Plot: The stories from the production of Man on the Moon, the Andy Kaufman biopic starring Jim Carrey, were numerous and well publicized, as Carrey dove into a deep method performance. The stories could only tell so much however, while Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond pulls back the curtain and reveals the entire process and the chaos it caused. Carrey had the entire shoot documented and while the footage was perhaps even better than the movie itself, Universal kept it under wraps for almost two decades, for fear of how Carrey would be perceived. But in this piece, some of that footage is finally unleashed and paired with insightful interviews with Carrey, who seems to provide an intimate, candid perspective on the experience. An in depth look at the creative process, Carrey’s career, and the Man on the Moon production, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond is a remarkable movie.
Entertainment Value: As I said above, stories of Jim Carrey’s method approach to playing Andy Kaufman were common when Man on the Moon was in the limelight, but all the public heard were vague details. The main theme seemed to be that Carrey was consumed by the role and refused to be known as himself, staying in character for the entire production. But some of the stories seemed like prime promotional tools, as if Carrey wanted to create some Kaufman style hijinks in an effort to get that rub and recreate some of the magic. As it turns out, the actual shoot was much more chaotic than it was made known, with Carrey so deep into his role as Kaufman that Andy’s real life family interacted with him in character. The connection Carrey feels to Kaufman is explored first hand in Jim & Andy, as Carrey walks us through his passion for the man’s work and lifestyle. It becomes clear that he was going to land this role and bring it to life like no one else could, regardless of the toll it would take on the production, those around him, and himself.
This piece centers on Carrey’s portrayal of Kaufman, but it is also about the creative process and what some performers have to endure to explore a certain side of themselves. Carrey discusses his own creative passions and how they developed and evolved, as well as what he feels like going through such a meteoric rise. I was kind of surprised to hear him offer such spiritual, even mystical perspectives on life and the creative process. He seems to be a big believer in visualization and his candid views on himself and life are quite interesting, I think. He talks about his life before stardom, his ascension to the Hollywood elite, and his current outlook on creative energies and life in general, as well as spending a lot of time on his role as Kaufman, of course. The piece also includes interviews with others close to Kaufman or involved with the shoot, while a wealth of behind the scenes footage is also offered up. To see such an open, unfiltered look at the creative process is insightful, especially to see how those around Carrey on the shoot handled his approach. If you’re interested in Kaufman, Carrey, how movies are made, or the creative process in general, Andy & Jim: The Great Beyond is one you will want to check out.