Apparently hoping to stave off any accusations of hypocrisy by just getting them out of the way early, Jim Carrey tweeted over the weekend that he now has second thoughts about his role in Kick-Ass 2, in light of his increasingly visible gun control activism. “I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” Carrey wrote yesterday. “My apologies to others involve [sic] with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.” Most have taken this to mean that Carrey won’t be doing any publicity for the sequel, besides what’s being generated by this story right now.
Not surprisingly, Carrey’s announcement garnered a mixed reaction online, with some expressing admiration that an actor would stand up for his principles so publicly, while others have wondered why he seems to have developed this moral opposition only very recently—ostensibly over a year and a half since he first saw the script, seven months after Sandy Hook, and presumably many months since he cashed his paycheck.
Indeed, for someone who hates guns, Carrey has handed his ideological opponents some fairly heavy ammo here, as he’s been hit with charges that his anti-vaccination campaign has killed more kids than guns, as well as the question of why he doesn’t donate his proceeds from the movie to charity, then. Still others find it dismaying that Carrey, perhaps unwittingly, seems to be parroting NRA talking points blaming movie violence—and ascribing them to a film that exists, on some level, as a satire of the corrupting influence of that media violence.
That last argument was advanced by Mark Millar, creator of the Kick-Ass comics and executive producer of the films, who responded with a lengthy blog post expressing his confusion:
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. 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…
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. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can't be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie….Jim, I love ya and I hope you reconsider for all the above points.
Aside from explaining to one of his followers—who wondered why the Columbine or Virginia Tech murders didn’t lead him to this conclusion earlier—that his heart changed “over time,” Carrey hasn’t yet expanded on his original comments, or explained what his lack of “support” for the film ultimately will entail.
In related news, it's been 25 years, and Carrey still offers no apology for the misleading assertion that Earth Girls Are Easy.