14 Things You Probably Never Knew About The Festive Classic The Grinch

We know how Jim Carrey’s character stole Christmas – but did you know the actor underwent torture training to prepare for the role?
Jim Carrey in The Grinch
Jim Carrey in The Grinch

In the last two decades, 2000’s big screen adaptation of The Grinch has become an undeniable festive classic.

A surefire annual rewatch once cosy season rolls around, the live-action film depicts just how the frosty green heart of Jim Carrey’s character is thawed by the inhabitants of Whoville.

As familiar as you are with the tale, though, you might not know these behind the scenes facts about The Grinch, The Whos and even Mount Crumpit.

Here are 14 behind-the-scenes facts about The Grinch…

1. Jim Carrey underwent torture endurance training to help him tolerate the Grinch prosthetics

According to an interview on Graham Norton’s BBC talk show, the actor was trained by the actual CIA to help him endure the hefty costume required to transform him into the green meanie.

In 2022, the Canadian star said filming The Grinch was like “being buried alive every day” due to the heavy prostheses, and he could often be found smoking in full costume (complete with an oversized cigarette-holder to avoid anything going up in flames) to help him through the process.

2. Director Ron Howard became The Grinch on set for a day

Jim Carrey and Ron Howard on set
Jim Carrey and Ron Howard on set
Melinda Sue Gordon/Imagine Ent/Kobal/Shutterstock

So intense was the costume, that director Ron Howard finally decided to give it a whirl to see what all the fuss was about – and he also directed the production decked out in it for a day.

“It must’ve been very confusing for everyone else,” he said.

3. The Grinch is actually an Oscar-winning film

When you think “Grinch”, you don’t necessarily think: Academy Awards – but you should.

The film won an Oscar in 2001 for best makeup and hairstyling, which actually makes sense when you consider what Jim Carrey was put through on set.

4. The film almost featured a cameo from another Dr Seuss creation – The Cat In The Hat

The author’s widow, Audrey Geisel, actually put a stop to an Easter egg referencing another one of his creations, the sartorially advanced feline.

She spoke to Newsweek, and revealed that the Grinch nearly had a stuffed version of the Cat In The Hat on his wall – but she vetoed it.

The Cat In The Hat was later adapted in a similar style to The Grinch starring Mike Myers in the title role, although it was far less well-received.

Mike Myers as The Cat In The Hat
Mike Myers as The Cat In The Hat

5. Bryce Dallas Howard appears in the film

Bryce Dallas Howard is credited as Surprised Who – and when you realise her dad was the film’s director, it makes sense for the then-19-year-old to have a cheeky cameo.

Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard
Rodin Eckenroth/GA via Getty Images

6. Eddie Murphy auditioned for the role of The Grinch

Though the role went to Jim Carrey, multiple other actors auditioned, including Jack Nicholson.

7. Welcome Christmas was written to mimic Latin

The song Welcome Christmas was written in gibberish, but it was made to mimic the sounds of the ancient roman language Latin. Producers did this so well, in fact, that some fans asked for translations of the jingle.

8. The Who actors were sent to Who-School

That’s right; every day was literally a school day on set of The Grinch.

The extras brought into the production to fill out the town of Whoville had to attend a specific Who-School to get all their mannerisms right.

9. Jim improvised some of the film’s most iconic lines

One such iconic line – “6:30pm – dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again” – was not actually written in the script, and was down to the actor’s improv skills.

10. The movie was filmed behind the iconic Bates Motel

Whoville shared its filming location with the Bates Motel from Psycho. Jim Carrey apparently once got so into the spirit of Hitchcock that he ran out in full costume to scare tourists.

The iconic Bates Motel
The iconic Bates Motel

11. Multiple extras were hired from Cirque du Soleil

In one of the more random behind-the-scenes facts, the film’ stunt coordinator brought in acrobats and gymnasts to be Whos, because “their “enthusiasm was so great and they were always willing to try something new”.

12. Jim Carrey took method acting a bit too far – and wasn’t exactly a delight on set

Jim Carrey's tricky costume left him in something of a Grinch-y mindset
Jim Carrey's tricky costume left him in something of a Grinch-y mindset

Makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji shared his experiences from life on set during an interview with Vulture, claiming that Jim was “mean to everybody”.

Eventually, it was suggested by producers that Kazuhiro take a break so Jim could understand how valuable he was to the production – which apparently worked.

13. The film was released under a different name in the US

The original Grinch story was far more popular in the States, where the film was released under its full title How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It was apparently also referred to sometimes as Grinch 2000.

14. And yes... Cindy Lou Who did, indeed, grow up to be a rock singer

Jim Carrey with a young Taylor Momsen in The Grinch
Jim Carrey with a young Taylor Momsen in The Grinch
Ron Batzdorff/Universal/THA/Shutterstock

Just in case you weren’t aware, the character was played by Taylor Momsen, who would grow up to appear in Gossip Girl and serve as frontwoman of the rock group The Pretty Reckless.


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