Though he has his fans, it would be very fair to say that Jim Carrey is something of an acquired taste as an actor. He was Adam Sandler before Adam Sandler was - a gifted actor capable of stunning dramatic performances that unfortunately tends to do more work deferring to the typecast image of him as a mugging comic goon.
That said, he was actually a lot better as The Riddler in Batman Forever than he was ever given credit for - mostly because of the framing of the rest of the film. And when you think about what he had to put up with on set, his performance looks even more impressive. Because his co-star and eventual in-story team-mate, Tommy Lee Jones, really, really didn't like him.
The story of Jones' animosity towards Carrey is already well mapped out, but Carrey has been talking about it again and offered his take on it. He appeared on Norm Macdonald Live, and revealed what he thought caused their tension:
“I was the star and that was the problem. He’s a phenomenal actor, though. I still love him.”
That's like an open-face compliment sandwich. He also suggested that Jones' demeanour may have been down to him not being comfortable with the material:
“He might have been uncomfortable doing that work, too. That’s not really his style of stuff.”
Carrey also revealed their feud came to a head in a restaurant during filming. You can just imagine the tension:
“The maitre said, “Oh, I hear you’re working with Tommy Lee Jones. He’s over in the corner having dinner.’ I went over and I said, ‘Hey Tommy, how are you doing?’ and the blood just drained from his face. And he got up shaking — he must have been in mid kill me fantasy or something like that. And he went to hug me and he said, ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ And I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ and pulled up a chair, which probably wasn’t smart. And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.'”Advertisement
Regardless of the specifics of their rivalry, the lack of chemistry between Two Face and The Riddler was a drop in the ocean compared to some of the other issues with the film. And Jones' performance on its own was definitely one of the worst elements, so it's a little rich to hear of him criticising Carrey's approach to working, which was far superior on that project.
Still, at least they haven't had to work together again since.