To find Oscar-winner Martin Landau and goofball Jim Carrey in the same movie is a surprise, indeed! But Hollywood is a surprisingly small town, where the unlikeliest souls cross paths every day and one such random meeting led to these two actors playing father and son in the patriotic heartwarmer, The Majestic (opening Dec. 21).
"Way back," Landau recalls, "I went to the premiere of The Mask and there was a party at the old Chasen's afterwards. I sat with Jim for awhile that night, and along the way, he said, 'I can't be doing this until I'm 60.' And I said, 'A lot of people can't do what you do.'"
By that evening's end, Landau was left very impressed with Carrey: "I found him to be incredibly intelligent." Not only that, the Hollywood vet deigned to give The Majestic's script a second glance when his agent said Carrey was attached. But didn't he wonder whether the funnyman could handle serious drama? "This is a whole other thing for Jim," he says. "But great comedians have a dark side which they can distill into other stuff. The real good ones like [Charlie] Chaplin can make you laugh and a second later make you cry."
Carrey does both in the movie, playing an amnesiac Hollywood screenwriter who's mistaken for Landau's son, an M.I.A. World War II veteran. Were any eyebrows raised when Carrey enlisted the aid of esteemed acting coach Larry Moss
to tackle the meaty part? "It's not strange at all," Landau says. "Hilary Swank
thanked Larry in her Oscar speech. So Jim smartly said, 'Sure, why not get all the help I can?' That shows a very healthy ego, frankly."