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Carrey: I kissed a boy and I like it; Exclusive Star feared snog with McGregor but he fell in love with movie.

Byline: By Rick Fulton

HOLLYWOOD superstar Jim Carrey was scared that kissing Ewan McGregor in a movie would leave him totally confused.

The rubber-faced star of such comedies as Ace Ventura and The Mask has a screen relationship with Star Wars actor Ewan in new film I Love You Phillip Morris.

But while Ewan has pretended to have gay sex in movies Velvet Goldmine and The Pillow Book, it was all new for Canadian-born Jim. The father of one, who is dating Playboy favourite Jenny MCarthy, admitted: "If I were to be really honest, there was a homophobic voice that rose up inside me that said, 'Gee, this is kind of scary.'

"First of all, what will people think, and second of all, will I like it?

"Will I like kissing Ewan? How will that affect me?

"There were a few people in my world who said, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' And that still exists.

"I said 'Absolutely' because, sexual preference aside, it is a story that is so compelling and interesting and different.

"It's about humanity. It is about you love who you love. And love is love. And that's it."

Inspired by a true story, I Love You Phillip Morris is a comedy drama about an ex-cop with two kids who has a car accident and reveals he's gay.

To keep up his new high-living lifestyle, he becomes a conman who ends up in a Texas prison.

There, he falls in love with his cellmate Phillip Morris, played by Ewan, who is inside for not returning a rental car.

The Scot has called the film, which has yet to get a UK release date, a "gay prison romance story".

During a chat at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah after the film's world premiere, Ewan is more circumspect about the gay role. The married dad of three from Crieff, Perthshire, said: "It's not terribly much of a big deal because my character's situation is that he's in love with Jim's character.

"I'm playing a man who is in love. As an actor, you are in there.

"So to be kissing the man you love isn't strange or unusual."

For Ewan, whose career has included independent films, such as Young Adam and The Pillow Book, in which he not only had sex but showed off his private parts, the task of kissing another man seems to be just another acting role.

What he sees in the film is a love story.

"I looked at a scene where we were dancing and singing in the prison cell and it struck me as being terribly romantic and lovely," he said.

"And that's watching myself and Jim. I thought this was really lovely."

But still, how was it kissing each other?

"Ewan was a bit prickly," Jim laughed.

"I think we have some great sexual chemistry on screen. I think there is definitely a lot of smouldering,'yum, yum, eat-him-up' vibe."

But the Scots Trainspotting star, who had a gay sex scene with Batman actor Christian Bale in Velvet Goldmine, seemed less enthusiastic.

He said: "I've played gay characters before, so I've kissed men.

"And we did all of the kissing on our first day of filming.

"We had scenes where we kissed and held each other. It was getting on with it, right from the word go. It was strangely unusual."

While Brokeback Mountain had a gay love story between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, they weren't the huge stars that Jim and Ewan are.

Ewan may have played gay characters in small, art-house films, but worldwide he is best known for Star Wars, while Jim Carrey is one of Hollywood's leading comedy actors.

IT was no wonder that, when the movie was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and the pair kissed, there was an audible gasp from the audience.

Jim describes having two Hollywood leads kissing and having gay sex on screen as "evolution".

He said: "Who would have thought we'd have an African-American president. It's evolving. I'm sure a lot of people in the gay community think it's evolving a little too slowly.

"But it's evolving. Back on TV years ago, Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore slept in different beds.

"It's evolution. Generally, it's about 10 years behind real life.

"Personally, I have a lot of gay people in my life. Everyone was so excited when I agreed to do this film. It was like freedom for a lot of them.

"Some work for me and probably felt like they had to present themselves a certain way to me, or act in a certain conservative manner around me.

"And when I started talking to them about this film and pumping them for information - that was an odd way of saying that - they got so excited. It was such freedom.

"It was like someone had let them loose to be themselves. And our relationships are better after that. It was very liberating for a lot of people who work for me."

Being a true story, the film involves real people. The subjects of the movie, Steven Russell and Phillip Morris, are still alive.

Russell was a con-artist, who variously posed as a chief financial officer, a Virginia millionaire and other powerful business figures to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After being arrested for insurance fraud, he was sent to a Texas prison, where he met and started a relationship with Morris, who has now been released.

Russell is still in jail, having been sentenced to 144 years, and has tried to esacape four times.

Jim and Ewan filmed in a real New Orleans jail with real inmates as extras.

Ewan admitted he found the experience difficult at first. He said: "I had never been in a prison before.

"I had an idea from movies what it would be like, but the intensity was quite shocking from the moment I arrived in the morning through bars and barbed wire.

"A lot of the prisoners live in dormitories and are quite calm. It took us a couple of days to get used to the fact our extras were real prisoners."

JIM added: "We had 100 people in this prison and we are in the centre of them.

"I asked the warden, 'What are these guys in here for? Infractions?' He said, 'They're rapists and murderers.'

"I guess we were kind of fun. We were something to do for them.

"They talked to me. I would find myself between takes surrounded by 20 guys just talking and laughing. I don't know what I did, but somehow I could see the most hardened person's face turn into a kid. And go, 'Hey, man'.

"They were their best selves around me, maybe. It was nice. It was a great atmosphere. It really was.

"There was no air-con in there. New Orleans is hot.

"And you start thinking about when we leave, what those guys have to do to survive in there."

While Jim has never met Russell, Ewan spent a day and a half with Morris in Arkansas, where he now lives.

"It was interesting to meet the person you are going to play," he said.

"I've played guys who have existed and I've played a guy who was still alive when I was Nick Neeson in1999's Rogue Trader. But he was in prison at the time, so I couldn't meet him."

Russell and Morris still write to each other in code and now have code names for Jim and Ewan. A gay film with two straight stars was always going to be controversial.

Jim admitted there had already been some backlash, with one person yelling at him: "What are you doing for the gay community?"

But he's circumspect and added: "That was a tough one. Here's a movie about love and tolerance.

"And that's something.

"And I just see it as an internal job. I think people are changing internally. So we all learn to love ourselves, we will love each other.

"We are a bunch of mirrors out there.

"If something bothers me about this guy in the front row, it's me."

'We have great sexual chemistry on screen. There is definitely a smouldering, yum-yum, eat-him-up vibe'

@our website

Movie trailer and video with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor about their new film at


AE FOND KISS: Ewan and Jim get up close and personal in the movie, top, and Jim with girlfriend Jenny McCarthy and her son Evan; CELLMATES: Jim and Ewan in new movie I Love You Phillip Morris and, below, in the more familiar roles of Ace Ventura and Obi-Wan Kenobi
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 22, 2009
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