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Where does Jim Carrey begin and Andy Kaufman end? That was the question many asked after watching the excellent biopic Man on the Moon. That question, though, was also asked behind the scenes, as director Chris Smith’s new documentary gives us a fascinating deep dive into Carrey’s time spent portraying the famed and complicated comedian.
The actor earned critical acclaim and a Golden Globe for his performance, but many of the production’s most Kaufmanesque moments were captured off-camera by Andy’s former girlfriend, Lynne Margulies and former writing partner, Bob Zmuda. Using approximately 100 hours of video shot on the set of Man on the Moon over four months, Jim & Andy sees Carrey look 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 the spiritual journey of his career.
The documentary was snapped up by Netflix at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this autumn and will premiere worldwide on 17th November.
Here’s a trailer:
Jim & Andy: Netflix acquires Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey doc
Netflix has acquired the worldwide rights to Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton.
Chris Smith’s film is a deep dive into actor Jim Carrey’s time spent portraying famed and complicated comedian Andy Kaufman. Using approximately 100 hours of footage shot on the set of Man on the Moon capturing Carrey’s transformation into Kaufman for four months, the film is described by the streaming giant as a “oddly unique experience and emotional journey”.
In 1999, Milos Forman cast Jim Carrey to play cult comedian Andy Kaufman in his biopic Man on the Moon. What followed was an intensely bizarre and emotional film production. Surrounded by Kaufman’s friends and family on set, Carrey thoroughly “became” Andy and, alternately, Tony Clifton, Kaufman’s obnoxious lounge singer alter ego. Much like Kaufman’s comedy, Carrey’s acting took on a performance art quality during the film. He never broke character on set, the cast and the crew referred to him as either ‘Andy’ or ‘Tony’ depending on who he was embodying (he had created complete and separate identities for each).
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. Captured on video by Andy’s former girlfriend, Lynne Margulies and former writing partner, Bob Zmuda, Jim & Andy sees Carrey look 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.
“For almost two decades this brilliant performance from Jim Carrey has resonated with audiences and fans of Kaufman’s, but the story behind the film – a true piece of entertainment history has remained largely unknown,” says Lisa Nishimura, VP of Original Documentaries for Netflix. “Chris Smith and Spike Jonze have masterfully unearthed and explored Jim’s complex and artful creative process, hurling audiences right into the mind of a genius.”
The VICE Documentary Films production premiered at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, before getting snapped up by Netflix at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is produced by Spike Jonze and VICE Films’ Danny Gabai and Brendan Fitzgerald.
“VICE is always focused on telling stories you can’t see anywhere else, and Chris’ film is an incredibly humanistic deep-dive into the mind of a brilliant artist. Chris, Spike and Jim have made a film that makes us question what we really want in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited that Netflix is bringing it to the world,” says Danny Gabai, Executive Creative Director, VICE.
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