When you hear the name “Jim Carrey,” you probably think of light-hearted filmic romps like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective or Dumb and Dumber. When you hear “Eli Roth,” you probably think of considerably less happy-go-lucky fare, such as Roth’s incredibly gory splatter films Hostel and The Green Inferno, or his recently released horror flick Clown. Jim and Eli, although both involved in the movie biz, do not exactly seem like natural fits to work with one another.
It may come as a surprise, then, that Jim Carrey will be starring in the Eli Roth-directed screen adaptation of Aleister Arcane, a horror-themed comic book.
Before you read any further, I want to apologize for my use of the rather coarse term “torture porn” in the title of this article. Most true aficionados of the movies, which should really be called “splatter films,” will explain that the large amounts of bloodshed and sadistic acts performed in many scenes, if executed correctly, are actually much more than crude images meant to titillate the audience. If gone about in the right way, such a scene serves as a great way to build tension later in the movie. The impactfulness of such a terrifying and repulsive spectacle instantly ups the stakes, and the rest of the movie hits harder because of it.
Eli Roth understands this. Whereas many splatter film directors opt to include gratuitous violence in a steady stream that adds little or nothing to the movie, Roth almost always uses the extremity of the scenes as a plot-enhancing device.
Enter Jim Carrey, the man who basically disavowed his own appearance in the film Kick-Ass 2 because, in retrospect, he didn’t agree with the violent lifestyle his character led.
It’s hard to imagine that the visionary violence-monger Eli Roth and the comedic pacifist Jim Carrey are able to find enough common ground to work on the same project, but as The Hollywood Reporter was first to relay, that’s exactly what’s happening.
According to A.V. Club, the comic books Carrey and Roth are adapting “centers on a Svengoolie-style horror host, who enacts a terrible curse on the parents of his small town as revenge for being banned from TV.”
As the same article points out, that sounds like the kind of comically dramatic role Jim Carrey loves to play.
And, as the description of the film from the Hollywood Reporter piece adds, the curse placed by the ex-horror host, who it notes has a penchant for gore, brings on a lot of “grisly activities.”
Which sounds like great fodder for an Eli Roth vehicle.
So it sounds like everyone could be happy here, although Carrey might have to compromise his “peace and love” mentality to fit Eli Roth’s direction style — and the plot of the comic.
Aleister Arcane would certainly make sense for both Roth and Carrey in terms of career progression.
Eli Roth has recently been making a push to work with more big-name actors after getting off the ground with films like Hostel and Cabin Fever that did not cast any big names. Last year, however, Eli directed Knock Knock, which starred Keanu Reeves. Roth also recently signed on to direct Bruce Willis in a remake of Death Wish. Carrey would be another superstar Eli Roth could add to his rapidly-growing list.
Jim Carrey, meanwhile, hasn’t made an appearance on the big screen at all since 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To, and working with a huge name like Eli Roth would be the best way to catapult him back into the spotlight.
Carrey is not a complete stranger to horror flicks, as he starred in the very creepy 2007 psychological thriller The Number 23, but his roles have certainly aimed more for laughs than scares over the course of his career.
Collider reports Aleister Arcane will be a “dark comedy.” The question is, how dark? Let’s hope Eli Roth and Jim Carrey can strike a good balance and capture the brilliance of Roth’s visceral filmmaking style while at the same time utilizing Carrey’s equally distinct comedic genius.
What are your thoughts on the unconventional Roth-Carrey team-up? Genius move or recipe for disaster? Make yourself heard in the comments section below!
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