After the Sandy Hook shooting actor Jim Carey has become quite the anti-gun activist. His critics have responded by pointing out the number of violent movies he’s appeared in, suggesting that he’s a bit of a hypocrite for making so much money portraying so much violence.
Now, in an apparent response to that criticism, Carey is refusing to promote his latest movie Kick Ass 2 because of the violence it depicts.
Here’s the response to Carey’s decision from Kick Ass comic creator Mark Millar:
As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much. My books are very hardcore, but the movies are adapted for a more mainstream audience and if you loved the tone of the first picture you’re going to eat this up with a big, giant spoon. Like Jim, I’m horrified by real-life violence (even though I’m Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn’t a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it’s the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim’s character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place.
Ultimately, this is his decision, but I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie. Imagine a John Wayne picture where he wasn’t packing or a Rocky movie where Stallone wasn’t punching someone repeatedly in the face. Our audience is smart enough to know they’re all pretending and we should instead just sit back and enjoy the serotonin release of seeing bad guys meeting bad ends as much as we enjoyed seeing the Death Star exploding.
To be clear, Carey has been asked about his anti-gun crusaderism and its relation to this movie again and again while promoting it, meaning this move is almost certainly less a principled stand than someone who just doesn’t want to answer those sort of questions any more.
But really, Carey is just finding some common ground with many pro-gun Republicans who have argued that Hollywood/video game violence contributes to violence in America as well. Even as violence in our media has become more prevalent, and more graphic, violent crime in America has declined.
The real story of the Newtown shooting isn’t anything to do with gun violence, but rather the willingness of people to leverage tragedy as a part of a war on their personal bugaboos. Guns, for people like Jim Carey. Violent video games and movies, for the religious right.
Meanwhile, in somewhat related news, Madonna is defending the use of guns in her art echoing a sentiment about firearms usually quoted by NRA members:
The Queen of Pop came to the defense of the Second Amendment last week, stating ”guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Her argument for the use of guns, however, was in the name of art.
Madonna’s comments came while she was speaking with Elizabeth Vargas on “Good Morning America” about her “MDNA Tour.”
The singer faced backlash over some of the choreography in her new shows, which incorporated the heavy usage of guns. Regardless of the controversy, though, Madonna defended the presence of firearms when Vargas questioned her about it, affirming that she did not condone violence and saying they were used for the sake of art.
“That would be like asking people to not have guns in action movies,” she said in the interview. “I mean the thing is, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That whole first section of the show is like an action movie, and I was playing a super vixen who wanted revenge.”