In 1999, the movie Man on the Moon came out and told the story of comic Andy Kaufman, being played by Jim Carrey. By all appearances, this was your standard biopic that we see all the time.
However, Jim Carrey had taken it to another level.
Famously reported during filming was the fact that Jim Carrey had completely encompassed the role of Andy Kaufman to an extent where he was actively, 24/7 being Andy Kaufman.
Jim Carrey took Method acting to a whole new level.
Now, 18 years later, a new documentary appeared on Netflix featuring behind the scenes footage shot for a documentary at the time showing just how lost Jim Carrey had become inside the role of Andy Kaufman… and the very special contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton, too. This footage is reportedly hidden away to protect Jim Carrey from himself.
These images of Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman were interspersed with a present day interview with a heavily bearded Jim Carrey, providing contradiction to the antics of the sprite that had apparently possessed the actor during the movie’s filming.
It was a tremendous documentary, with an almost unbelievable pretense. The shocked expressions of cast mates like Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch down to Andy Kaufman’s real family members told the story of how Jim Carrey was no longer there. He spoke in third person when referring to Jim Carrey. He spoke like Andy Kaufman (or Tony Clifton)
Jim Carrey with the beard kept saying that, at the time, he kept asking himself, “how far would Andy go?”
I felt bad for Jerry “The King” Lawler, who seemed to take his share of grief from “Andy” and he reacted,at times, like the professional wrestler that he is. Lawler spoke of how back when Kaufman and he were doing their wrestling shtick in Memphis how Andy would always be respectful behind the scenes and how they would plan out things together and that aspect seemed to have been pushed aside by Carrey for the sake of realism. In pro wrestling, it is called kayfabe and Jim Carrey was all about that.
The documentary is well put together and really has a great hook with the missing footage from behind the scenes. Just looking at the other cast members staring at Jim Carrey in disbelief is worth it, but we get more than just that. We have a look inside the mind of two of the most fascinating comedic actors/performers of recent memory.