Jim Carrey first embodied the Grinch outfit and mindset about two decades ago when he starred in the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas. For a malleable and rather rubbery actor, the role actually made a lot of sense. Carrey has often been almost cartoon-like even in his most real-world roles, so taking on the green fur and dour demeanor of the Grinch didn’t seem like too much of a stretch (so to speak). Now, we are getting rumors that Carrey could reprise the role with word that Universal is developing another live-action version of the Grinch and the studio wants Carrey back in the outfit.
Wanting Jim Carrey back in the role does make sense considering the actor became the face of the original movie, lending it a certain star quality. At the time, he was the driving force behind a live-action version of the Christmas classic. So Universal wanting to continue the franchise with the original lead isn’t all that farfetched.
That being said, a sequel, or Grinch 2, would feel like a rather odd choice for a few different reasons. For starters, the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas underperformed with critics, scoring 49% on the Tomatometer. And it’s easy to see why. The film, especially in a rewatch, is incredibly off-putting. It’s borderline scary for a younger crowd considering some of the visuals are weird to the point of delusional. And Jim Carrey’s performance, while admirable and definitively “in character” doesn’t have the same kind of irreverent feel we’ve gotten from the animated versions.
At the box office, the returns weren’t all that positive either. Sure, it made $345 million, but that was on a budget of over $120 million. In studio terms, these are rather disappointing returns and why we didn’t see a sequel come soon after. With a star like Jim Carrey and an iconic character like the Grinch, had there been even moderate critical or monetary success we would have seen a follow up in short order. But neither happened.
And finally, it’s been widely publicized that Jim Carrey absolutely hated the process of getting into the Grinch costumes. Reports have the makeup team and Carrey putting in more than 1,000 hours of prep getting the look just right. Sure, it got them an Academy Award for costume design but Carrey was increasingly frustrated with the process and it ended up causing plenty of on-set riffs. There have been plenty of technological advancements over the years in terms of effects and makeup, but imagining Carrey signing right back up for the same role doesn’t seem all that likely.
The Grinch 2 isn’t the only rumor Jim Carrey has been attached to lately. Apparently, WarnerBros wants him back for Mask 2 as part of a trilogy around the character. So there are a couple of green characters Carrey is known for which we could see him reprise. Both are probably longshots but in Hollywood, it’s all fair game. In the meantime, we can get more Carrey on Saturday Night Live where he’s set to play Joe Biden over the next four years.