BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Even though they’re two of
the world’s biggest superstars, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet
sure have a lot of trouble talking about themselves. Gathered in a
Beverly Hills hotel along with the director, screenwriter and other
stars of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” a
film released today in theater across the country, the two leads
can’t help but hide their celebrity status as they are too
busy gushing over what a great time they had making the film.

Film Reviews
Remember that time, when she was on that boat, and she got naked … that was pretty cool. (Courtesy of Focus Features)

A more dramatic departure for the comedic giant, Carrey scoffs
at the idea that he needs to be funny all the time, “For me
the story’s the star. It doesn’t matter whether
it’s funny or not.”

If Carrey was looking for an imaginative, smart story that
demanded none of the usual Carrey showmanship, he certainly found
the right men for the job in acclaimed screenwriter Charlie
Kaufman, the unorthodox mind behind “Being John
Malkovich” and “Adaptation,” and music video
filmmaker Michel Gondry, a second-time director also responsible
for videos for The White Stripes and Bjork.

A romance with a sci-fi twist, “Eternal Sunshine”
finds Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) as one-time lovers who
now wish to erase all memories of their relationship from their
brains thanks to an operation devised by Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom
Wilkinson, “In the Bedroom”).

The film combines Kaufman’s eccentric storytelling with
Gondry’s visual magic, but never lets the technical overcome
the emotional. Winslet noted her attraction to the film,
“Whilst the story is told in this kind of crazy, unorthodox
way, it’s actually a very simple love story about two people
who are really meant to be together despite this horrendous thing
that they do.”

Carrey eagerly added, “It’s romantic and yet
it’s not romanticized. It’s a real love full of
compromise and everything else that love comes with.”

With a story they believed in drawing the actors to the project,
Gondry’s high-wire-act filming style never disappointed
Carrey and Winslet on the set. Winslet explained, “I think
that so much of what we ended up shooting was not only brilliantly
written by Charlie but was in Michel’s mind and that, for all
of us, was the thing that was so inspiring and challenging and
spontaneous about making this film, that every day there was
something new.”

“Michel definitely flouts convention,” Carrey
echoed. “(It was) different than anything I think any of us
has ever experienced. At a certain point he didn’t want to
say action or anything. He just wanted to completely rewrite the
whole rulebook.”

Gondry’s bizarre approach confused Carrey at first, as he
explains, “I argued with him a couple of times about that I
didn’t think that I could accomplish certain things like a
scene in (Dr. Mierzwiak’s office) where I’m in two
different places in the scene and I have to run around the
camera.”

Winslet adds, “And you never thought it was gonna
work.”

But Carrey could not argue with the results, “It looks so
clunky. You just go, ‘This is a student film right
here,’ and then you see it and you go, ‘Wow. It’s
magic man.’ ”

From Elijah Wood to Kirsten Dunst, the entire room sang the
praises of Kaufman and Gondry. Moreover, from their stories it
appeared the entire crew fell in love with the project.

Carrey recounted, “When (we) were done in the scene,
(everybody) would run down the hall to the video monitors to see if
we pulled it off and then this cheer would go up at the end of
it.”

And with that trademark Carrey grin he added, “It was like
old-time show business again.”

 

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is now
playing at the Quality 16, Madstone and Showcase.

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