Photo Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage
Jim Carrey has had a change of heart about his latest film. In Kick-Ass 2, the rubber-faced actor plays vigilante Colonel Stars and Stripes, who helps self-made superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) defeat the bad guys. Like the 2010 action comedy Kick-Ass and the comic that inspired it, the sequel promises scenes of brutal violence. And that's why Carrey says he can no longer support it.
"I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence," the actor tweeted on Sunday. "My apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart."
We do understand where Carrey is coming from. Sandy Hook hit way too close to home for many of us, and made us reconsider the way that violence has casually crept into our lives -- including our entertainment. Carrey also has a 3-year-old grandson, so he may be seeing his film roles through new, more innocent eyes.
On the other hand, withdrawing support from the film seems like a strange decision. If Carrey wants to draw attention to the issue of violence in movies, shouldn't he be doing more press to launch those conversations? Furthermore: It seems a little disingenuous for a 47-year-old man to suddenly realize that the movie he made was really, really violent. He's been an anti-gun activist for a long time; did he really go through the entire process of making Kick-Ass 2 without taking this into consideration?
Kick-Ass 2 screenwriter Mark Millar, who wrote the comics upon which the films are based, is also confused by Carrey's decision.
"Like Jim, I'm horrified by real-life violence (even though I'm Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn't a documentary," Millar wrote in a blog post defending the film. "This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood... Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it's the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim's character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place."
Carrey's about-face must be a serious blow to the filmmakers, considering he's their big A-list star. Jim is certainly not the first actor to speak out against his own film; Katherine Heigl famously said that Knocked Up was sexist, Janeane Garofalo hated her rom-com hit The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and Shia LaBeouf has talked trash about multiple movies (including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).
Most critical actors, however, choose to hold their tongues until the film has left the theaters. It's extremely unusual for stars to cut down their own movie when they're supposed to be promoting it, and it usually has consequences. For example, when Megan Fox said one too many unkind things about director Michael Bay, she was axed from the Transformers franchise. And remember when Angus T. Jones told his fans not to watch Two and a Half Men? The show now has one less man.
Carrey, however, is probably too big a celebrity to face major consequences for boycotting Kick-Ass 2. In fact, the controversy might actually help the film. The original Kick-Ass generated heated discussion about its extreme violence and foul language, much of it involving young Moretz (11 years-old at the time). And it was a massive hit. From the start of promoting the second film, Millar has promised fans that it would be just as controversial. So congratulations, Mark -- you made good on your word.