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Jim Carrey vs. 'Kick-Ass 2'
Jim Carrey has publicly denounced the violence in his latest film, "Kick-Ass 2," saying he cannot support it in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. But with this public relations move, the star may have shot himself in the foot.
Carrey, a vocal proponent of gun control, announced his decision Sunday via Twitter. “I did "Kickass" a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence," he wrote, referring to the December shootings that left 20 children and six adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
In another tweet, he wrote: "My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
Out in the Twitterverse, folks seemed unimpressed. "Respect to Jim Carrey for finally admitting even he doesn't want to see his movies," went one tweet. Some suggested that Carrey put his money where his mouth was by returning his salary or donating it to a Sandy Hook charity. Others simply didn't buy Carrey's moral logic.
"To single out one terrible act, in a time when it's sadly a common occurrence? Bizarre," wrote another tweeter.
"Kick-Ass 2" is a sequel to the 2010 film about a young man who becomes a do-it-yourself superhero and finds that he is not the only one. The film introduced the controversial character of Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), a foul-mouthed nine-year-old with impressive fighting skills. In "Kick-Ass 2," Carrey plays a character called Colonel Stars and Stripes.
Mark Millar, who co-wrote the original comic book "Kick-Ass," as well as the new film, quickly responded with a lengthy, well-reasoned post on his website, Millarworld, that took pains to rebut Carrey's position without burning any bridges.
"Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion," Millar wrote, "but I'm baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn't in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much."
Millar also makes this interesting point: "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 renunciation, which at this point implies that he will do no pre-release publicity for the film, seems largely unprecedented. Rarely, if ever, has a Hollywood star so loudly distanced himself from his own film, let alone over matters of conscience. The move may not damage "Kick-Ass 2" and may even help the film, which was generating only moderate buzz until today. Mostly, however, the move puts Carrey in an awkward position.
Already audiences are wondering how a major star could go through the long process of reading and approving a script, acting in the film, and then decide that the entire project was morally unacceptable. Why did Carrey wait until now, six months after the Sandy Hook shootings (and less than a month before the film's release) to make this decision? Even odder for Carrey's public image, he will soon be appearing in "Kick-Ass 2" on screens across the nation, delivering a comedic performance in a film that he apparently finds unfunny and objectionable.
Carrey may also have muddied the waters for a future project, "Dumb and Dumber To," the long-awaited follow-up to his Farrelly Brothers comedy with Jeff Daniels, which was officially announced just a few days ago. That film is scheduled for release in 2014. When Carrey presumably hits the talk-show circuit to promote it, he may find himself still peppered with questions about his unusual about-face.
"Kick-Ass" is due in theaters Aug. 16.