Looking back, Jim Carrey’s singular comedic talent was probably always destined for greatness. But it took time for the actor to finally land his big break in Hollywood. Even after starting work in movies and TV, Carrey was passed over for a long list of high-profile roles. One of the most fascinating, however, came in the early 1990s when Carrey lost a major movie to Robert Downey Jr.
Jim Carrey only became a movie star in 1994
Throughout the 1980s, Carrey slowly but surely rose through the Hollywood ranks. The actor’s first major industry credit was a television role The duck factory. That show ended after just a few months in 1984, but the following year Carrey landed his first starring film role in once bitten opposite Lauren Hutton and Cleavon Little. In the years following that film – which was a minor hit – he appeared in a series of increasingly high-profile supporting roles.
In 1990, Carrey got the best showcase yet for his skills as a cast member of Fox’s popular sketch show. In living color. Just months before the series ended in 1994, the actor made a quick transition to movies with the success of Ace Ventura: animal detective. This was soon followed by The mask and Stupid and even dumber the same year. And just like that, nearly 15 years in the business coalesced to make Carrey a top movie star.
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Robert Downey Jr. took the lead from this winner
Just two years before Ace Ventura: animal detective would make Carrey a household name, he almost took on a very different role. The actor, according to Vulture, competed with several different stars for the role of screen legend Charlie Chaplin. Other names in the mix included Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, as the team behind the film seemed to want another comedic actor to helm the project. Director Richard Attenborough had other ideas.
The filmmaker ultimately cast his first choice, Downey, in Chaplin. And the actor – who had been a mainstay on the big screen for nearly a decade – finally earned his first Oscar nomination for his performance. Ironically, Carrey would deliver his own critically acclaimed turn as an icon of real-life comedy in the 1999s. Man on the Moon. However, Carrey failed to win an Oscar for his role as Andy Kaufman.
Jim Carrey’s career took a major boost in 2020
Carrey’s heyday came as a top movie star began to slip a bit in the mid-2000s. Fun with Dick and Jane and The number 23 underperforming, leading Carrey to take on a wider range of projects. These include the R-rated comedy-drama I love you Philip Morris, family Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and a small silent role in a post-apocalyptic thriller The bad batch.
But in 2020, Carrey was back at the top of his game. In sonic the hedgehog, the actor once again reminded fans just how much fun his manic, over-the-top comedy can be. The movie became a massive hit — earning $320 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo — and inspired an upcoming sequel. Carrey returns as the villainous Dr Robotnik for sonic the hedgehog 2, which is scheduled for release in April 2022.
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