Whether or not they were in the middle of shooting a scene didn’t matter to Jim Carrey during the making of 1999’s “Man on the Moon” – he was going to act like Andy Kaufman no matter what. Luckily, even if the movie’s cameras weren’t rolling, a documentary crew on set captured Carrey’s method acting in what is now the new Netflix documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond.”
“Universal didn’t want the footage we took behind the scenes to surface so that people wouldn’t think I was an asshole,” Carrey explains in the first trailer for the film (above). “I was thinking, ‘How far should I take this? How far would Andy take it?’”
Carrey goes on to describe how significant Kaufman was in his own comedic career and persona. After learning he had landed the role portraying his idol, Jim recalls how quickly he became Andy.
“When I heard I had the part I was looking at the ocean and that’s the moment when Andy came back to make his movie,” Carrey says. “What happened after was out of my control.”
“Jim & Andy” reportedly uses more than 100 hours’ worth of behind-the-scenes footage, showing Jim demanding retakes, being dragged around set, and purposely crashing a car, all while staying in character.
“When the movie was over, I couldn’t remember who I was anymore,” Carrey admits. “So you step through the door not knowing what’s on the other side. And what’s on the other side is everything.”
The long-awaited documentary is directed by Chris Smith and produced by Spike Jonze. Also seen throughout the film are Jim’s “Man on the Moon” co-stars Danny DeVito and Paul Giamatti as well as director Miloš Forman who in one scene struggles to calm Carrey-as-Kaufman down while on the movie’s set.
In June, Jim Carrey called into the Stern and talked to Howard about one of his other comedy influences - the late, great Sam Kinison. "I literally was dumbfounded," Jim said of the first time he saw Sam's stand-up act. "Just tears pouring down my face, out of control, laughing like a hysterical lunatic and he came off stage and I just said, 'You're it, man.'"
Hear audio of Jim remembering his friendship with Kinison (below) and for more from that interview click here.
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” debuts Nov. 17 on Netflix.