UnNews:Actor Jim Carrey says having no skin "worth it"

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Actor Jim Carrey says having no skin "worth it"

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3 October 2006


New, "skinless" Jim Carrey draws attention of young fans.

LOS ANGELES -- Actor Jim Carrey, known mostly for his rubber-faced comedy roles in such movies as "Jesse Ventura, Pet Cemetery," and "The Courtship of Eddie Munster," doesn't consider the removal of 95 percent of his skin a great sacrifice.

"A lot of actors talk about needing to 'get into a character's skin' in order to fully inhabit that character," says Carrey. "This is no different, even though it's completely opposite."

Carrey had his skin voluntarily removed six weeks ago to help him prepare for the dramatic role of Harmon Calweski, the legendary "Skinless Sam" of early 20th Century circus fame. This is not the first time Carrey has gone to great lengths to capture a role. While shooting the biopic of the late comedian Andy Coffin, Carry would often stay in character even when the cameras were off, have sex with Coffin's widow, and dig up the comedian and lie with him in his grave for several hours at a time.

Carrey's more serious, dramatic roles have always earned him both less critical praise and a lot less money than his comedy roles. Some feel Carrey's "skin-ectomy" is his way of getting his serious work more respect from critics and Academy members.

Radical physical transformation has always been seen as a sign of an exceptional actor's complete commitment to a role, and is often rewarded at Oscar time. Ronald DeNiro's weight gain for his role of Rocky Balboa in the modern classic, "Red Bull," and more recently, Charlize Theron's metamorphosis from hot-ass chick to total killer lesbo skank, were both Academy Award winners.

Carrey said he first considered using digital effects such as those he used in "The Masque of the Green Death," but went with the skin removal instead. "[CGI effects] may look as good to the audience," he said, "But it doesn't help me understand the person and the character, and I think it shows on screen."

The Skinless Sam movie follows the life of Calweski, who was born with a rare genetic disorder that left him with only a thin layer of transparent skin covering most of his body. Overcoming incredible obstacles, Calweski rose from dire poverty to become one of the highest-paid circus performers of the Depression era. He dated movie stars and met with heads of state. But with the rise in popularity of television, Calweski's fortunes took a nose-dive, and he ended his life in squalor, working as a male prostitute in New Orleans.

Carrey and co-star Annette Bening will start filming in two weeks.

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