Jim Carrey famously threw himself into his performance as Andy Kaufman when he was filming the Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. However, the behind the scenes footage of Carrey’s method acting has remained under wraps until now. Netflix has released a trailer for Chris Smith’s documentary, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, and it shows the volatile mixture of Carrey’s devotion to portraying Kaufman and Kaufman’s need to constantly perform.
On the one hand, the documentary looks like it could be an interesting examination of comedians who always need to be “on” and the limits of method acting. On the other hand, I fear the documentary could miss the point completely and see Carrey’s obnoxiousness as misunderstood brilliance. Going “method” is seen as a badge of honor, but it doesn’t necessarily get the best performance, and in some ways becomes a way to stroke an actor’s (and it’s always an actor; you never hear about actresses going method because they don’t get that luxury) ego than what ultimately benefits the production. Additionally, we have the benefit of hindsight, and while Carrey is very good in Man on the Moon, it’s not his best performance. That honor still belongs to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is raw, immediate, and didn’t require Carrey to put on a persona.
Check out the Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond trailer below. The documentary hits Netflix on November 17th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond:
Director Chris Smith’s fascinating 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 documenting Carrey’s transformation into Kaufman for four months.
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.