Christmas is often viewed as the “most wonderful time of the year,” though when Jim Carrey shot How The Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000, it was far from a wonderful time.
The better way to describe the making of the beloved movie would be torturous, at least from the perspective of leading man Jim Carrey. Though the film has since become a Christmas classic, and was highly acclaimed for its advanced set design and unprecedented costume and make up, it was almost a disaster from the start.
Carrey did an absolutely phenomenal job as the not-so-jolly green Christmas hater, but as he told The Graham Norton Show, the process to get into the costume and makeup for the Grinch was almost too much to bear:
“When I did ‘The Grinch,’ the makeup was like being buried alive everyday. The first day (of makeup) was eight and a half hours, and I went back to my trailer and put my leg through the wall, and I told (Director) Ron Howard I couldn’t do the movie.”
Imagine sitting still for eight straight hours and getting caked with prosthetics and makeup. I guess that would make it pretty easy to have the Grinch’s patented disdain for Christmas if you had to do that every time…
The comedic actor made it one day as the Grinch and was ready to call it quits, if not for a bright idea from one of the movie’s producers:
“(Producer) Brian Grazer came in being the fix-it-man and came up with the brilliant idea, which was to hire a gentleman who is trained to teach CIA operatives how to endure torture. That’s how I got through ‘The Grinch.’
It was quite hilarious. He said ‘eat everything you see and if you are freaking out and start to spiral downward, turn the television on, change a pattern, have someone you know come up and smack you in the head, punch yourself in the leg, or smoke. Smoke as much as you possibly can.'”
Carrey was trained like a prisoner of war in order to make it through the production of…a children’s movie. That was the only way to get through for the talented actor, who had to go through the makeup and costume process for months on end in order to shoot the film.
The man beneath the Grinch costume found one of the coping mechanisms told to him by the CIA official quite helpful, and used it (along with music from a popular disco group) to endure the film’s production:
“So I was this Grinch sitting there, literally, (asking) ‘can you give me a light?’ And I had this giant cigarette holder so the yak hair wouldn’t go on fire.
The green yak hair that turned inwards…it was horrifying. (I just kept saying) ‘It’s for the kids, it’s for the kids.’ I did the makeup 100 times, and you know what got me through it? The Bee Gees.”
Shoutout to the Bee Gees for helping Carrey with “staying alive” during the production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Sorry, I had to do it…
You can view the interview where Jim Carrey got into the details of ‘The Grinch’ below: