The Mask Movie Review And Interview With Casting Director, Mark Paladini

The Mask Movie Review And Interview With Casting Director, Mark Paladini

Boredom is a seven-letter word that’s true meaning has been increasingly understood by American citizens as they go through their seventh month of “stay-at-home” quarantine. In an attempt to combat the evermore present phenomena of wide-spread boredom, they turn to favorite movies from years past. One such forgotten movie is Jim Carrey’s 1994 summer blockbusting comedy, “The Mask”.

Image courtesy of Variety (New Line/Dark Horse/Kobal/Shutte)

“The Mask” follows mild-mannered bank teller Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) who discovers an ancient mask infused with the power of the Norse trickster god, Loki. When donning the mask, Ipkiss morphs from his amiable self into a wild, alter-ego that bases its powers off his inner-most desires. While this supernatural version of himself charms nightclub singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz), he also catches the attention of the local mob. As Stanley attempts to balance his newfound relationship with the horde of gangsters attempting to steal the power of the mask from him, he wreaks havoc on Edge City in this ridiculous megahit.
The secret ingredient of this film’s genius recipe is Jim Carrey. His performance as the zoot suit clad maniac equipped with the titular “mask” perfectly introduces the world to the hilarity of Mr. Carrey’s mania. He both literally and figuratively bounces off the walls in this flick, spouting memorable catchphrases and hysterical zingers galore. It’s hard to imagine this film without Jim Carrey to pull off its gimmicks but at the time of its release he was still a relatively unknown one hit wonder. The credit for his widespread discovery could be largely attributed to the man who cast him in this film, Mark Paladini. Mark Paladini is a casting director of major motion pictures, including “The Mask”, and on Friday, Sep. 23, Smoke Signals had the chance to interview him. Thusly transcribed is the interview with Mark Paladini, casting director C.S.A.

So, Mark, what is the casting director’s role in film production?
A casting director is like a human resources person in any other company with the exception that we are also artists and interpretive artists. We interpret the script. We pass on the director’s interpretation and we help actors in their analysis of the script.
Speaking of actors, what made you pick Cameron Diaz for the role of Tina?
Well, Chuck Russell, the director, when we first met with him said that the person who gets Tina may have little or no experience in acting, so we knew that he wanted to do a major search, especially since he sort-of envisioned this character very beautiful so he wanted to see a lot of models and actresses who could have that sort of impact on the screen.
And Cameron Diaz just fit that bill?
Well what’s interesting is Cameron when she walks in the room is lovely but not knockdown, drag-out gorgeous, but she photographs beautifully and there’s something very special about the way she photographs. So, we always taped her auditions and we’d look back on it and go “Wow. Camera loves her.” And also, just her instincts were great too.

Image courtesy of Fanpop

That’s awesome! And how about Jim Carrey as Stanley?
Oh well, Chuck Russell, when we first met with him, already wanted Jim Carrey and Jim Carrey had already read the script and wanted to do it. In fact, Chuck Russell would always say that it would save two million dollars in special effects if we hired Jim Carrey because Jim was so amazing physically as a comedian.
Do you think the movie would have been the same without Mr. Carrey?
No. I just can’t even imagine the movie without him, and they tried to make a sequel with a different actor, and it was not very successful.
Yeah, I didn’t really love the sequel, just me personally. If you could do it all again, what would you change if anything?
You know I was thinking about that and there’s one piece of casting that I might do differently which is Rich Jeni, who wasn’t really an actor, he was more of a stand-up comic that Chuck really liked. In fact, at the end of the movie he swam out into the water and grabbed the mask, and after they tested the movie, audiences didn’t like him very much but they did like the dog! So, they reshot the ending and had the dog get the mask instead.
Huh, interesting. And what’s your personal favorite part of the movie?
Well, my personal favorite part is the bank scene where Tina comes in and he meets her for the first time. And the reason is because that was our main audition scene and I remember auditioning Cameron for the first time in that scene and thinking “Ah, she’s really good and she’s never had an acting class in her life.”
That’s awesome Mark! One last question and thank you so much for your time: What are some words you’d like to leave for the students of Canyon High School?
The one thing I want to say is that when I was in high school, I had no idea that I was going to end up becoming a casting director of major motion pictures and TV shows. So, I just want to remind them that you may have an idea of the direction your life is going but you sort of have to be sensitive to paths opening up to you and opportunities to learn new things. I changed my main vocation three times in my life, and I’ve been so glad that I did that because they’ve all been very fulfilling. I would recommend being open to that.
Thank you, Mark!

Overall, “The Mask” is a great film to watch and re-watch during this quarantine. Its over-the-top style of action, comedy, and romance make for an extremely entertaining film despite plot short-coming. If you want to simply laugh and revel in the comedic genius of Jim Carrey, this is the perfect movie for you. Smoke Signals would rate it eight “Smokinnnn’!”s out of ten.