It seems to have become the trend du jour for actors to lose a horrifying amount of weight for their roles. From Anne Hathaway’s oatmeal paste diet to Matthew McConaughey’s skeletal look, it’s starting to seem like transforming your body for a role has become a prerequisite for staying in the Screen Actors Guild.
The newest actor to join the ranks of the crazy dieters is Jim Carrey. Oh, so he’s doing another drama like The Truman Show or The Majestic? How exciting! He’s a great dramatic actor who should take on more serious roles. Wait… what’s that? He went on a crazy diet for a comedy? Okay, that’s weird. So is it one of those dark comedies that has a thematic message and serious undertones? Oh, it’s a goofy comedy about rival magicians? Well, that’s… really ridiculous.
Jim was expected to get into shape to play a svelte, often shirtless magician for his upcoming movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, co-starring a very spray-tanned Steve Carell. (I’m assuming it was spray tan and he wasn’t required to bake himself in the sun for hours to achieve the look.) Jim talked about the strict diet he used to transform his physique in a new interview:
“It’s not a happy place to be,” Carrey told PEOPLE at the movie’s junket in Las Vegas on Saturday. “I’m back now. I’ve got Mr. Cuddly back and we’re happy,” he added while rubbing his stomach.
He continued, “It’s not a natural place to live in that kind of shape,” he said. “It looks great. It’s fantastic and gets a lot of attention, but you have to eat, like, antimatter to stay in that kind of shape.”
I’m already skeptical enough about the need for intense diets for dramas. I understand that filmmakers aim for realism in these cases in order to properly inspire us to suspend our disbelief and lose ourselves in the story. But I’m not going to give Les Miserables a negative review if its star doesn’t look exactly like a starving peasant. Most actors are thin enough to begin with. And I’m convinced that if we can use CGI to create believable characters like Gollum and to make Brad Pitt look like he’s in his twenties for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, there has to be some way to use it to make people look thinner onscreen. They already do it enough on magazine covers.
But even if we accept that dramatic films sometimes require their actors to change their bodies, is it really necessary for Jim Carrey to do that for a wacky comedy in which he tries to hold his pee in as long as possible? Whether or not he has rock-hard abs is not going to affect my enjoyment of such a movie. It’s also pretty shocking that such a strict diet was required for the role, since Jim already appears to have a good physique, or at least good enough for a movie like this. And even if the filmmakers still believed he should tone up a little or lose a spare tire, shouldn’t general healthy eating and a little exercise do the trick? I know Jim was exaggerating with the “antimatter” comment, but it still seems a bit extreme.
I wouldn’t really mind if “Mr. Cuddly” also starred in this movie.