind of approached it like Andy came back from the dead to do his story, and so he would want to have the same kind of fun with people that he would have had had he done his own story. He literally had breakdowns on the set about missing the afterlife, that his job in the afterlife was to take care of all the kids, and play games with the kids, and he missed it.
you became known for one thing and then you made a lot of different
sidebar choices. Are you ever concerned about what your fans will
think about you and what their expectations are of you, and what is
your expectation of how they take you in with all these choices that
JC: [Singing] ‘Love me as I am.’ The one thing that I’m really proud of is that I love people and I want them to enjoy the work absolutely without question, but I know for sure, I believe in the thing that Emerson says in his essay on self-reliance about what’s true for you is true for all men. And so I try to do things that actually connect with me, and whether they’re comedy or drama or any of those things, I don’t consider patronizing the audience. I consider what’s true for me and I hope that it will connect with someone, and I know if it’s really true for me, it will connect with someone. In many cases, it will connect with a great many people and that’s all I really consider.
you think it’s because you’re a little older now and perhaps a
little more introspective or maybe because you’re in love?
I always have been introspective since I was a little kid, since I
could remember. I was sitting in a closet trying to write out the
meaning of the universe. That’s been my whole life.
JS: I have never known or worked with anyone who’s a comic genius, which I definitely put Jim in that category, that doesn’t have the most private, introspective sides, and I can name all of them for you, but that’s really the basis. I mean if anybody in this room thinks that comics are happy, believe me the degree of their comic brilliance is based on truly being so overly sensitive and understanding and seeing everything in life, and dealing with the darkest parts of life with humor.
And also, see I think that’s an old-fashioned concept because I think in old Hollywood they would stick people in a compartment and that’s what they did. You were a sex symbol, you were the character actor, you were the funny man, but I think that Woody Allen and Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin and Robin Williams certainly have managed to show many sides of their art and their artistry and the audience has not only embraced it, but I think encouraged it on many levels. And the first movie I ever saw Jim in he was a teenager and he did a movie called “Doing Time on Maple Drive,” where he plays a teenage alcoholic in the suburbs. It was a very intense role. I knew him to be an actor before I ever went to see his stand up, which was equally brilliant, and I think it just depended on where your opportunities were.
Right, most of the people that you might be talking about if that is
true, they may have warmed to me as a person because of the comedy
and I think that, like I said before, human beings just innately
don’t like change. They buck it at every turn every time something
changes, ‘I don’t know about that.’
JC: It’s a scary thing for people, so there’s always resistance to it, but Dylan went electric and he never looked back. And we bitched and moaned when it happened, but that’s not his concern. His concern is be true to himself and then invite you in to see it, and go, ‘Hope you like it.’
What was the first movie you remember seeing in a theater as a kid?
JC: As a kid in the theater [it] was THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS
SHOES starring Kurt Russell. And I’ve told him that. I’ve told
Kurt Russell that and he’s like, ‘Dude, that’s like too
confronting for me.’ But, yeah, I remember in Toronto, I lived in
Willowdale and I walked about a mile and a half to the Willow Show
and just going into the movie theatre was such an incredible
experience—wonderful, like, ‘Wow, this is magic!’ And yeah, it
was THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES.
What movie resonates as
the funniest movie you’ve seen?
Jim Carrey: Well, a lot of funny movies, I mean A SHOT IN THE DARK with Peter Sellers was a genius comedy because it went all over the place. It was not only character funny, it was intellectually funny and physically hilarious. Always it kept you off guard. I think that’s a genius movie. And the genius around him as well as with the other actors, you know, all of that. So, that was one of my favorites and one of my kind of modern favorites was Richard E. Grant in HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING. He was brilliant in that movie, really brilliant. Oh, it’s so funny. It’s so funny.
There’s been several cast members from IN LIVING COLOR that have gone on to make a name for themselves including one of the Fly Girls.
JC: Everyone’s doing their thing, man. It’s amazing.
Do you have any plans
for collaboration maybe with any of them?
JC: I hope so at some point. In these situations, you really have to… It has to be completely perfect for everybody. It has to be comfortable for everybody, and those things don’t come around a lot, but I sure hope they do. I would love to work with Jamie and… It’s really fantastic though, seeing everybody doing so well. It’s really amazing.
JS: You never know if you can work together again. We’ve
been wanting to work together. I’ve been wanting to work with
Virginia since she was a teenager. She came in and auditioned for
‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ and she was great but she was too young.
VM: I was still in Chicago.
JS: Yeah. And Danny I’ve always been a fan of and he was
available which was really great for this part. So you never know
when you can work again and I said to Jim at the end of this,
‘Maybe we’ll do something lighter next time’ but we don’t
know because we don’t know what that would be. I mean that’s
just talking in a vacuum.
JC: But it’s amazing how many people have come from that show and done so well. It was fantastic and gave birth to a lot of talent.
JS: That was a great, great show.
What year is this film
set? Why did you avoid the internet and cell phones?
JS: Because I didn’t want to spend the whole film with everybody on computers and cell phones because it’s not about that. It’s about these characters. Also, I felt that Walter and Agatha, you know she has her own business, she’s the center of that, and he’s chosen a life where there isn’t a lot of stress and aggravation from people. They have a very safe life where they don’t have a lot of friends. He’s had a major catharsis trauma in his life, and even though she doesn’t quite know what it is, there’s that sense.
It’s like someone who has come back from the war and seen terrible things or done terrible things, and they just never talk about it in their family. And that family unit is so important to them and she’s the center of her own artistic business. It does well. And men who are in a truck all day like that, they are very much free in certain ways. He’s basically dealing with just someone on a phone and animals, and that can be stressful, the animals, but it’s not the same as being in an office or in a corporate situation.
So I didn’t want to make the movie be about technology, and I didn’t think that they would have to embrace all of that. There actually are people who refuse to have those things in their life because they want less stress in their life. And I just didn’t want the whole movie to be about that because it’s about the people in it and not about those things. Also, having done a whole movie in a phone booth with seven thousand phones and cell phones, I wanted to do actors acting and not ‘Hello, yes,’ and then cut to the other person on the phone, ‘Damn it, my battery’s not working.’ But it’s a good question.
You mentioned earlier that you listened to a lot of Nine Inch Nails before you did this role. Are there any bands or music that you listen to, to get you in the mood to act or to get into character maybe for a rough sex scene, you know, Cannibal Corpse or something?
JC: I don’t go to Cannibal Corpse too much, you know, but I
do use music a lot.
JS: Jim introduced us to a lot of alternative music that we
JC: I do like it.
JS: He shops music.
JC: I found the song that’s in the movie, the theme song of
Fabrizia and Fingerling.
JS: She Wants
Revenge, which is a great group.
JC: Which I just heard. That rocks, that’s so cool. But, yeah, I use music a lot and it was fun too. It’s interesting too. I think everybody creates the character. I mean, he creates the character, people on the set, the lighting, everything creates character. So the sound people on the movie, they were so excited when I came to them and I said, ‘For certain scenes, I want an earwig with music blasting in my ear during the scene.’ And they go, ‘What? What are you talking about?’
And I go ‘Seriously, like the weirdest things you can
possibly find, like disturbing sounds, things that are really
horrifying that really unnerve you.’ And they were like [In a
low-voice] ‘Great, man’ and they went away and they came up with
this wonderful collection of sound bytes and things like that of
different things happening and music. And so I would use them in
certain scenes and at times I would also, in the scene where I’m
kind of going crazy by myself in the hotel room, I would get Joel, I
would have that music, and I would get Joel in my ear just messing
with me, just trying to screw me up, like talk to me at times when
I’m trying to concentrate on certain things.
JS: I’d say terrible things.
JC: And I literally ended up at certain times telling him to go f*ck himself, you know, and stuff like that, because it would so get in my way that it would be unnerving, but that’s what I wanted. So it came off like someone talking to me.
VM: You had that great music the first night I was Fabrizia.
The introduction of that music he gave to the sound guys and it was
blaring out there on the street. God, I felt so super cool.
JC: Music can do that, man. It’s amazing.
Did you say you had an earwig? Did you have something in your ear?
VM: It’s like a receiver.
JC: Yeah, so I could be sitting here right now listening to
you and rocking out and you wouldn’t know it. I have a self-help
tape on right now. I am a winner by the way. And everything comes
easily to me.
Danny, I keep thinking
about the things your dad, John Huston, did and how comfortable you
are with the whole noir world.
Danny Huston: Well I suppose dressing up, it’s a lot of fun and you’re putting stuff on. In a way, it’s kind of playful but ultimately I supposed what you’re doing with make-up is you’re kind of chiseling at yourself and finding a new person by doing so. Sometimes it feels like you’re hiding behind the stuff but in actual fact, you’re revealing another part of yourself. The film noir element – I don’t think -- I agree with Jim. We weren’t really revisiting the old noir films. It was an extension of what Jim’s character was feeling that we were living in.
It’s kind of like
JC: Guilt. Guilty manifestation.
DH: Yeah. I suppose the possible danger was it becoming too arch and especially with the character that I was playing which was supposed to be slightly lecherous at times. The weirdest situation for me was when I pick up the knife and I approach Virginia. We were working on focus marks for the camera and we’re look at each other and she’s tied to the bed and I’m kneeling on the bed, holding a knife and she’s bleeding and it was like, ‘Hi, we haven’t spoken in a long time.’ [Laughing]
JS: We tried digitally not to copy old noir either. We tried
to create our own noir – the white room and there’s the scene
where he’s interviewing Jim in his psychiatrist’s office.
They’re on this – and they loved it – but they’re on this
platform that‘s moving. It’s insane. It means nothing. Why did
we do it? It just looks cool. Does it have a Freudian purpose? No.
It just looks good.
VM: It just looks cool.
JC The original dialogue was ‘My ride is over. I have to go
now. Sir, you’ll have to get off the ride. Can we go again?’
JS: The first chapter is like a child’s book and then it gets very dark, you know, the one where you’re sort of zooming. He starts out in a very innocent sense so we tried to take you on a journey that eventually the book and his past memories become the same thing.
You look like you had a
lot of fun directing this? The camera goes everywhere. There’s all
kinds of lighting.
Well, we have a great cameraman. We have Matthew Libatique and I had
done ‘Phone Booth’ and ‘Tigerland’ with him. And I know you
guys fell in love with him because Jim had asked once to work with
him. But he is a brilliant young cinematographer, but that was part
of the fun of doing it. He just did ‘The Fountain’ and he did
‘Requiem for a Dream.’ The whole point of it is we tried to make
every choice so that we’d give the audience something unique.
That’s all. You know, something maybe they’d have that they
don’t see every day.
DH: In a way, it’s not film noir, it’s film red.
JS: Yeah, well we used a lot of red for obvious reasons, but it was fun directing and I said to Jim, actually on our last day, that I was sad it was over. It was one of those movies where the last day it wasn’t like, ‘Okay. Thank God, I’ve got to go on vacation. This is it.’ I was sad because I learned a lot. It was great.
JC: We had a lot of laughs.
JS: We learned a lot from these people and the other people
that worked on it. Logan Lerman who played their son is a brilliant
young actor and he was great and we treated him like an adult on the
set and they did as parents. We made that choice and that was great.
What are you doing
JC: Well, I’m working on RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! with
VM: I’m so excited for that movie.
JS: That’s going to look great.
JC: Yeah, it’s going to be really fun. And, at the moment, I’m doing HORTON HEARS A WHO, the cartoon version of ‘Horton Hears a Who,’ which is going to be beautiful which I love. I’ve always loved all Dr. Seuss, and I’m lucky enough to have been the Grinch, and Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss’ widow, liked what I did and she asked me to do Horton. And I love that idea that a person is a person no matter how small and the idea of worlds within worlds within worlds. Because sometimes I sit out in my backyard and I look at the birds, and a hummingbird will come down and go ‘wap’ and goes flying past my head and will threaten me and stuff like that, and I realize that he has no respect for my deed to the land, you know? That’s his property as far as he’s concerned. And that’s just the reality. We think that we’re the ones in control. Everybody does.
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