Jim Carrey voices the title character, Horton, a lovable, kind-hearted, goofy elephant who hears a voice coming out of a speck of dust and vows to save the tiny community no matter what it takes. After all, a person’s a person, no matter how small. Carell, who credits a supporting role in Carrey’s 2003 hit comedy Bruce Almighty with kicking his career into a higher gear, plays the Mayor of Who-ville, the community that lives on Horton’s dust speck. Together for the Los Angeles press conference in support of the film, Carrey and Carell answered questions about providing the key voices in this G-rated comedy.
Jim Carrey and Steve Carell Press Conference
What about Horton really transcends a story for young people and makes it for everybody?
Steve Carell: “How does it transcend stories for young people? You're being very heady, right off the bat.”
Jim Carrey: “It hurts. It hurts.”
Steve Carell: “You know what? I don't think, as a five or six-year-old, you think about how things transcend anything. You just think about how it resonates, however much anything resonates in a five or six-year-old. This is a book that, I think, resonates with kids. They don't understand the metaphors and the sort of richness to it. But at the same time, it resonates. There's something very specific about the theme that I think even a little kid can understand. And that is that everyone deserves an equal footing in life. I think that's just a very basic tenet of being a creature of the world.”
Jim Carrey: “Yeah. That was a really good answer.”
Steve Carell: “Just say the same thing.”
Jim Carrey: “No, I think – you know, as far as kids go, the thing that attracts them to this is not the deeper concepts involved. It's really just the fact that Seuss' creativity was so incredible. He was such an original. And if you give a kid a character that he's never seen before, in a world he's never seen before, it just – they're able to completely lose themselves in an imaginary space. And yet at the same time, they're getting all those wonderful lessons. You know, my own personal experience, I just looked at it and went…I've always been drawn to things that are different, you know? I felt odd anyway, as a child. So anything odd, I went, ‘Oh, those are my people. The Sneetches without Stars, you know, I dig those people.’ There's something very original about the whole thing. And that's what draws kids. You know, myself, I listened to them on tape so I didn't really see the pictures. But – no. No.”
What made you think that way, Jim, about being odd? Looking at things in an odd way when you were a kid?
Jim Carrey: “I don't know. I was the baby of the family. I guess my father was strange. My father was funny and strange, and I looked at him and I went, ‘Wow. Everybody's looking at my dad, and everybody's laughing at my dad.’ And I just immediately kind of wanted to be that. So I locked myself in my room when all the other kids were outside playing, and was devising ways to make myself appear to be different. Somehow.”
You're both incredible physical comedians. How limiting does it feel when you really have to do a lot with your voice?
Steve Carell: “I think there's a freedom within the limitations. I think when you are given sort of a structure, and you can do anything within that structure, there's something freeing to that. As opposed to, you can do anything, anytime, anywhere. Sometimes you just don't know where to focus - at least for me. And really, the heavy lifting is done by the animators. I think we provide as much as we can vocally. But then you see it and you see where they've taken whatever you've done vocally, and it's remarkable.”
Jim Carrey: “That's the great thing about this, is that you're surrounded by artists who are just as creative, or more so, than you are. And I love being handled by nerds. It's fantastic, man. Just to spew something out and then have somebody put wings on it. You know, it's fantastic. It's a wonderful thing.”
Steve Carell: “Yeah, it's really cool.”
Did you ever work together?
Jim Carrey: “I still have never met him, but I'm looking forward to it.”
Steve Carell: “I'm sort of in awe, honestly. Because I was watching Jim answer that question before, and it still – I'm still sort of pinching myself, honestly, to be working with him. That's a big honor for me.”