It is no secret that Tommy Lee Jones isn’t the laugh a minute type. He reaffirmed his stone-faced ways recently at the Golden Globes in 2013 when he reacted to jokes like an A-Z salesman watching a SATNAV advert while simultaneously stubbing his toe and standing on an upturned plug. This is a facial expression that Jim Carrey knew all too well.
Back in 1995, Carrey took on the role of the Riddler in Batman Forever while Jones portrayed Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent. Now, as anyone who has seen Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond can attest, Carrey isn’t necessarily the most chilled presence to be around, and that is no doubt amplified when he’s playing a mind-bent madman with florescent hair a slew of infuriating questions.
This is also probably amplified further when you’re pondering whether turning away from serious roles to cash the spandex cheque of Superhero movies was really worth it. But according to industry tattle and the testimony of Carrey himself, the term ‘feud’ is putting it lightly. In fact, apparently, Jones was literally tremoring with fury in the face of the most manic tormentor in Hollywood history.
“That’s what Tommy Lee Jones said to me,” Jim Carrey told the late comedy legend, Norm Macdonald, on Norm Macdonald Live, “that he couldn’t sanction my buffoonery. That’s when we did Batman.” At which point Norm Macdonald points out that Carrey was the star in the movie, and he quips, “That was the problem!” However, he was quick to credit his work, in fairness, opining: “[He’s] a phenomenal actor though.”
The whole thing came to the fore one day when Jones had pulled himself away from a psychologically draining day of literally working with the Riddler to enjoy a nice, relaxing evening in a restaurant with his nearest and dearest. But as fate would have it, Carrey happened to have a reservation at the same restaurant that evening.
Thus, his de-stressing dinner with his nearest and dearest quickly became a terrible encounter with his nemesis. Carrey was well aware that there was some tension between the two, but he equally thought that avoiding him after that they had caught eyes would make things worse. And so, the Riddler approached the bench.
What followed was weeks of fury bubbling towards the surface. As Carrey recalls, he approached “and the blood just drained from his face as though he had been thinking about me for 24 hours a day.” At which point Tommy Lee Jones embraced him and said, “I hate you. I really don’t like you.” Carrey claims that he was literally shaking at this point, and he realised that he “had become the face of his pain.”
Thereafter, the pair did manage to make it through the film, but their differences weren’t reconciled, and the blood never returned to Jones’ face until he was pulling out of the car park after the final day of shooting. Good job a truly subpar film made the whole thing worthwhile for them.