Yes Man Jim Carrey to bail out the economy with laughs

Dec 19, 2008 at 3:37 a.m. ET

Yes Man Jim Carrey urges us to embrace life, a philosophy both Carrey and co-star Zooey Deschanel already firmly grasp.

Jim Carrey is ready to rockIt's a good thing, too, considering Yes Man has the onscreen lovebirds strapping on full body skate suits, racing through the streets on a moped and even got Carrey bungee jumping!

"I like to enjoy life and engage in life, so I'd say I'm a Yes Man," Carrey tells SheKnows. "I've said yes to so many things, from a sex change to gastric bypass surgery. It's always paid off for me."

Of course, he's joking about the surgeries. This is Jim Carrey, after all, and SheKnows knows to take much of what he says with a grain of salt. "It's so fun to work with Jim, because he's so fun," Deschanel adds. "I just used fun twice in a sentence. Nice job, Zooey! But yeah, it's contagious, the fun. It was always delightful."

Jim Carrey: The set up

When Carrey's morose, social dropout Yes Man character Carl stumbles onto the 'Yes' movement, he's such a 'No Guy' that he balks. The 'Yes' philosophy takes root, however, after a disastrous trial evening of 'Yes' ends up earning him a kiss and a wild moped ride that will change his life forever.

With new vigor, Carl commences life as a Yes Man, which simply means saying 'yes' to any offer presented. From a wild night out with the boys to an online Persian wife finder, the adventure begins.

"It's not only a funny movie: you believe the love story and friendships," Carrey insists. "Zooey has a different tone than me and our characters worked well off each other. It was fun, but at a certain point, when we're in the barn, you can also see why they love each other.

Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschenal go to Nebraska in Yes Man

"There's a lot to walk away with in this movie," he continues. "If there is a message, it's to engage in life. Say 'yes' more than you say 'no' and maybe more than you did before, and life turns out all right. Usually, you regret the things you say 'no' to."

Carrey jumps for Yes

Carl's penchant for 'yes' meant Carrey had to pick up a list of new skills, some more breathtaking than others. The producers were not always thrilled with his commitment taking on those risks himself, especially when it came to the bungee jumping scene.

"They didn't want me to do it, but I said, 'I'm going to do it once, so you might as well get it on camera,'" he recalls.

Ultimately, the big jump scene in Yes Man was scheduled for the last day of shooting, thus protecting the production from killing its star midway through the movie. Always thinking bigger, however, Carrey had one more request: He wanted to shoot a phone call while hanging from the bungee.

Going fast: just say yes

"I'm always trying to complicate things, so at the last second, I had them make a Styrofoam phone, so it wouldn't hit my lip, and put it in my pocket," he recounts. "They said, 'You're not going to do the scene when you get to the bottom.' But I gave it a shot."

Carrey was right. The scene came out beautifully, but that doesn't mean he had any idea what he'd really signed on for in Yes Man.

"I thought, 'They do this all the time. It's no problem...' Then I got to the bridge," he cringes. "That was intense enough. Then when I got my feet up on the ledge, it literally was like a freight train going through my veins, though my entire body, the whole time until I jumped.

Jim Carrey as Harry Potter

"It was insane. Unbelievable," he continues. "Did that, crossed it off the list, but I actually had post traumatic stress for about a week after. I dreamt of hitting the ground and all those things."

Still, Carrey doesn't point to the jump as his toughest task. That honor goes to having to speak flawless Korean - his character takes up the language.

"The Korean, I just picked that up on the set," Carrey quips. "I hung out with a couple Korean people and that was it. I just, actually, it took about four weeks of every day studying it phonetically. It was one of the hardest things I've done in my life. Then, to have a Korean coach who is afraid to go back to Korea if I get it wrong! He's telling me, 'This is serious. I will be hurt.' So I hope I got it right. He was on me and it took awhile, but I'm dedicated."

Zooey says Yes to Yes Man

Deschanel takes the stage

The adventures for real life rocker Deschanel were a bit closer to home. Her zany character Allison is the lead singer of an alternative band, with wild costumes and a tiny, but devoted following.

"I'm in a band myself, write music and go to see shows a lot, so it wasn't too much of a stretch for me," Deschanel explains. "But I usually write music alone, so it was fun to write with other people and those girls are so great, talented, funny and smart. Von Iva is the name of the band and I just joined them for a week. It was a fun process, because we had that week to rehearse."

"She blew us away with that stuff," Carrey chimes in. "We weren't expecting that. When we were there on set, it was like, 'What? This is fantastic!'"

Deschanel had a blast going wild, but fans of her real life music know her sound is a bit more retro jazzy than her characters' indie music tendencies.

Carrey notes that Deschanel also shares some of her character's spunky energy. Does that mean she'd ever plant one on some random guy in Elysian Park, as her character in Yes Man does?

"Absolutely not!" she says, before remembering the theme of her movie and catching herself. "I mean, it's a great idea. Yes!"

Carrey's other side

Perhaps more interesting than hearing how these star embraces life is that Carrey also relates to the reclusive and unmotivated Carl introduced at the beginning of the film.

"I'm different, but I understand this character," he explains. "My social life goes in bursts. I go in and out of 'shut in.' Sometimes I'm busy and all I want to do is hide when I get home; and sometimes I'm not so busy and I want to reach out to friends.

Jim Carrey sings

"I'll decide I got to get out and do something, so I'll go on a motorcycle trips to Baja and hang out with my friends for like a month. Then they'll never see me for two or three months, and I won't answer any calls. It's a seesaw affect and I need both."

Since he gets his character, he has some advice for those who feel stuck in the same rut as Carl. "Eat a ton of sweets and take your life," he deadpans. "Can't say that? Okay, let's go with option two: I would say, 'Hang in there. Invite some people over.' The devil works for God. That's my concept. The bad times are supposed to force you into getting out of your shell and going out into the world."

Jim Carrey's bail out

Speaking of the world, though the film was shot years ago, Carl's stagnant career as a loan officer fits beautifully into the current economic zeitgeist. While Carl goes from denying all loans to accepting anything, life in the real world is quite the contrary. "I'm not in a recession," Carrey quips when asked how tighter budgets might affect ticket sales. "I'm doing very, very well. I just want to be honest. I am kicking ass."

So well that when asked about this years Christmas shopping, he announced only one big gift: "I'm bailing out the economy!"

Ah, another joke, but Carrey does have a serious response: This is time when we need some laughs. "This is what comedy's about," he insists. "to laugh at the pain, the confusion. Comedy is always welcome, but especially at times like this. You want something positive in your life...Yes Man is the answer!"