How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of Jim Carrey’s most famous roles but the Hollywood star almost quit the festive film.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of the classic festive films that always get watched and re-watched at this time of year.

The Ron Howard-directed film stars Jim Carrey as the titular Grinch as he vows to ruin Christmas for everyone in the town of Whoville.

However, production on How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a surprisingly arduous affair and almost caused Jim Carrey to quit the role.

But just why did Jim Carrey come close to quitting How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas arrived in cinemas in November 2000.

That’s right, the festive film from your childhood is now 20 years old in 2020.

The film, which is based on the Dr Seuss book of the same name, follows the titular Grinch as he wreaks havoc on the town of Whoville, vowing to ruin Christmas for all.

Universal Pictures

Why Jim Carry almost quit How the Grinch Stole Christmas

While many see How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a festive classic, production on the film was actually an arduous affair for its lead actor, Jim Carrey, who had to undergo several hours of makeup each and every day during filming.

Jim Carrey had to wear a spandex suit covered in yak hair which was dyed green and also wore a number of facial prosthetics to give him the Grinch’s signature look.

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show in 2014, Jim Carrey claimed that being made up for the role was “like being buried alive every day.”

“The first day was eight and a half hours and I went back to my trailer and put my leg through the wall,” Carrey explained, “I told Ron Howard I couldn’t do the movie.”

Makeup artist Kazu Hiro told Vulture that “On set, he [Carrey] was really mean to everybody and at the beginning of the production they couldn’t finish,” he said.

“After two weeks we only could finish three days’ worth of shooting schedule,” Kazu explained, “Because suddenly he would just disappear and when he came back, everything was ripped apart. We couldn’t shoot anything.”

Universal Pictures

The solution

Jim Carrey reportedly saw the error of his ways after makeup artist Kazu Hiro temporarily quit during filming.

In order to stay calm while the Grinch makeup was applied, Carrey told The Graham Norton Show that “Brian Grazer [producer] came in, and being the fix-it man, came up with a brilliant idea which was to hire a gentleman who is trained to teach CIA operatives how to endure torture.”

In the same interview, Jim Carrey also admits that he used to smoke and listen to the Bee Gees while the makeup was applied, using an extra-long cigarette holder as to not set the costume’s yak hair on fire.

After claiming the makeup took eight and a half hours to apply on the first day, the process was refined so that it only took two and a half hours.

In total, Jim Carrey spent 92 days in the Grinch makeup according to IMDb and by the end of production, Jim Carrey was a self-proclaimed “Zen Master.”

It was all worth it in the end for Jim Carrey and co. as How the Grinch Stole Christmas won an Oscar for Best Makeup in 2001 and the film is still seen as a Christmas classic two decades later.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is available to stream on Netflix in the US while UK viewers can watch on Sky Cinema or Now TV.

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