Movies

Jim Carrey brings wicked humour to Sonic The Hedgehog

Based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, Sonic The Hedgehog tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as he embraces his new home on Earth.

In this live-action family-friendly adventure comedy which opens here on Feb 20, Sonic and his sheriff pal (James Marsden) team up to defend the planet from the evil genius Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his plans for world domination.

For Canadian actor Carrey, 58, Robotnik provided the opportunity to return to his legendary film comedy roots and “hit that absurd energy that people really love” from his movies like Ace Ventura, The Mask and Dumb And Dumber.

On his familiarity with the world of Sonic The Hedgehog

I knew when I got the call to do this movie that Sonic was a game. I think I had played it once or twice. After I got the call, I started playing it with my grandson, who humiliated me constantly. The really fun part was I got to see how smart and clued-in he was, and these games have turned kids into jet pilots. I mean, they’re quick. Their reflexes are awesome. He’s nine years old, and he trash-talks me. I get angry. I put money in the swear jar. I’m actually a lot like Robotnik when we play.

On what Sonic represents

I think that Sonic represents the power of innocence, the power of play, the electricity in a pure soul who just is doing his life because there is fun to be had. That’s my philosophy about life in the first place. You have to find something to do in life that not only serves people, but serves you in your heart, makes you feel like a child. I get to wake up every day and do what I love. That’s the dream for everybody.

On what was interesting about playing Dr Robotnik

The wonderful thing about Robotnik is he is analogous to a lot of the insane ego that’s running us in all different kinds of realms of life. The greed, the avarice, the self-centeredness, the self-dealing, the lack of a conscience.
He is a madman with a triple-digit IQ. Like a lot of those good folks, those clever genius types in Silicon Valley, that’s not a microchip on his shoulder, that’s a quantum database of bitterness. He hates society because he wasn’t nurtured and loved, and this is what happens to a genius like that when they have no nurturing, no love, no guidance. That’s what he’s become... the epitome of that. He hates the world because the world abandoned him. I see him as somebody who wants to be the warden of a mechanised prison that captures the consciousness of the world. And Sonic is a power that he needs, because if you control the power grid, you control the world.

On what Dr Robotnik wants

He’s a wonderful character to play. Of course, he has a 300 IQ, so it took me a week and a half to prepare. All it really comes down to is he wants to be special to somebody. Only it’s gone megalomania for him. He wants to be special to everyone. In fact, he wants to be the king of everyone. Another thing he really, really wants is to be able to get a latte the way he wants it - with Austrian goat’s milk.

On Dr Robotnik’s intelligence

Robotnik is a little, tiny piece of nothing in his own mind. And he’s blown himself into gargantuan proportions. He is smart as heck. He is the smartest one in the room. But there’s smart and then there’s spiritually dumb. I’m sure you could take a lot of the smartest people and put them in a room, and when it comes to life, they can’t carry water. And that’s kind of it.
He lives through his invention. He wants to capture the world and the world’s consciousness and control humanity with his machines. Of course, we’re not dealing with any of that, are we? So I think I’m right in the zeitgeist with this character.

On the song Where Evil Grows

It’s wonderful to be able to physicalise that evil, that self-centeredness, that constantly acting as if there’s a spotlight on you and everybody’s really interested in what you have to say. And if they’re not, they must be banished. I think that it became a physical dance, and that’s why we had that weird dance sequence in it. It’s very edgy.
And the music was something I heard when I was a child. I said to (director) Jeff (Fowler), “What about that song Where Evil Grows?”
“Evil grows in cracks and holes and lives in people’s minds. Evil grows in the dark.”
It’s kind of a cool song that I grew up with, but I didn’t know if it was big in America or anything like that. They all knew the song. I guess it was a hit everywhere. They said, “We’ll throw that on and see what happens.” And it was just the perfect thing for Robotnik. At the same time, we found out, shooting in Vancouver, that it was a Vancouver band (Poppy Family) that had written and recorded the song. So it was just really cool kismet.

On working with the rest of the cast

I make tons of mistakes, so I don’t have any problem with people making mistakes. I do think it’s a collective thing, and the more fun you generate on that set, the more fun comes through the camera and arrests the people who are watching. So to me, a movie like this is silly fun. There are themes in it that are interesting and serious in a way. But James Marsden is not only a good-looking guy, he’s just a good guy down deep. Ben Schwartz is just a funny guy, really creative, so having him be the voice (of Sonic) is really a catch.

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