Entertainment

New Netflix Doc Reveals Jim Carrey Refusing to Break Character in Andy Kaufman Movie

In 1999, Jim Carrey starred in Man on the Moon, an ambitious and expensive biopic about his comedy hero Andy Kauffman. Fresh off the success of both the goofy blockbuster Liar Liar and the clever fable The Truman Show, the movie was positioned in the press as a showcase for the rubber-faced star's serious acting chops. The presumption was mostly correct; Carrey's performance as the famously boundary-pushing anti-comedy innovator earned him his second Golden Globe Award. What was less clear at the time: Exactly how deep Carrey dove into the role.

Now, thanks to the upcoming Netflix documentary Jim & Andy, we'll get a closer look at the behind the scenes shenanigans -- and the strange blurring of fact and fiction -- that went into making the movie. Combining new interviews with a beard-sporting Carrey and previously unreleased archive footage from the film's shoot, the Spike Jonze-produced doc looks like a fascinating companion piece to director Miloš Forman's original movie. Judging from the trailer, Carrey didn't just try to "act" like Andy Kaufman. He tried to become him, staging elaborate Kaufman-like pranks and refusing to break character when the cameras weren't rolling. It's method acting gone haywire.

The tone of the trailer makes the film look pretty serious, but there's also a mischievous quality that should intrigue fans of mind-bending docs like F is for Fake, Catfish and Exit Through the Giftshop.  "How far should I take this?" Carrey asks at one point. Then he rephrases the question: "How far would Andy take it?"

There's definitely a sense that the documentary could be yet another part of the performance, a mix of the real, fake, and absurd that turned Kaufman into such a beloved cult figure.

You'll be able to judge for yourself how "real" the whole thing is when it hits Netflix on November 17.

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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.