Jim Carrey, with hair, plays a Criss Angel-esque magician in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" Credit: Ben Glass Jim Carrey, with hair, plays a Criss Angel-esque magician in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"
Credit: Ben Glass

For Jim Carrey, filming and promoting “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” has meant spending a lot of time in Las Vegas, a unique city that apparently has quite the effect on the comic actor. “There’s everything here. You can’t pinpoint it, this big Vegas glitzy thing. When you look out on the strip, it’s blinding, the energy that they have,” Carrey says. “I’m not a gambler, not [into] the Sin City part of the deal; I like the shows.”

One other thing he doesn’t like is all the filtered air. “I like being on the street in Vegas. I have trouble in the room,” he says. “Nobody puts a window in that you can crack. I just get drier and drier. By day three, I’m beef jerky. I have crazy dreams here. Last night I had a dream that I had been shrunk down to the size of an insect, and I was swallowed by a hungry giant and I went though his esophagus and into his stomach, and I was burned by his juices. By the time I got to the lower intestines, I wasn’t anything that I could recognize. Then the fella took everything that I had, and I woke up at that point at the cashier at Bally’s begging for another line of credit. I don’t know if it was the Ambien or I have a gambling problem. If someone could give me $500, I swear I’m good for it. Seriously.”

In “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” Carrey co-stars as Steve Gray, a Criss Angel-inspired “edgy” illusionist at odds with Steve Carell’s more traditional titular magic man. While Gray and Wonderstone battle it out for a high-profile gig on the Strip, Carrey remembers his own days playing Vegas. “I used to open for Rodney Dangerfield years ago at Caesars,” he remembers. “I brought my dad down to the see the show. To see your name up on that big sign is such a thrill. ‘Wow, I’m really here.’ Then I had a shift and got away from impressions, and I started dressing weird with spiky hair and started imitating cockroaches avoiding vacuum cleaners. I totally lost the audience, which of course I planned to do from time to time. Rodney Dangerfield used to stand backstage and howl with laughter at my failure. I’d come offstage and he’d say, ‘Man, they’re looking at you like you’re from another planet.’”

 

As for magicians, Carrey admits he hasn’t always been the biggest fan. “There’s not a lot of differences between magicians and actors, although I think magicians are a lot more arrogant,” Carrey says. “That’s what bothered me about magicians growing up. I was always fascinated by it growing up — they’re kind of like, ‘Abracadabra, you’re an idiot!’ They don’t let you in on the joke. Comedians are in on the joke — unless you’re Andy Kaufman.”

Playing that level of arrogance also meant hitting the gym, as Carrey’s Steve Gray is a tad bit ripped. “It’s not a natural place to live, in that kind of shape. It looks great. It’s fantastic, it gets a lot of attention — but you have to eat antimatter to stay in that kind of shape. It’s not a happy place to live. I’m back now, I got Mr. Cuddly back,” he says, gesturing to his gut.

Jim Carrey is known for some bizarre behavior — as his very active Twitter feed can attest. But that reputation may have gotten a bit out of hand, he admits. Case in point: “The craziest rumor that I’ve heard about myself is that I have an iguana and that in my rider it’s written that I have to have a chef for my iguana,” Carrey says. Total nonsense? Well, not completely. “I had an iguana, but I didn’t have a chef for him,” he explains.

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