Jim Carrey has given life to some of the weirdest, wonderful and most loved characters in cinema. From Truman Burbank to Lloyd Christmas, to Ace Ventura and Joel Barish; he’s given us touching, heartfelt performances, as well as sublime and ridiculous turns.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey at the Elton John Oscar Party

His latest – the street magician Steve Gray – has the potential to be just as barmy as the others in his repertoire of crazy guys. “My character is one of those guys who would mess his hair up for three hours to show he doesn’t care,” Carrey, 51, explained. “He’s there to undermine their lives. That kind of psych-out, psychological warfare is what he likes to play with as a joke. His attitude is like, ‘They’ve been corrupted’ — and yet he’s corrupted and wants what they have,” namely fame, success and money.” Gray is also a deep character, though, aside from the inevitable silliness that Carrey can bring to his character. “He struck me as a guy who had a Christ complex. When we threw that wig on the character we did a 180,” said Carrey, who also designed Gray’s tattoo insignia ¬ — a rabbit skull and top hat. It’s the first time any of my art has crept into the film. It’s amazing how all these different touches create a completely different person.”

Carrey has also had to get fit for this role, considering the amount of skin he has to show. “I’ve never taken my shirt off in a movie before — that was a Matthew McConaughey thing. It’s not a natural place to live. It looks great but you have to eat anti-matter.”