It’s Ebenezer good
Everyone loves Jim Carrey. Even from early appearances in Earth Girls Are Easy and The Dead Pool he always put a smile on our faces, whether he was pretending to be a randy, furry alien or miming to Gun’s n Roses ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ before, oops, OD’ing on heroine. So you wonder what writer/director Robert Zemeckis saw in him for the part of Scrooge in his new 3D extravaganza.
“I saw Scrooge in Jim from the off,” says Zemeckis, director of monster hits like Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. “He’s a fabulous character actor and he has the right tone. You can’t do that mean Scrooge if you don’t have a fabulous sense of humour.” In fact such was the director’s confidence in his leading man, he also let Carrey play the parts of the three ghosts that visit Scrooge one night to show him to appreciate life.
To do this Zemeckis is once again using the performance capture technique he pioneered on The Polar Express in 2004. For this the actors wear skin-tight suits with light-reflecting dots that record their movements in three dimensions. These movements are later moulded to a computer generated body so that, in essence, any actor could play any part, old or young but their performance would remain canon. Thus stout Londoner Ray Winstone became a buff Nordic warrior in Beowulf and Tom Hanks a chubby-cheeked Santa Claus in The Polar Express.
The other selling point of this new Disney version of the Charles Dickens classic is that it’s being released in regular 3D and IMAX 3D theatres. So when you hear people say ‘they’re remaking A Christmas Carol again?’ you know what to tell them: Jim Carrey plays four roles in it and it’s in 3D – a medium that allows Zemeckis to take Ebenezer Scrooge on flights of fancy through the snow with the Ghost of Christmas Past or sliding down icy London rooftops in his jammies. Whilst shrunk to 3 inches tall.
“I thought I could do anything with him,” remarks Carrey of his famous yuletide character. “I was greatly inspired by Alastair Sim’s version (from 1951). I’m playing Ebenezer Scrooge at four different ages. There are a lot of vocal things, a lot of physical things, I have to do. Not to mention doing the accents properly.”