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Jim Carrey Reveals He Received CIA Training to Overcome Torture as ‘The Grinch’

Jim Carrey reveals how he required CIA based training in order to be able to survive the torturous filming of holiday classic, the Grinch.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Image: Universal Pictures

You may ask yourself, why would he need CIA training for this?

We should first start off by explaining how this situation came about.

As many may know, the Grinch is a popular movie to watch around the holidays. It’s based on the children’s book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, written by American author Dr. Seuss.

It features a green monster whose main objective is to ruin Christmas for the members of Cheery Whoville. The film adaptation of this book features the famous comedic actor Jim Carrey, as the Grinch himself.

Carrey was very popular during the ’90s for his work in other popular roles, such as “The Mask” and “The Cable Guy.”

It is no wonder why he would be chosen for this role.

Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey said makeup for The Grinch “was like being buried alive”. Image: DFree/Shutterstock

Jim’s Personal Hell

However, the creation of this film proved not to be so endearing nor humorous for the actor himself.

The process for Jim to get ready for filming in the Grinch proved strenuous on his mental health.

According to Carrey while on the Graham Norton show, “The make-up [for the film] took eight and a half hours, it was like being buried alive.”

It is understandable why such an extensive process would leave anyone feeling this fatigued and overwhelmed.

Carrey even went on to allude, “The first day, I went back to my trailer and told director Ron Howard I couldn’t do the movie.”

Nonetheless, Howard was desperate to have Carrey star in the film.

This was because, after Dr. Seuss’s death, the rights to his books were granted to his widowed wife, Audrey Geisel.

Geisel granted rights to the film, with the condition that an A list Hollywood actor be the one to play the goblin.

Stars that were initially discussed as casting options included legends such as Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams.

Nonetheless, Carrey was ultimately chosen, and as a result, they could no longer afford to lose him.

If not, it could have cost them the film as a whole.

Finding the solution to satisfy Carrey

Ron Howard ultimately scrambled for a solution to satisfy Carrey and address the discomfort he felt in his Grinch costume.

Green goblin pointing and speaking to a dog while crouched.
Jim Carrey as the Grinch (2000). Image: Universal Pictures

He explained, “We had to keep the make-up, and we had to keep Jim, but we had to find a way to make it possible for him to endure something that looked like being tortured.”

The solution Howard was looking for finally dawned on him one day.

He realized, “Maybe a CIA specialist could teach [Carrey] how to survive the Grinch’s green make-up in the same way he would teach spies how to survive a hostile interrogation.”

And so, finally, the radical solution was born.

A CIA agent who trained operatives how to endure torture was brought in to teach Carrey to survive the role.

The training consisted of Carrey being locked in a room with the agent, where he was taught how to regulate his thoughts and dissimulate his discomfort.

Howard’s solution could be considered to raise eyebrows, considering Carrey’s work was not as extreme as what a CIA agent does.

Nonetheless, his solution proved to be successful.

According to Carrey himself, “That’s how I got through it.”

Music always saves the day

Though the CIA techniques did help Carrey withstand the Grinch costume, he also revealed that music was a helpful coping mechanism during the actual make-up process.

Particularly, he found the Bee Gees’s music to be most helpful.

Carrey recounted, “The only thing that worked to calm me down through the make-up process was everything they had done.”

It is understandable how the Bee Gee’s soothing music could help somebody relax through this stressful, arduous routine.

He exclaimed, “I don’t know why, but the Bee Gees made me happy – there would be no Grinch without them!”

Carrey speaks for us all. Who doesn’t love the Bee Gees?

Along with the amazing discography they have brought into the world, they helped Carrey film this wonderful movie.

With great risk comes great reward

Though Carrey suffered a great ordeal from the make-up process of the film, his sacrifice proved to be worthwhile.

The film was able to win an Academy Award, ironically so, in Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

This was well deserved, as along with Carrey’s own ordeal, make-up artist Kazuhiro Tsuji dealt with a deterioration in his mental health as well.

He spent well over 1,000 hours applying make-up and prosthetics on the entire cast.

It is safe to say that as Grinch fans, we are more than grateful to all members of the Grinch for their hard work.

Without their hard work, we would never have this enjoyable family Holiday favorite on-screen.

Written By

Hello! I am currently studying Communications at DePaul University. I have a deep passion for music and art. In my free time, I like to work out, make pottery, and create journalism articles.

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