Address given by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the presentation of the insignia dechevalier in the order of Arts and Letters to Jim Carrey and EwanMcGregor

Dear Jim CARREY,
Dear Ewan McGREGOR,
Dear friends,

I love you Jim CARREY, I love you Ewan McGREGOR…
Not only me, but the French public also loves you and you
plebiscite both, and I’m sure he’ll love you and you
in «I love you Philipp MORIS» this crazy comedy where
you appear together, and you have come to introduce us to
the occasion of its upcoming release in Paris.
I am pleased to welcome you both together, not only
because you already form a mythical couple on the screens, but also
because, between you, you embrace the essence of the spectrum, the
palette of the actor. It seems to me that you play both sides
complementary of the actor’s genius – but of this strength, there is
no, don’t worry, on the “dark side”, there are only bright sides…

So first, dear Jim CARREY,

When I see you acting – when I see you at all, because
you are a born actor, an irrepressible chameleon, I want for proof
your performance yesterday on one of our national media…- I’m thinking
18th-century French philosopher at DIDEROT. It makes you smile and
you amaze, but in fact DIDEROT is interested in natures
explosive, eruptive, creative, mimetic, transforming like yours.
He describes the great classical actor David GARRICK with words
that would suit you just as well and that I want to read you: GARRICK
passes his head between the two shutters of a door and, in the interval of
four to five seconds, his face passes successively from crazy joy to
moderate joy, from this joy to the tranquility of tranquility to surprise
from surprise to surprise, from astonishment to sadness, from sadness
to despondency, from despondency to terror, from terror to horror, from horror
to despair, and rises from that last degree to the one where he descended.”
I recognize here the crazy and fast ranges that you execute as virtuoso
You are the representative par excellence of this vein of the actor
whose art is made up of an extraordinary presence, a
truculence that goes as far as exuberance, and that is constantly trained to
transgress because it is inhabited by the forces of a kind of trance
But at the same time, to anything you imitate, you give a
smile and liberating energy. Perhaps no role suits you
better than this magical “mask” that gives manic and
ironic, and which is an image of your art. Thanks to your art, everything becomes
brighter and lighter, you give us wings, insurance to excess,
a bit like this «I love you Philipp MORRIS» character ready for anything
for his new love. You free us a little from the unbearable
gravity of being».
You excel in this very particular genre of science fiction
distant, even comical, that is to say the kind where the unbridled imagination
Stares back at her fantasies.

If we understand that you are, as you say, the descendant of a
pirate of Saint-Malo, we can hardly believe that your name comes from
French «Carré», because as to what distortions
morphological you know how to submit your face, we say that you
have already changed pattern several times, and have acquired since all the
geometry of expressions...
But especially for me, this «CARREY» immediately announces the color, because it
resonates with another CAREY (with only one "r"): I think
of course to Léo Mc CAREY, the master of American comedy, whose
you are a great representative. You register, in your place
special and skilfully popular and offbeat, in this high tradition
opened by LUBITSCH and CAPRA, and then reinvented by these directors
on stage with whom you walked, from COPPOLA to the brothers
FARELLY, via Tim BURTON, to name a few.
Because with you, you never know who the person is and who the character is,
the “persona”, the mask, precisely. You walk a character
created from your earliest age, as soon as the demon of the
stage, when you make your debut in imaginative and very
Hollywood will then recognize your talent and give a
universal radiation at its incredible variety. Everywhere, magic operates,
the great magic of imitation that is the source of all art.
The digital transformist of «The Mask» becomes the hero of a
post-modern comic illusion in The Truman Show. You have
also shot with Milos FORMAN in the beautiful «Man on the
Moon», perhaps my favorite, by his ability to question the depth
carried by laughter and confusion of the imagination and the real, meditations
that are a constant in your filmography, the series
coherent of the characters you play and who end up doing
meaning and even working.
That is why, moreover, your choices are always demanding; you refuse
for example the ease of sequels to offer you always
more originality and invention. You do not hesitate to engage with
of young authors (I think of the magnificent poetry of Eternal Sunshine
of the Spotless Mind» by the gifted Michel GONDRY), or
Challenging companies like “I love you Philipp Morris” that defended
their two directors, without concessions, and of course Luc
When I proposed to you a few days ago that
decoration, I had a moment of doubt. It happens that despite the adage that
wants it “not requested, not refused, not carried”,
some artists sometimes refuse it. And I was trying to reassure myself by
thinking of a possible new scene from «Yes Man», this film where you
have definitely decided to say yes to everything…
But since I know that, in life, you are not a "Yes Man"
in your life, your favourable response to this proposal has nothing but
And so it is with great pleasure, dear Jim CARREY, that on behalf of
the French Republic, we present you the insignia of knight
in the order of Arts and Letters.

Dear Ewan McGREGOR,
You play the other side of the comedian. The «deep side of the
force”, in a way. While your accomplice is all in exultation,
exuberance, externalization, you draw the power of fascination you
exercise a saving of means and a concentration of effects. This is
why your couple in «I love you Philipp MORRIS» must be
particularly appreciable.
Suffice to say you didn’t need your national dress, this kilt
your compatriots Sean CONNERY and Patrick DOYLE, for
seduce the character played by Jim CARREY in I love you Philipp
Born actor, you are also, you who, from the age of sixteen,
choose the scene. You soon engage in a series
mythical Lipstick on your collar. A whole program!
Then a decisive encounter, that of Danny BOYLE, who I say
for our compatriots, in order to dispel any doubt, is not the
cousin, even distant from Susan... With the creative complicity that you
will tie with this director, you will play very quickly the symbol of a
“New British Wave”: it’s first “Small Murders Between
friends” (“The Shallow Grave”) subtle blend of candor and
neo-hitchockian perversity – I’m sure the great "Hitch" could have
to make you one of his favorite actors -. Then there was, everyone
remembers, «Trainspotting» harder, more «trash» too, but nevertheless
selected at Cannes by Gilles JACOB. Finally, there was «Un vie moins
(“A Life Less Ordinary”), the final component of one of these
trilogies in which you like to deploy your talent over the long term
an emotion all the more intense as it seems to be retained: there will be
soon another interstellar one, needless to mention it…
And then you’re also from the party, or the score, in The
virtuosos” by Mark HERMAN, an unforgettable metaphor
a film that the French loved, and which was crowned by a
César for best foreign film in 1997 and grand prize of the film festival of
Paris, both the French public «loves you», dear Ewan McGREGOR.
You then promote your presence in calligraphic journeys
and Shakespearean «Pillow Book» of this remarkable aesthete that is
Peter GREENAWAY, a film of striking beauty that has already become
a classic.
But one of the greatest moments of your career is taking up the challenge
to appear in three episodes of the saga of Georges LUCAS as the
young OBI WAN KENOBI, that is to say for you the prestigious challenge of
go back in time to embody the traits of the late Alec GUINESS
young... Beautiful filiation that places you on the pedestal of the Old tradition
Vic Theatre! That means that George LUCAS spotted in you no
only a young first intergalactic, but also an anticipation
the figure of the wise and the depth I spoke of earlier.
In these three episodes you also know an amazing
physical metamorphosis, but you still play the so-called,
in French, the “force tranquille”… It’s a private joke, I tell you
will explain…
That means your face-to-face love with Steven RUSSELL aka Jim
CARREY is a prospect all the more exciting as you
Each play two faces of the actor’s art.
You’re not just a spaceship operator and a
explorer of stellar spaces, an adventurer of the imagination, I learned
indeed you have a great passion for the bike that led you
in personal road movies as far as Siberia and Africa
South. But it’s my turn to play the wise old man, and say:
Beware of two wheels, they are dangerous! I am talking about
This arm was not severed by a lightsaber, believe me…
And think we have a mad desire to see you again
long on the screen, represent so well a part of the soul of cinema
European, its British elegance. I would hope, moreover, that
especially your experience in Moulin rouge, language cinema
French will soon also attract you…
Dear Ewan McGREGOR, on behalf of the French Republic,
Let’s present the knight’s insignia in the Order of Arts and Letters.