When Jim Carrey portrayed Andy Kaufman for the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon, he allowed himself to be swept up in the role, acting like the difficult comedian on set and off. He ultimately won a Golden Globe for the performance, but despite the success, the studio never released any making-of footage as DVD extras content. Now, nearly two decades later, a new documentary – Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – With a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton, which will premiere on Netflix on November 17th – will show how the film was made.
“Universal didn’t want the footage we took behind the scenes to surface so that people wouldn’t think I was an asshole,” Carrey says in the trailer for the film. The clip shows Carrey driving around the set with a paper bag on his head, arguing with director Milos Forman and generally misbehaving. Danny DeVito looks annoyed in several shots and even contends that Carrey behaved exactly like Kaufman.
Spike Jonze produced The Great Beyond, while documentary filmmaker Chris Smith (American Movie, The Yes Men) directed it. To make it, he went through approximately 100 hours of footage shot on set by Kaufman’s girlfriend, Lynne Margulies, and writing partner Bob Zmuda during the four-month making of the movie.
“I was thinking, ‘How far should I take this?'” the actor says. “How far would Andy take it?” When the movie was done, he said, he didn’t know who he was anymore.