When How The Grinch Stole Christmas first came out, I think it's fair to say we were all really skeptical. The cartoon version was such a classic, and remakes almost never turn out well. But, to our delight, The Grinch instantly became a classic. 17 years later, it's still one of the best Christmas movies ever made.
Even though you probably know the film line-by-line, did you know these things about it?
1. Different Look
The original Grinch was black and white with pink eyes. In the first animated version of the story, animator and director Chuck Jones decided to change the coloring to green. This was kept in the live-action remake.
2. Here's Johnny
Both Eddie Murphy and Jack Nicholson were front-runners for the role of the Grinch. Obviously, Jim Carrey won the part, but it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the role. Nicholson was looking for his first acting gig since As Good As It Gets in 1997, while Murphy was still riding the success of both the Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle franchises. As for Carrey, the role somewhat solidified his status as a Hollywood funnyman, proving it wasn't just his facial expressions that were carrying his humor.
If you thought it was a pain in the butt to get into costume as the Grinch, you'd be correct. It took three hours every morning for Carrey's makeup to be completed, and it was another hour every night to take it off. In total, Carrey was in costume for 92 days. Carrey says it was torture.
"It was like being buried alive each day. On the first day I went back to my trailer, put my leg through the wall and told [director] Ron Howard I couldn’t do the movie," Carrey recalled. "So a guy that trained CIA operatives how to endure torture was brought in. That’s how I got through it."
The movie won an Academy Award for Best Makeup.
Ron Howard, who directed the movie, felt so bad that Carrey had to endure the makeup process, that he went through it too. Howard had the makeup artists turn him into the Grinch as well, and proceeded to direct the entire day in character. However, when Carrey first saw him, he was angry because he thought Howard was a stunt double "who looked nothing like him".
5. Musical Talents
Though the original version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, Jim Carrey showcased his many talents by performing the song for the feature film.
6. Mockery Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
What was supposed to be a joke turned into a hilarious scene in the movie. When the Grinch is telling his dog, Max, how they're going to steal Christmas, Jim Carrey decided to joke around and mimic Ron Howard's style of directing. Carrey never intended for it to be taken seriously, but Howard found it so funny they ended up keeping it in the movie.
7. Get Knitting
One of the most iconic scenes in the movie involves the Grinch being forced into a hand-knit Christmas sweater while he accepts an award. Suss Cousins, a Los Angeles-based sweater designer, plus two other knitters, made over 250 pieces of knitwear for the film. This included eight identical sweaters for Jim Carrey. It took four months to complete the project, which works out to about 83 sweaters per person in just about 120 days.
If you pay attention, you'll notice some callbacks to past Dr. Seuss stories, as well as an old Jim Carrey film.
- When the Grinch is sucking up all the presents at the Lou's house, there is a goldfish in a bowl, a reference to Dr Seuss's The Cat in the Hat. (IMDb)
- After The Grinch leaves Whoville for the second time, the camera pans up and a statue of an Elephant can be seen, in reference to "Horton Hears a Who". (IMDb)
- When the Grinch is trying to drown out the noise of the Whos singing, he hits his head and says, "Owie!" He says the same thing, in the same tone, as he says it in Liar Liar, when he bangs his head against the bathroom wall while standing at the urinal, trying to think of a way to get the case postponed. (IMDb)
- In the final scene, Cindy Lou passes Max a plate of "Green Eggs and Ham"(IMDb)
- When the Grinch's heart begins to grow, it hurts his chest and he falls to the ground and wounds his hand. He turns back and forth between his two injuries, mimicking a similar gag from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls in which Ace takes a spear to each leg. (IMDb)