The Number 23 (2007)

The Number 23 (2007)

Tagline: The truth will find you.

The psychological thriller “The Number 23” stars Jim Carrey as a man whose life unravels after he comes into contact with an obscure book titled The Number 23. As he reads the book, he becomes increasingly convinced that it is based on his own life. His obsession with the number 23 starts to consume him, and he begins to realize the book forecasts far graver consequences for his life than he could have ever imagined.

Spiraling into a dark obsession with the number 23, Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) twists his once idyllic life into an inferno of psychological torture that could possibly lead to his death as well as the deaths of his loved ones. Spurred on by a mysterious novel, The Number 23, that he doesn’t dare put down, Walter is forced to unlock the secrets of his past before he can continue his future with his wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen), and teenage son, Robin (Logan Lerman).

The novel, given to Walter by Agatha as a birthday gift, depicts a chilling murder mystery that seems to mirror Walter’s life in dark and uncontrollable ways. The life of the book’s main character, a brooding detective named Fingerling (also played by Carrey), is filled with moments that echo Walter’s own history. As the world of the book starts to come alive, Walter becomes infected by the most frightening and evocative part of it: Fingerling’s obsession with the hidden power of the number 23.

The Number 23 (2007)

This obsession permeates the book and begins to control Walter. He sees the number everywhere in his own life and becomes convinced that he is damned to commit the same horrific crime as Fingerling – murder. Nightmarish fantasies come to haunt Walter, ones that portend terrible fates for his wife as well as family friend Isaac French (Danny Huston), placing him on a desperate quest to understand the mysteries of the book. If he can unlock the power behind the number 23, he may be able to change his future.

The Number 23 is a 2007 American psychological thriller film written by Fernley Phillips and directed by Joel Schumacher. Jim Carrey stars as a man who becomes obsessed with the 23 enigma once he reads about it in a strange book that seemingly mirrors his own life. The film was released in the United States on February 23, 2007. This is the second film to pair Schumacher and Carrey, the first being Batman Forever. The film grossed $77.6 million and has an approval rating of 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance in the film, but he lost to Eddie Murphy for Norbit.

About The Production

British screenwriter Fernley Phillips was first turned on to the number 23 enigma by a friend. And much like Walter Sparrow, the lead character in The Number 23, Phillips was quickly drawn in to the mystery of the number and its meaning. Phillips devoured the vast literature and subculture surrounding the number and found himself inspired to use the enigma as the chilling backbone for a unique film. “My friend mentioned the number 23 enigma, which led me to read authors such as futurist Robert Anton Wilson, who wrote things like The Illuminatus Trilogy,” recalls Phillips, who earned his first screenplay sale with The Number 23. “I began to open up to the numerical phenomena, as well as memory repression, hypnosis and the power of suggestion. I decided to incorporate all these subjects into a story.”

Phillips’ first instinct was to incorporate these ideas and the number 23 into a political thriller. “But I am not by nature political. I enjoy real events, real people,” he says. “I came up with an idea that concerns a man who reads a book that mirrors his life and reminds him of distant images and events. I needed a title for that book, and decided to bring the ‘number 23’ into the story.”

The Number 23 (2007)

Producers Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson, partners in Contrafilm, were impressed with Phillips’ script and brought it to New Line Cinema. “This being Fernley’s first script, it was immediately apparent to us that his was an original voice that treads new territory, a unique vision,” says Beau Flynn. “His originality, spirit and vigor permeated the script and never allowed this project to languish during its journey to production.”

“Joel Schumacher was our only choice for this material,” says Flynn. “Long before I worked with him on Tigerland, I had admired his mix of stylish vision, flair for the darker side and unparalleled rapport with actors.”

The producers’ instincts proved correct as Schumacher instantly took to the material. “I loved the script immediately and thought it was totally original and very unique,” says Schumacher. “It intrigued me because I’m always looking for something that everybody isn’t making and this was so original and very challenging. I didn’t know anything about the 23 phenomenon at the time, so I Googled it and saw that there was endless insanity about the number 23. There’s even a web site where people have been photographing 23’s where they see them all over the world.”

But it wasn’t just the unique spin on numerology that intrigued Schumacher. What he saw in Phillips’ script was a rare piece of material that could work on multiple levels. “Fernley didn’t start the 23 phenomenon, he just wove it into this very interesting thriller which I think is about much more than just a number,” says Shumacher. “It’s about how obsession can become very destructive. And I think most of us know that in our own life. I think everybody has obsessions.”

Continue Reading and View the Theatrical Trailer

The Number 23 Movie Poster (2007)

The Number 23 (2007)

Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston, Logan Lerman, Rhona Mitra, Maile Flanagan, Patricia Belcher, Lynn Collins, Mark Pellegrino, Tara Karsian
Screenplay by: Fernley Phillips
Production Design by: Andrew Laws
Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique
Film Editing by: Mark Stevens
Costume Design by: Daniel Orlandi
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.
Distributed by: New Line Cinema
Release Date: February 23, 2007