Yesterday, Jim Carrey surprised everyone by publically distancing himself from the upcoming film Kick-Ass 2. Citing a change of heart after the horrifying Sandy Hook massacre, the comedian used his Twitter account to say he’s not ashamed of the project but no longer feels any level of support for it. Not surprisingly, his viewpoint generated plenty of debate in the comment section here, on social media platforms throughout the world and even amongst the writers here on CB. Some of us thought it was pretty impressive that he took a stand on a subject he felt strongly about, and others of us thought his change of heart was weak and uncalled for.
To try and cut through some of the noise, we scheduled a great debate between Cinema Blend writers Sean O’Connell and Mack Rawden to see if they could expand on their opposition more fully and perhaps find some common ground. What follows is an unedited transcript of their GChat…
Mack: So, Sean, I think it's fair to say we were both surprised by Carrey's tweets, but beyond that, we seem to be on different sides of the fence. Why are you so pleased by the actor's message?
Sean: Because I think it's an honest reaction, which is so rare in Hollywood (and in the media) these days. Carrey has to know the deep impact his statements were going to make -- and are going to continue to make. By speaking out against a movie he acted in -- and no doubt was paid handsomely to act in -- he runs the risk of appearing hypocritical. But he still chose to air his opinions, and I have to admire that courage. I believe that Carrey has every right to have a change of heart regarding a project, even one he worked on months ago but has yet to see the light of day. As he says, Sandy Hook happened AFTER he shot Kick-Ass 2, and the atrocities of that actual event have helped change the way he sees gun violence. I don't think he specifies "on-screen" gun violence. Just gun violence. And he shouldn't be dragged over the coals for changing his mind and evolving his opinion, one way or the other. But you disagree? I wonder why?
Mack: Carrey may well have felt he was being courageous by airing his opinion, but I fail to see how speaking out against a group collaboration he participated in and was handsomely paid for is honorable. The script wasn’t changed. The way the film itself came out wasn’t a surprise. He changed his mind about the merits of a project, and now, he’s throwing everyone else under the bus because of it. Don’t you think there’s more honor in sucking it up and being a team player for the sake of your co-workers and those who spent millions of dollars on the project?
Is that really so much different than say David Cross ranting about Alvin And The Chipmunks because he didn't like how the movie came out?
Sean: Because Carrey goes one step further to say "I am not ashamed of it" in the second Tweet, which I believe gives his personal reaction real context that can't be ignored. Also, in now way is Carrey telling people NOT to see Kick-Ass 2. He actually apologizes to those who worked alongside him on the film. And at no point does he condemn the actual film. He simply suggests that Sandy Hook changed something inside of him, personally, and now he doesn't feel comfortable promoting the movie.
I'm sure it's safe to assume that if Carrey were pitched a role in Kick-Ass 2 now, in the wake of Sandy Hook, he'd pass. But the dice already has been cast with regard to the movie, and I do prefer that he speak out now -- honestly -- as opposed to doing an insane amount of press saying wonderful things about the film, then turning tail and "abandoning" it after it had played theaters.
Mack: We live in such a reactionary culture. From Paula Deen getting fired over decades old n-bombs to people ranting about guns after every violent tragedy, we can’t ever just let a tragedy pass without pointing fingers and trying to blame as many people as possible. By now, I expect it from the media and I expect it from spineless corporations looking to avoid controversy, but I guess I never expected a guy who got famous playing Fire Marshal Bill to tell everyone he can’t support something because it’s too violent. Besides, that implication doesn’t even make any sense.
He seems to think irresponsibility equates to levels of violence when it comes to movies, but to me, it’s far more important that a movie bother to portray the consequences of violence. And Kick-Ass is a franchise that actually does that. Getting hit with a baseball bat hurts in the world of Kick-Ass. It really fucking hurts. People wind up in the hospital, and their bruises don’t heal immediately. Some of them actually never heal. If Carrey actually thinks movies have any tangible impact on violence whatsoever, this is the type of movie he should be supporting because you can almost feel the pain these characters are going through as a viewer. I guess that’s what pisses me off the most. I feel like Carrey overreacted to a tragic event and lashed out at a film he’s in without even thinking about the situation logically.