MAN IN THE MIRROR
Jim Carrey likes to stir the pot. That’s why he was such an inspired choice to depict the deeply subversive and boundary-pushing comic Andy Kaufman in the biopic Man on the Moon back in 1999. Now Carrey is back with a documentary about that project and its effect on him.
The full title of the film is quite the mouthful:
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton
CTV has an interesting interview:
Jim Carrey, the comic actor who was one of 1990s Hollywood’s biggest stars, doesn’t exist. So says the Jim Carrey who came to the Venice Film Festival this week with “Jim and Andy,” a documentary about his experience playing comedian Andy Kaufman in the 1999 biopic “Man on the Moon.” He said the mega-successful entertainer Jim Carrey is “a character that has been playing me my whole life.”
It’s a comment in keeping with the subversive spirit of “Jim and Andy,” which draws on dozens of hours of behind-the-scenes footage shot during the making of “Man on the Moon.” Carrey stayed in character as Kaufman throughout, an experience he conceded “was psychotic at times.”
“I don’t feel like I made the film at all,” Carrey said Tuesday in Venice. “I feel like Andy made the film.” The documentary mixes the previously unseen backstage footage with a recent interview in which Carrey muses on the experience, his career and the nature of identity. The result is a fascinating reflection on identity, celebrity and creativity — even for viewers unfamiliar with Kaufman’s work.
To which we can only say:
Perhaps most famous as Latka Gravas on the sitcom “Taxi,” Kaufman was a provocateur who brought an anarchic spirit to the comedy scene with boundary-pushing routines including deliberately feeble impersonations, hoaxes and wrestling bouts against female opponents. He died of lung cancer in 1984, aged 35.
When he made “Man on the Moon,” Carrey was a huge star, commanding millions for comedies including “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Mask” and “Dumb and Dumber.” But, as he discloses in the documentary, he still felt empty. He said playing Kaufman was “an extreme version of allowing yourself to let go of self.” “You subjugate yourself to another character, and in doing so by the end of it realize — when it takes a month to get yourself back, what the hell is that self to begin with?”
AND NOW, A FINAL WORD