After Sandy Hook, Jim Carrey Says He Must Speak Out Against ‘Kick-Ass 2′

'I Cannot Support That Level Of Violence'

I remember almost a year ago after the tragic Dark Knight shooting in Colorado, producer Harvey Weinstein came out and said that he’d be interested in having some sort of discussion with filmmakers about violence in movies. I don’t think that conversation ever happened, and I don’t know that anything would have come of it, but when tragedies happen people tend to– at least momentarily– look for and long for answers. A few months after the Colorado shooting, the Sandy Hook massacre occurred and similar questions about violence in media, and mental health in America came about. Jim Carrey is a known advocate of gun control and has come out to publicly denounce his new movie Kick-Ass 2, saying that he cannot support the level of violence in the highly-anticipated sequel, especially after the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Click inside to learn more.

Vulture has the story:

Perhaps having just gotten around to watching the Kick-Ass 2 trailer, Jim Carrey tweeted some reservations on Sunday evening. “I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” he wrote. “I meant to say my apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.” Mark Millar, creator of the Kick-Ass comics as well as executive producer of the films, almost immediately shared a lot of thoughts on his website. Millar was ecstatic for Carrey — “an actor like no other, an unpredictable force of nature who brings a layered warmth and humanity to his work as well as that unstoppable energy” — to join the film, and praises Carrey’s performance as Col. Stars and Stripes. But the writer is confused by Carrey’s sudden change of heart.
Millar writes:

As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen months ago. … Like Jim, I’m horrified by real-life violence (even though I’m Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn’t a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, 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. Ultimately, this is his decision, but I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. … Jim, I love ya and I hope you reconsider for all the above points. You’re amazing in this insanely fun picture and I’m very proud of what Jeff, Matthew and all the team have done here.

This is really interesting and I’m wondering how it will all turn out.

Does it make sense to y’all that Jim Carrey would want to speak out against the movie? Or do you think the director’s argument is more compelling? I’m inclined to agree with Millar, especially on his thoughts about the relationship between on-screen violence and massacres like what took place at Sandy Hook: ‘I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life.‘ Of all the things that cause people to commit mass murder, I just don’t think movies like Kick-Ass or The Dark Knight Rises are responsible in any real way. But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to hear what you guys think.

I do have to say, I’m glad Jim Carrey is at least speaking out and reminding people that Sandy Hook did happen and there should still be great concern for what we as a society can do to stop these tragedies from becoming the norm.

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  1. I totally respect his feelings on the matter, I just find it a little odd to just be speaking out against the film? I guess maybe he just saw the film and found it to be too violent for him after Sandy Hook, which I completely understand. But I will tell you right now, I cannot wait to see Kick Ass 2. It will be a little weird watching it now knowing Jim’s feelings. I’m weird though and don’t love movies like this for the violence, I love them more for the dark comedy and high action. Not so much the gore and death count.

  2. MJ

    Maybe he’s voicing his concerns preemptively as to when it comes time to promote the movie? Tho, I’m not thinking he’ll be doing a lot of that now…. He’s entitled to his opinions, but it strikes me as fairly hypocritical. I mean, was he objecting when he was gettin’ paid?

  3. Yeah, I don’t really side with actors in cases like this. Most of the time, they know exactly what the movie is about and what they are getting themselves in to. Supporting the movie is part of his job…

    I do think that a lot of issues regarding guns, mental health and violence need to be addressed but not because of a movie like Kick Ass 2.

  4. Alejandra

    While his heart seems to be in the right place, I’d take him more seriously if he gave back his pay from the movie he cannot in good conscience promote anymore.

    • Or maybe donate his paycheck to the Sandy Hook school or victims or another anti-violence charity? I agree though, if he hangs on to his paycheck from this movie he cannot support anymore it will make me question him a little bit.

    • Alejandra

      Exactly. I would like that even more. Pulling out of publicity for a movie you’ve been paid for doesn’t really make a statement- it just gives you attention. Giving your pay to charities for Sandy Hook or a similar charity- that’s making a real statement.

    • Legally, I don’t think the union would allow him to not get paid, return his paycheck, etc. The only thing he could do is donate the money to charity.

    • Silly

      Alejandra, that is exactly what I was thinking.

      I’m not sure he thought his opinion all the way through before he expressed it.

    • @Silly – Given Millar’s own reference to it being a “sudden statement”, I’m really hoping Jim discussed his change of heart with the Kick Ass team before making it public. I love Jim, I do, but part of that love with recognizing that he can be a little bit passionate and abbrassive when it comes to issues he is highly involved with. I don’t think that inherently bad, but well, I can’t ignore the fact that he does stuff like this.

  5. and after giving more thought I just want to add, that I don’t think he shoudl keep all opinions to himself but perhaps there was a more diplomatic way to express them without going down this route.

    It is good publicity for Kick Ass 2 though!

  6. Gillian

    I understand what Jim is trying to say/do. But I think he is going about it the wrong way. Movies do not make people go out and kill each other, nor does song lyrics, or video games. The real problem that assisted in the violence at Shady Hook, was gun legislature, and how we treat, support, and help those who are mentally ill. Until those issues are dealt with as a society, Shady Hook will be a fate that many other schools and places will unfortunately experience, regardless of what films play at the time. I appreciate that Shady Hook is still heavily relevant in Jim’s life. Hopefully his views will shine a spotlight onto Shady Hook again, and help restart the conversation on what we can do to ensure this never happens again. Perhaps he should donate his pay cheque to the victims? Or at least a portion of it.

  7. t*

    I don’t agree with Jim here. I also feel bad for all the other ppl in the movie. This could really hurt them…why say anything…is he going to take the money he made from the film and use it to support gun control laws?

  8. Gillian

    I understand what Jim is trying to say/do. But I think he is going about it the wrong way. Movies do not make people go out and kill each other, nor does song lyrics, or video games. The real problem that assisted in the violence at Shady Hook, was gun legislature, and how we treat, support, and help those who are mentally ill. Until those issues are dealt with as a society, Shady Hook will be a fate that many other schools and places will unfortunately experience, regardless of what films play at the time. I appreciate that Shady Hook is still heavily relevant in Jim’s life. Hopefully his views will shine a spotlight onto Shady Hook again, and help restart the conversation on what we can do to ensure this never happens again. Perhaps Jim should donate a portion of his pay cheque to the victims, or to support those with mental disabilities?

  9. James

    Shannon, I have to say that I disagree with you a bit. I do believe there is a correlation between the glamorizing of violence in the media and the actual events we see in real life. We’ve talked about this similarly in rap music after Lupe Fiasco voiced his concerns. It all has to do with sociology; There is a reason why most acts of violence are committed by men. We live in a society that tells men that violence is the way to solve our problems, that violence is more masculine than diplomacy or simply coming to terms with emotions. Films perpetuate the collective consciousness of society, and if they continue to feed us the same garbage about violence being awesome and killing/hurting people is totally no big deal, that’s going to stick to some extent. I’m not saying films are the entire cause of violence in America. Obviously there are other socioeconomic disparities and theories about why someone would resort to crime. What I am saying though is that the society we live helps to shape our personal values and beliefs, and the media plays a crucial role in socializing us.

    • James, the reason I have trouble with this theory is because studies have shown that in other countries where there is just as much (sometimes way more) violence in film and/or media, there is still NO WHERE near as much real-life violence as there is in America.

      It’s interesting that you bring up Lupe and rap. I think there’s definitely a relationship between young people living in the inner city and engaging in gun violence and a real glorification of that lifestyle in hip-hop. I actually think that’s a slightly different conversation than the one about gun violence in mass murders. I don’t know the stats, but I feel like most of these massacres don’t take place in so-called urban America. Sandy Hook and the Colorado massacres inspired conversations about mental health for a reason– it’s not JUST about access to guns. Whereas, gang violence or violence in certain communities is about other things (not to say it’s completely NOT about mental health) like access to decent education and poverty.

      While I do agree that media and images play a role in all this (as you say, it’s all apart of our socialization) I honestly don’t think it’s a key factor. I do not think that movies like Kick-Ass play a significant role in decisions to commit violent acts. There are just way too many people in the world who watch way too many gruesome, violent films and do not act accordingly so I personally don’t see a strong connection.

    • Is violent entertainment part of creating a violent society…or is it a reflection of a violent society?

  10. I support Jim. I don’t agree with him (that violent content encourages violent actions), but I do think that it is possible to do a movie and be fully on board, and then come to a different conclusion months later.

    Sandy Hook was a very powerful event. I do not doubt that it changed some people forever, even if they weren’t directly involved.

    • Krissy, ‘I do think that it is possible to do a movie and be fully on board, and then come to a different conclusion months later.’ I agree with this too. I can absolutely see him having read the script and filmed the movie, but then feeling differently about things post-Sandy. The reality of a movie (or even a movie trailer) is different from the script or the scenes you shot.

  11. i can understand the change of heart, im sure many people have gone through it. but my question is..if hes so against it..did he donate that paycheck? because if that money is still in his bank account then it discredits anything he said.

  12. adam

    There has never been a peer-reviewed study, ever, to suggest a causal (or even correlational) relationship between violence in the fictional media and real-life violence. There have been many peer-reviewed studies that has discredited the notion, however.

    That said, I admire what I think Jim is trying to do, I just think he is misguided.

    I also think, given what Millar was faced with, he did a good job in responding.

  13. Lauren xx

    He’s done a lot of movies with violence, right off the top of my head is that Joel Schumaker Batman (Forever, & Robin? Can’t remember, both awful) when he played the Riddler. Don’t ask me why that one came to mind. Why isn’t he denouncing all of them? It really is a shame to the cast and crew of Kick Ass 2.

    Like it’s been stated before by other people, he really needs to put his money where his mouth is and donate what he made and will make from this movie to gun control causes or charities connected to Newtown, CT. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than hot air and could really hurt his career. If I were a director, I’d think twice about casting him lest he denounce my work when it came time to go on a media tour.

  14. While I do think Jim’s intentions are noble, I also can’t negate that the situation comes off as a weird and slighty shady on his part, for the same reasons plenty of people have addressed here. Adding to that, I wish his statement was more detailed and provided more insight in regard to his thought process. [Millar's s tatement was infinitely superior.] I think that by saying as little as he did –Kick Ass-too violent-Sandy Hook-can’t support-see ya!– Jim does a complete disservice to ALL the people involved in the film. It seems inconsiderate. He is essentially single them out. For some people, whatever little Jim said is going to be their first and only impression of it. I know there’s the “all publicity is good publicity” thing, but I don’t think anyone would want a very tragic and recent tragedy like the Sandy Hook shooting suddenly associated to the name of their project. Tough call, really.

  15. Let’s not forget that this is not Jim’s first time taking a position on the gun violence issue. He did the video on Funny or Die back in March, many months after filming this movie and a few months after Sandy Hook. Perhaps he realized that people would call him a hypocrite for being anti-gun but promoting a movie with gun violence?

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/0433b30576/cold-dead-hand-with-jim-carrey

    • Paul

      This answer is the likely one. The first Kick Ass movie was very violent and there is every indication that Kick Ass II will be even more violent. On the other hand, Jim Carrey has told some stories in the past about how he had to represent himself for movie parts (for example, being kid-friendly enough to get approval from Dr. Suess’ widow to get the lead in The Grinch), and it might be possible he is representing himself in this fashion for the same reason.

  16. Luna

    You guys are missing a critical point here. Violence in movies and songs DO play a part in making people (especially those with mental illnesses or are bullied) commiting violence. The MAIN reason why you see it happening more in USA than in other countries is because of the EASY ACCESS TO GUNS.

    This is VERY OBVIOUS. I can’t believe there are still people out there blinded by this simple fact. Doesn’t matter if you make background checks more strict or make mental illness tests compulsory or whatever. Doesn’t matter if more organizations are set up to evaluate and support patients with mental illnesses. Do away with the guns, COMPLETELY and you will see a difference.

  17. Megan

    I have to agree with Millar; if he actually read the screenplay (which the answer to this is fairly obvious) then the actual final product of this movie should be of no surprise to Jim at all. Additionally, if he has seen any part of the first Kick Ass movie, that should provide somewhat of a feel for how the sequel will go as well. It just irritates me because none of this movie should come as a shock and I just have a feeling he’ll have no problem with the profit this movie brings in.

    I’d also like to note the amount of attention Kick Ass 2 is receiving now that Jim Carrey has announced that he will not promote it. Well played, Jim, well played.

    • I don’t think he is saying that he was surprised or unaware of the violence that would be in the film. He is saying that he changed his mind about it after filming because he was moved by current events.

      I don’t understand why people keep portraying him as if he is saying he was tricked into filming this movie or that he was surprised by the violence in the film. He didn’t say anything like that.

  18. Megan

    Think about how much the media affects the body image of women. Why wouldn’t it be at all the same with men seeing violence in the media? It’s obviously not the root cause of anything, but constantly seeing movies with horrible violence and playing video games where you perpetrate violence from the time your’re a young child has to stick with you in some way.

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