From masked Stanley Ipkiss to pet detective Ace Ventura and the unhinged Cable Guy, Jim Carrey is famed for inhabiting some of Hollywood’s most frenetic characters. But, at 60, the actor reveals he’s finally found his zen off camera through meditation. “I’m a big meditator,” he begins. “When you learn meditation, it starts to affect how you feel about things and how your brain works in your everyday life. “So the expansion I get when I meditate is as if my soul is not contained within my body. I become everything. There’s nothing I am not. All of it is divine.” It’s not something you might expect to exit the mouth of the man once better known for the catchphrase “Somebody stop me!” after becoming a household name opposite Cameron Diaz in The Mask in 1994. Or producing “the most annoying sound in the world” as Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber the same year. But, Carrey — just like the career trajectory that has also seen him shine in dramatic roles in films such as Man on the Moon (1999) — is nothing if not surprising.
After wowing in thriller The Bad Batch and TV dramedy Kidding, the two-time Golden Globe winner is back in more familiar territory in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
“The effect of the first movie was positive,” he says of the easy decision to reprise his role as super-villain Dr Robotnik.
“People were able to watch it with their kids, first in the theatre and then, when Covid hit, it became something that people could gather around as a family and watch. That made me feel really good.
“This is another lovely, sweet, innocent kind of film with all of the elements of that crazy CGI, dominating the world, madman thing. It’s always fun to play, although I really have to tone down my own megalomania just to play the character,” he laughs.
Indeed, the madcap comedian, who started out as a stand-up aged just 15, seems the only choice to play foil to the prickly blue alien with super speed in the movie series based on Sega’s iconic video game.
This time round, Dr Eggman as he’s also known, is back with a new sidekick, Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), as he goes in search of a mystical emerald reputed to have the power to both build and — more up his street — destroy civilisations.
While Ben Schwartz, the comedian who voices Sonic, returns with a wingman of his own, Tails, a flying fox with two tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey), to try and stop him.
Sonic infamously got off to a rocky start when fans torched the “creepy-looking” CGI character after the first trailer dropped online in 2019 — inspiring director Jeff Fowler to go back to the drawing board and Paramount to pause its release.
One character who has never disappointed though is the moustache-twirling mad scientist, last seen stranded on Mushroom Planet, “a planet filled with mushrooms of every kind” explains Carrey, in the redesigned 2020 original, which went on to take €280m at the worldwide box office.
“Obviously, he didn’t find the right ones because if he had, he would have stayed there,” jokes the Canadian-born star. “But he’s now back, full of vengeance, looking to get even with Sonic.
“He just needs that emerald power. You will see in this that [he] becomes something more than just a bad guy, he’s now a demigod — which is everybody’s dream in this day and age! His level of evil is ratcheted up to 11, which is really fun to play.”
Even The Grinch and The Riddler, whom he’s played in the past, seem like shrinking violets next to Robotnik, agrees Carrey, explaining the exhausting process behind his zaniest performances.
“I just dial myself up 100 times my normal [self] and then I slowly do takes where I put less and less into it, just so they have a little bit of play in the editing room.
“But Robotnik has got to be big. His self-loathing and malignant narcissism are a black hole in the universe that is sucking everything into it so you have to dial it up pretty high.
“With the first movie, there was a bit of a script and then I kind of changed everything and had a million ideas, most of which ended up in the film,” continues the well-known improviser. “On this one, they really didn’t flesh out my part in the script at all. I was a little upset when I first saw that so I called and said, ‘Why didn’t you guys try to write some stuff for me?’ They were like, ‘Because you are just going to change it all anyway!’”
Never one for sticking to the Hollywood script, the US citizen recently hit headlines when he condemned Will Smith for slapping fellow comic Chris Rock at the Oscars, as well as the other A-listers who stood idly by. And he’s sticking to his guns today.
“It’s about boundaries being crossed and what happens if it looks like extreme behaviours are being tolerated,” he tells Magazine+. “As a society, we can’t have people resorting to violence just because they don’t like what they hear. It’s just not right.
“I understand the pressure they are under of course. I know that pressure and the way it can make you feel. But it’s a choice. He cracked and didn’t think about the bigger picture and what he did would mean to not just him but his wife, who he thought he was protecting, even though I think she is strong enough to take care of herself.”
Meanwhile, with plans for Sonic 3 already underway, it could be more ‘No-botnik’ than ‘Robotnik’, after Carrey hinted he’s “done” with acting.
Unlike his alter ego, the star reveals he’s already found his superpower, one which fans are sure to be hoping he continues to use. “I think I found my niche,” he says. “I have other niches that are less developed but my superpower is the power of presence. I think we all have a spark like that.
“We are all masterpieces in various needs of restoration. I have something that I believe is divine that I am the curator of and I am lucky to be able to share that and put it out into the world in creative flourishes that people seem to like. That’s it, that is my speciality.”