It’s easy to see why Universal didn’t want this footage to surface.
When a celebrity passes away, you often hear their family, friends, and fans make the same statement: There will never be another so and so. I’m not sure whether the phrase was ever more on the nose than when used to describe Andy Kaufman. In the 30 years since the gonzo comedian has been gone, no other celebrity has stepped up to fill the void he left behind in popular culture.
When One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest director Milos Forman decided to make the 1999 Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon, Jim Carrey seemed like the perfect fit for the lead role. Carrey was riding high off the success of his comedic performances in The Mask, the Ace Ventura movies, and Batman Forever, and transitioning to the dramatic actor phase of his career. Man on the Moon did help Carrey redefine his career but there was plenty of controversy surrounding his manic performance. For years, tales of Carrey’s on-set behavior made their way through Hollywood and now director Chris Smith’s Netflix documentary, — take a deep breath — Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton, will shed light on the infamous production. Take a look.
What’s most interesting about this biopic is watching Carrey’s single-minded commitment to his performance. Carrey took a page from the professional athletes’ handbook; Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are notorious for how insufferable they become when they’re “in the zone.” Carrey behaved like an asshole at the exact point of his career where he could get away with maintaining apex-level asshole status. Had Carrey behaved in such a way on the set of Ace Ventura or Doing Time on Maple Drive his career would have been stopped dead in its tracks. It’s a blessing that cameras were there to capture the production’s onset shenanigans and that Smith is digging up the material for the world to see.
So far, I’ve heard nothing but praise about Jim & Andy and based on the trailer, I can see why. This film offers a rare peek into the creative process of a comedic genius — I’m praying that 20-years from now somebody will make one of these films about Daniel Day-Lewis. I’m marking Jim & Andy’s November 17th release date on by overloaded must-watch list.
Here’s Netflix’s official synopsis:
Jim Carrey earned critical acclaim and a Golden Globe for the performance, but many of the production’s most Kaufmanesque moments played out behind the scenes, thankfully captured on video by Andy’s former girlfriend, Lynne Margulies and former writing partner, Bob Zmuda. In Jim & Andy, Carrey looks back at the resulting footage 18 years later, reflecting on how he and Andy came up in oddly parallel universes, his experience channelling Andy and Tony and more broadly the spiritual journey of his career.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton makes its debut on November 17th, 2017.