The internet is still processing Jim Carrey’s bizarrely existential fashion week interview, but it seems he isn’t done philosophizing quite yet. The actor, who’s now at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting the Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond—The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (yep that’s the title), stopped by the W photo studio to wax philosophical.
Whether he knew it or not at the time, a pivotal moment in Carrey’s “journey,” as he called it, was taking on the role of Kaufman in the 1999 film Man on the Moon. “It was about immersing myself in a character or a couple of characters so deeply that I realized that myself, Jim Carrey, was a character as well and something I could push aside at will,” he explained. “So once you know that, you go, ‘Who am I?’”
“We’re a bunch of ideas cobbled together to look like a form. There’s a body and there’s a mind, but the body is part of the field of consciousness, just dancing for itself and it’s no different than a plant or a chair or your phone—it’s all one thing. Because we are sentient, there’s a consciousness, and we have to deal with this thing we create, like a fortress of ideas around it. So we say, ‘This is my name and this is my heritage and this is my nationality and here’s my hockey team and these are all of the things that I am.’ That’s the mistake.”
So how do we avoid that mistake?
According to Carrey, there’s only one way:
“The only way to it is to step into the river of tears and the sorrows of your life. The things that everyone is avoiding with everything from drugs to drink to sex and gadgets and whatever else you can distract yourself with, all of it is designed for you to never stop going and moving and, for god sakes, not feel the abyss. Don’t allow yourself to feel the abandonment and pain that you’ve suffered. And I’ve done it; I’m through it. I’m sure there will be things that happen again, but I realized that by letting myself fall into it completely, that it’s not to be feared. Death is not to be feared.”
While some are writing off Carrey’s newfound Zen, it’s worth noting that the actor, who’s been open about his struggles with depression, seems to be doing genuinely great. For one, he looked great—gone is the scraggly beard, and he appeared sharp in a Tom Ford leather jacket. “I have no depression in my life whatsoever,” he declared. “I don’t have meds, I don’t have supplements, I don’t have anything. I’ve got a couple of fish oils a day and the rest of it is just good diet and a little bit of exercise and understanding that I don’t exist.”
I commented that the Tom Ford jacket seemed like an odd choice for someone who just described a fashion week event as the “most meaningless thing that [he] could come to.” In response, he likened his appearance to dressing up as a character in a video game: “You don’t have to believe this character exists—it’s a f—ing avatar on the gaming grid! Today I had extra points so I got a cool jacket to dress my avatar in,” he added. “I have cool weapons, too! Cool weapons on the game grid.”
It seemed as though Carrey could have gone on forever expounding on the game of existence, but just then we were interrupted by a “fan” hoping to get an autograph. The fan turned out to be Gary Oldman, who apparently was not aware that Carrey does not exist. And as the two old friends animatedly caught up, I couldn’t help but question whether I was there or not, either.