Charles Dickens' classic character Ebenezer Scrooge, the mean ill-tempered and miserly protagonist of A Christmas Carol, is being reprised on screen by Hollywood funnyman Jim Carrey in his latest outing. Carrey says he wanted to bring to surface the "bitterness that a loveless life brings" for the role in A Christmas Carol.
"My introduction to A Christmas Carol was the version starring the British actor Alastair Sim (from 1951). He did such an amazing job of bringing Scrooge to life. It was like he had a bad taste in his mouth the whole time and he was so bitter to the core that you felt his pain in such an excruciating way," Carrey told IANS in an e-mail interview.
"And that's what I wanted to bring to this (movie) - the bitterness that a loveless life brings to someone... There's that expression that by the time you're fifty you have the face you deserve and your thoughts and your feelings do eventually form your looks. Scrooge is like a road map of pain," he added.
Throwing more light on the character, he said: "The great thing about playing Scrooge is that everyone has a little bit of Scrooge in them... My inner Scrooge rears its head on a day-to-day basis."
Based on the classic story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol has been written for the screen and directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film released in Australia Thursday and in the US and Britain Friday. The fantasy adventure is releasing in India Nov 20.
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the 96-minute 3-D movie also stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Bob Hoskins and Cary Elwes.
"It's one of the greatest stories of transformation and redemption ever written and its themes are truly universal. I think everyone can relate to the idea of someone who doesn't feel loved and therefore doesn't return love," said Carrey.
"Scrooge is faced with looking at his life, at the life he's had and how his life is going to be if he doesn't change... Who hasn't had a glimpse of that in their own lives? Who hasn't looked at the future and gone 'Wow! I have to get it together'," he added.
Scrooge is haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come and taught the true meaning of the holiday season.
The Canadian-American actor also plays the three ghosts in the movie apart from portraying Scrooge at different ages.
"It's about eight different characters because I had to have the mentality of a seven-year-old Scrooge and then the slightly older adolescent Scrooge and so on. I also liked Robert's idea that I should play all the spirits because all the different spirits could just be different aspects of Scrooge's character.
"And your voice changes as you get older, which was a challenge in itself, as well as several different accents for the spirits... I just hope I pulled it off and I'm not going to cause an international incident of some sort," he explained.
The 47-year-old also stressed on the moral behind A Christmas Carol.
"The moral of the tale is to love - to love yourself and to love the people around you and to know that you can make a difference in someone else's life," he said.
Carrey's future projects include I Love You Phillip Morris, Damn Yankees, Me Time, Pierre Pierre and Sober Buddies.