INT: Number 23 2/2
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 Shakespeares 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, its 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 Schumachers 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 mans 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 [Johns 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|
Were 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 youre in a setting thats where you have to shoot everything out so that you dont 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 hed 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 youd 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.
JC: It got very craggy.
VM: Yeah. It was like you got really like dehydrated or something.
JC: Something does happen when you take on a role. Its very strange. Before I did Man on the Moon
JS: 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 shes so unlike you, but I think the minute you saw that first clip of her, you thought, Oh, I get it. I get it.
VM: But it was interesting what you were saying the other day, which I never realized, but when we were Fingerling and Fabrizia, we didnt 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 wed be like Rah, rah, rah!
JS: You would knit on the set and not talk to many people and Jim would put his earphones on.
VM: But also, many people wouldnt talk to me.
JC: I was listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails and stuff like that.
VM: And I would sort of walk on like I had to give myself permission to do that.
JS: 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 thats 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?
Was that the only film youve done that way?
JC: Thats the only film because I felt like Andy needed special treatment.
JS: And Andy did that.
JC: Andy would have done that. Thats 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.
Jim, 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 you make?
JC: [Singing] Love me as I am. The one thing that Im 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 whats true for you is true for all men. And so I try to do things that actually connect with me, and whether theyre comedy or drama or any of those things, I dont consider patronizing the audience. I consider whats true for me and I hope that it will connect with someone, and I know if its really true for me, it will connect with someone. In many cases, it will connect with a great many people and thats all I really consider.
Do you think its because youre a little older now and perhaps a little more introspective or maybe because youre in love?
JC: 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. Thats been my whole life.
JS: I have never known or worked with anyone whos a comic genius, which I definitely put Jim in that category, that doesnt have the most private, introspective sides, and I can name all of them for you, but thats 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 thats an old-fashioned concept because I think in old Hollywood they would stick people in a compartment and thats 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.
JC: 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 dont like change. They buck it at every turn every time something changes, I dont know about that.
JS: Its scary.
JC: Its a scary thing for people, so theres always resistance to it, but Dylan went electric and he never looked back. And we bitched and moaned when it happened, but thats 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 Ive told him that. Ive told Kurt Russell that and hes like, Dude, thats 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 experiencewonderful, like, Wow, this is magic! And yeah, it was THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES.
What movie resonates as the funniest movie youve 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 thats 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, its so funny. Its so funny.
Theres 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: Everyones doing their thing, man. Its 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 dont come around a lot, but I sure hope they do. I would love to work with Jamie and Its really fantastic though, seeing everybody doing so well. Its really amazing.
JS: You never know if you can work together again. Weve been wanting to work together. Ive been wanting to work with Virginia since she was a teenager. She came in and auditioned for St. Elmos Fire and she was great but she was too young.
VM: I was still in Chicago.
JS: Yeah. And Danny Ive 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 well do something lighter next time but we dont know because we dont know what that would be. I mean thats just talking in a vacuum.
JC: But its 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 didnt want to spend the whole film with everybody on computers and cell phones because its not about that. Its about these characters. Also, I felt that Walter and Agatha, you know she has her own business, shes the center of that, and hes chosen a life where there isnt a lot of stress and aggravation from people. They have a very safe life where they dont have a lot of friends. Hes had a major catharsis trauma in his life, and even though she doesnt quite know what it is, theres that sense.
Its 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 shes 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. Hes basically dealing with just someone on a phone and animals, and that can be stressful, the animals, but its not the same as being in an office or in a corporate situation.
So I didnt want to make the movie be about technology, and I didnt 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 didnt want the whole movie to be about that because its 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 batterys not working. But its 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 dont 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 didnt know.
JC: I do like it.
JS: He shops music.
JC: I found the song thats 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, thats so cool. But, yeah, I use music a lot and it was fun too. Its 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 Im 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 Im trying to concentrate on certain things.
JS: Id 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 thats 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. Its amazing.
Did you say you had an earwig? Did you have something in your ear?
VM: Its like a receiver.
JC: Yeah, so I could be sitting here right now listening to you and rocking out and you wouldnt 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, its a lot of fun and youre putting stuff on. In a way, its kind of playful but ultimately I supposed what youre doing with make-up is youre kind of chiseling at yourself and finding a new person by doing so. Sometimes it feels like youre hiding behind the stuff but in actual fact, youre revealing another part of yourself. The film noir element I dont think -- I agree with Jim. We werent really revisiting the old noir films. It was an extension of what Jims character was feeling that we were living in.
Its kind of like GASLIGHT.
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 were look at each other and shes tied to the bed and Im kneeling on the bed, holding a knife and shes bleeding and it was like, Hi, we havent 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 theres the scene where hes interviewing Jim in his psychiatrists office. Theyre on this and they loved it but theyre on this platform thats moving. Its 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, youll have to get off the ride. Can we go again?
JS: The first chapter is like a childs book and then it gets very dark, you know, the one where youre 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. Theres all kinds of lighting.
JS: 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 wed give the audience something unique. Thats all. You know, something maybe theyd have that they dont see every day.
DH: In a way, its not film noir, its 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 wasnt like, Okay. Thank God, Ive 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 next, Jim?
JC: Well, Im working on RIPLEYS BELIEVE IT OR NOT! with Tim Burton.
VM: Im so excited for that movie.
JS: Thats going to look great.
JC: Yeah, its going to be really fun. And, at the moment, Im doing HORTON HEARS A WHO, the cartoon version of Horton Hears a Who, which is going to be beautiful which I love. Ive always loved all Dr. Seuss, and Im 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? Thats his property as far as hes concerned. And thats just the reality. We think that were the ones in control. Everybody does.
Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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