Jim Carrey’s output is very different from The Andy Griffith Show, however, he idolized a member of the show’s cast. While filming How the Grinch Stole Christmas, director Ron Howard arranged for Carrey to meet his idol. Here’s how Carrey reacted to meeting a television legend.
What happened when an ‘Andy Griffith Show’ cast member appeared on the set of ‘The Grinch’
Howard is a treasure trove of information about what members of The Andy Griffith Show’s cast did on-set and off. According to CNN, he appeared on Larry King Live in 2006 with fellow cast members Andy Griffith and Jim Nabors. On the show, he relayed an interesting anecdote about How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
“A few years ago I was directing How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey and it turns out Jim Carrey is a huge Don Knotts fan and had imitated him in his act at one time, had even done him on a show “In Living Color” and he could do a great Don Knotts,” Howard recalled. “Jim had to wear this really oppressive makeup. It was really getting him down. He had to wear the Grinch costume and prosthetic makeup and contact lenses and the shooting went on and he was — you could just see his energy was draining.” Afterward, Howard arranged a special visit.
“And, one day I surprised him by getting Don to come to the set,” Howard said. “Jim Carrey was in his full Grinch costume standing up at the mouth of the Grinch’s cave, which was this tall set at the top of a soundstage and he looked down and he squinted and went like that and he could see that it was Don.” After that, Carrey started performing his Knotts impression in his Grinch outfit.
Carrey’s impression amused Howard. Knotts spent the whole afternoon with Carrey, which lifted Carrey’s spirits. Howard cited this anecdote as an example of how gracious Knotts was.
The time Jim Carrey almost remade a classic Don Knotts movie
Carrey’s interest in Knotts’ work went beyond his experience on the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Besides The Andy Griffith Show and Three’s Company, Knotts was most known for starring in goofy 1960s comedy films. The two most famous are The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and The Incredible Mr. Limpet. The latter is about a man who transforms into an animated fish. In 1998, Entertainment Weekly reported Carrey was going to star in a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
Carrey was certainly the right actor to emulate Knotts’ comedic charm. In addition, the 1990s were the right decade for a new Mr. Limpet, as the decade saw an animation boom. Steve Oedekerk, the director of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, was going to direct the film. Oedekerk wanted to cast Knotts in an unspecified role in the remake.
Knotts was flattered Carrey wanted to remake one of his movies. He said he didn’t feel possessive of the original film. In contrast, he said he’d get upset if anyone else played Barney Fife. Ultimately, the proposed remake was never made. Regardless, Knotts still cheered Carrey up during a difficult part of his career.
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