In one medium or another, Jim Carrey has been making the world a more enjoyable place for nearly three decades. The Golden Globe winning actor has powerfully expressed his unique life mantra through film, television, art and now children's books.
How Roland Rolls (out today) is deeper than your average children's book as it ponders profound life questions while always providing pure entertainment. Something, when you think about it, all of Carrey's work has impressively accomplished. Although that comes as no surprise given how thoughtful the multi-hyphenate is about all of his choices.
ETonline recently spoke with Jim Carrey about creating his first-ever children's book, working with his daughter Jane, the heartfelt reasons that motivated Roland's inception and how he believes its existence can improve our future.
ETonline: What inspired you to write a children's book?
Jim Carrey: In raising a daughter and having a grandson and raising Jenny [McCarthy]'s boy Evan for 5 years, a lot of children's books were read. It always occurred to me that this was one of the really special moments of the day; it's the moment when kids get that tangible feeling of being important because they have your undivided attention. To me, that's a huge concept. As far as I'm concerned, everything bad that happens in the world stems from the same place, they're people who don't feel important.
ETonline: Where did the idea for How Roland Rolls come from?
Carrey: I've been on a quest for spiritual answers for a long time. The things I've learned about interconnectedness and non-duality and the feeling of tapping into your soul that goes beyond the edge of your skin is important to me. Once I learned that, I'm far less often trapped in my own little man problems. Me against the universe problems. When you actually have a tangible feeling that you are everything you don't see, those issues get tempered. It is an eternal feeling you get into, an indestructible feeling you get into. I wanted to hand that on. I wanted to do it for my grandson and give parents that moment with their kids. I feel like we keep getting further away from those moments and I think that's a gigantic thing you can't let go of. Kids need to know they're the most important thing in the world to you, and if that means quitting your job to prove it, then you have to prove it. The idea itself stemmed from the idea of a larger identity. I started looking at the waves in Malibu and thinking they're all going in the same direction and they crash on the beach and they change form but they don't go away. The water is still here, it's just a wonderful cycle.
ETonline: How do you describe the existential elements of the book?
Carrey: It's spiritual without being religious. The thing is, I was that kid. I was entertaining everybody in the living room and throwing myself down flights of stairs and making the family look special and making my mother feel better and I really wanted to make people happy. That has been my ministry my whole life. I call it The Church of F.F.C. -- The Church of Freedom From Concern. And I'm a high priest in that church. That's been a mission of mine since I was a little kid, and the feeling of specialness I get from -- from making people happy -- it is a wonderful feeling. The other side of my personality is that kid who didn't go out a lot. While other kids were playing outside, I was coming up with routines and trying to figure out the universe. I would sit in my closet with a legal pad trying to figure out why I was on this planet. Those are thoughts I had when I was a kid. Not to mention, one of the most important factors I had throughout this is that my mother was sick. She had a lot of illnesses and a lot of things wrong with her; she was a child of alcoholics, so she was depressed a lot of the time. I wanted to make her feel better. She was also the one who made me realize there was an end to this [life]. At the dinner table she'd talk about dying -- and I was eight years old. And they smoked as well. I remember locking myself in the bathroom with their cigarettes and crying and they were at the door saying, "It's going to be all right, it's going to be all right." But they just wanted their cigarettes back.
ETonline: Do you feel that your quest to create stemmed from the shared desire to entertain but also being very aware that it could end at any moment?
Carrey: Yeah. The thing is, I've always tried to create transcendent moments. Moments that take people away from their concerns. Heaven to me is when people find a way to become so involved with life that they're no longer concerned for the future. If you become involved with your child, they feel that heaven. One of my mission statements with all of my art has been to stop the world for people. I want to stop the worrying and stop the world.
ETonline: Then was it twice as special for you to work with your daughter Jane on writing and recording songs for the How Roland Rolls e-book?
Carrey: That was such a great thing. I made this to dedicate to Jackson. I had a grandfather who was artistic and I remember holding a little tiny picture that he sketched of a cabin in the woods and thinking, "Wow, my grandfather is so talented, I must be talented too." Part of the motivation of this book was to leave something that I crafted specifically to leave for Jackson, for his kids and so on. The wonderful thing about this is at the same time I was leaving this for Jackson, we got to create this e-book that'll be out in November.
ETonline: What's in the e-book?
Carrey: There's music, I fleshed out all the characters and even did all the sound effects like some poor man's Michael Winslow [laughs]. Jane played Shimmer and we also wrote songs. I wrote a song for Roland, a song for Gnarly and Jane and I wrote a song together for Shimmer. They're beautiful songs. We had a few weeks in the studio where I watched her blossom as an artist and a producer. She does a song called I'm All Yours and You're All Mine that is an incredible love song about dedication to each other. I mean, it could be people's wedding song.
ETonline: You've also just started working on Dumb & Dumber To. Clearly you and Jeff didn't have to make this movie, why did you want to make this movie?
Carrey: This is really been a reaction to people. Everybody loves this movie so much; they really wouldn't let it go. They kept at me and kept at me. It's not an easy thing anymore to make a movie; the studios are different now. But people wouldn't let it go. And it's going to be really funny. We've been having a blast writing. It's pretty hilarious man. I'm looking forward to going back and making that. I already cracked my tooth for it. I'm walking around looking like a ninny. People are just laughing in my face wherever I go. And on the weekends I'm going to do these book signings for a jillion kids and it's going to be a blast. I'm really excited, man. I got paid a lot of money at one point so the focus became, for a lot of people, about that, but for me, it's always been the same goal: To stop the world for people. There's been a thoughtfulness to everything I do. Even the stupidest things I do have some kind of point. This book is definitely something that was living inside me for a while and I'm so excited to be sharing it with people now.