Jim Carrey, the Canadian-American actor and comedian, is known for his distinctive style of acting, which is characterized by an unmistakable chaotic energy that drives most of his performances. Carrey is best known for his iconic runs as Ace Ventura in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and his roles in cult comedies from the 1990s like Dumb and Dumber. He ruled that time period with his distinct energy and rose to become one of the greatest comic actors of his era. 

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a ridiculous, outrageously silly, completely absurd comedy drama that became a hit, showed that Carrey wasn’t just going to be a stand-up who liked to do impressions or a performer in TV sketches. James Eugene Carrey embodied Ace with a maniacal intensity that had left the audience spellbound.

James Eugene Carrey known as Jim Carrey
James Eugene Carrey known as Jim Carrey

One of the film’s selling points was how brazenly childish and weird the movie was, which perfectly captured the weirdo wavelength of the star. 

But why did he choose this particular approach in order to give such a meek performance on the big screen? Who or what motivated him?

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Anthony Hopkins Inspired Jim Carrey to Use Such ‘Method Acting’ To Play Ace Ventura

Yes, he is Anthony Hopkins, whose real name is Philip Anthony Hopkins, born in Port Talbot, Wales, in 1937. Before landing his first TV role in 1967 in the BBC series A Flea in Her Ear, Hopkins began his acting career on the stage after receiving training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Hopkins began to rise to fame, and was praised by critics for his performances in films like 1976’s The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, which also brought him his first Emmy nomination. 

Additionally, he served as a suitable inspiration for Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura portrayal. He also provided inspiration for the ironically named title, Pet Detective.

However, he admitted that Anthony Hopkins’ ‘Hannibal Lecter’ had some similarities to how he had prepared for the film. Hopkins played the methodical serial killer Hannibal in the film Silence of the Lambs. The actor received an Oscar for his 16 minutes of on-screen time in one of Hopkins’ most well-known roles.

Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins

Interestingly, Carrey thought Hopkins’ most coveted roles were also influenced by animals.

The Batman Forever actor once admitted on Inside the Actor’s Studio,

I called Anthony Hopkins, because I love Anthony Hopkins. And so, I asked him to dinner. We found out over dinner that our method was exactly the same for Ace Ventura and Hannibal Lecter. Exactly the same.” 

Hopkins drew inspiration from animals for his Hannibal Lecter performance as well. The Father actor, however, based Hannibal Lecter on reptiles and tarantulas, whereas Carrey based his Ace Ventura on birds.

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Jim Carrey wanted people to find his Ace Ventura character ‘unacceptable’

Jim Carrey contributed significantly to the on-screen realization of his Ace Ventura character, perhaps even more so than the film’s script. Rick Moranis was supposed to play the eccentric detective before Carrey took on the role.

Eventually, Carrey made the decision to give the character his own unique creative spin, which even shocked his co-stars. Courtney Cox, who starred alongside Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, recalled being taken aback by the character’s sudden turn. In a past interview with The Howard Stern Show, Cox remarked,

“I remember when we first rehearsed, he wasn’t playing that character. He just was playing it straighter, and I thought, ‘Ooh, this is going to be a pet detective, hmm, and he’s really playing it kind of straight.”

Jim, Carrey in Liar Liar
Jim Carrey

In an interview with Roger Ebert, Carrey stated that he was aware that people either would love or hate this film. He was only bothered by the unfavorable reviews because they failed to recognize their efforts to try something wholly new. The 61 years old actor said, 

When you get a script like Pet Detective, if you try to play it real, it would have been boring as hell. Horrifying. So, I was looking to do something that was really unacceptable.” 

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Many critics weren’t overly impressed with the film, despite its box office success. But given his goals for the character, Carrey was prepared for the response.

Source- The Howard Stern ShowRoger Ebert 

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