Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever
Tommy Lee Jones has fashioned an amazing career out of playing gruff, angry men, a character archetype not all that far removed from his off-screen demeanor. Now, we’ve got a new tale to add to the Oscar winner’s (and Grumpy Cat doppelgänger’s) legend: His dismissal of his Batman Forever costar Jim Carrey.
Carrey, who stars in the upcoming Dumb and Dumber To, worked alongside Jones in the 1995 sequel, playing the Riddler to Jones’ Two-Face. As Carrey told Howard Stern on Tuesday, Jones had a grudge against his co-star before they even made it to set, because Carrey’s first Dumb and Dumber film had blown Jones’ passion project Cobb, a Ty Cobb biopic, out of the water at the box office.
“I was really looking forward to working with Tommy, because he’s a fantastic actor, and he still is to me,” Carrey said. “I love him, I mean he’s amazing, but he was a little crusty. He was a little crusty.”
That’s a nice way to put it, given the interaction that the two had at a restaurant one night during production.
“I went up to say hi and the blood drained from his face, in such a way that I realized that I had become the face of his pain or something,” Carrey remembered. “He got up, kind of shaking and hugged me and said ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ And I was like ‘Wow, okay. Well, what’s going on man?’ And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.’”
To be fair, “I cannot sanction your buffoonery” is one of the classiest slams of the last century, because it not only insulted Carrey, but also implied that Jones was in a position to sanction — or in this case not sanction — his costar’s behavior.
“He did not want to work with me at that time,” Carrey told Stern, stating the obvious. “‘I think this part requires that the tone of this thing is kind of childlike evil and stuff, and I think you might have trouble getting there, so I wish you the best.’"
Shortly after Batman Forever, Jones would go on to piss off Barry Sonnenfeld, his director on Men in Black.
The actor, who studied English at Harvard, hated the script to the sci-fi comedy, reportedly telling Sonnenfeld that he had written better stories in grade school. And he made his own, uninvited edits, at one point crossing out a block of dialogue and telling Sonnenfeld, “You know, if you were smart, you wouldn’t say any of this.”
Watch the full Carrey interview below: