Film star Jim Carrey has just started a new chapter in his life…literally. Carrey is the author of How Roland Rolls, a beautifully illustrated story about a wave named Roland who contemplates his own mortality. The project is truly a family affair. Carey dedicates the book to his grandson Jackson and his daughter Jane, a musician, singer and songwriter collaborated with her dad on the project, writing several songs for the How Roland Rolls ebook which will be released this November.
Currently filming “Dumb and Dumber to,” Carrey took time out of his schedule to talk about his latest endeavor. “I’ve always loved relating to kids. I have one of those personalities that kids gravitate towards. I always think of myself as a man child to a certain extent,” he says and explains that the inspiration behind the book came straight from his childhood. “I had a lot of fears about mortality and where people were going because my mom was sick. I never really got those questions answered but I was always asking the questions. I wanted to make my mom feel better because she wasn’t feeling well a lot of the time.” At the same time, Carrey says his dad knew exactly how to light up a room with his incredible talent and personality. “My father was very funny and very childlike and really a wonderful man and I remember that moment where I looked up at him in the living room when he held court. And he was one of the funniest guys on the earth. Everyone would walk out of my house saying “Oh that Percy. He’s insane. He’s just wonderful” and then I took over and we were like a tag team,” he says.
Carrey recalls that as a child, he found himself straddling two very different worlds. “I was two people. I was entertaining people in the living room and trying to find out the meaning of life in my bedroom,” he says. “And kids don’t get credit for having those thoughts and they do. They really do wonder about creation and so it was my way of relating to them on that level.” Carrey adds that the message behind How Roland Rolls can be inspiring for adults too. He says, “I have certain beliefs about what we are that there’s a larger self. That makes you feel a lot more secure than being a part of a tiny individual fighting the universe.”
Despite his hectic schedule, Carrey found a way to share his zany expressions with Illustrator Rob Nason and he brilliantly captured them in the book. “We were on Skype a lot. I did the initial drawings and then every couple of days we’d get on Skype and I’d say he needs to have more expression and more joy. It’s a thing I call “Boing.” People get confused when I say “boing.” Boing can be the holy spirit. Boing is the force. It’s enthusiasm. It’s that energy that makes you bigger than life and a geyser of joy. The only way to explain it to him was to show him the expression myself. It all comes from a feeling. Rob’s paintings are amazing. His images are cinematic. They are incredible and they are way beyond what I expected. I’m so proud of it. Now that the book has come out, all the kids are putting their funny faces up on the website and not only the kids, but the adults too. That’s the fun part too.”
One of the most thrilling experiences for Carey is that his grandson Jackson loves the book too and has begun to show an interest in the arts too. “I watched him have the moment that I had with my dad. When I was in the studio with Jane recording the songs. She was holding him on her lap and I was being Roland and I was singing the songs which will all be on the ebook in November and I saw him on her lap looking at me with the funniest look on his face like “Oh my gosh. Grandpa is crazy.” But I felt that moment. And sure enough a week and a half later, he heard “Keep on Rollin'” once and Jane suddenly heard him singing upstairs and he had his plastic guitar and he sang the whole song. We got it on videotape. He knew the whole song. And he had been bitten. It was wonderful.”
How Roland Rolls has already received critical praise, winning the Gillett Burgess Award for excellence in children’s books. “It’s such an honor. It’s been one of the great thrills of my life,” Carrey says. “The greatest part about it is knowing that people are going to sit down at the end of the day with their kids to read a story is just a thrill beyond what I can tell you. And the kids will love the character and look at the ocean next time and go “There’s Roland.”
How Roland Rolls can be purchased on Amazon or at Barnes and Nobel stores nationwide. To find out more about Jim Carrey’s new book, you can visit the How Roland Rolls website.