First Poster for Netflix's Documentary 'Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond' - The Story of Jim Carrey's Transformation Into Andy Kaufman for 'Man On The Moon'

Back in 1999, Jim Carrey was chosen to play Andy Kaufman in the major Hollywood biopic, "Man on the Moon." I remember looking forward to his Kaufman portrayal, especially given the fact that a year prior to that he was the lead actor in the best movie of 1998 "The Truman Show." He showed he had the chops to carry a full-on drama with the kind of grace and brilliance not many actors in the industry could pull off. Not only was he a brilliant comedian, but now he was a brilliant actor. Playing Kaufman might have felt like a stretch for the actor, after all, Kaufman was an unpredictable eccentric weirdo that could not really be analyzed or assessed by any means due to his outrageously unpredictable behavior. We all know how great the film and performance were, Carrey’s extraordinary performance in “Man on the Moon” was a triumph, not only did he nail every detailed nuance of Kaufman’s persona, he actually brought vulnerability and hurt to the role, something we couldn't possibly imagine Kaufman having, which he, of course, had.

I was aware that to create this on-screen performance Carrey went the method acting route and stayed in-character throughout the shoot of "Man on the Moon," but I never imagined it done to the maddeningly drastic extent that is shown in Chris Smith’s fascinating documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton.” Carrey's on-set hijinks pissed more than a few people off on-set, including director Milos Forman and, thankfully for us, the actor had his own documentary crew filming his every move back in 1999. Watching the footage today makes you appreciate, even more, the channeling of Andy Kaufman that Carrey bestowed upon us, it also, more intriguingly, makes us learn more about the actor's existential demons at the time. The role was a kind of catharsis for him, as he was going through an identity crisis that seemed very similar to Kaufman's. In 1999, Carrey was the $20 million dollar man, audience expectations were through the roof. 

“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond” is built around 20 hours of camcorder footage of Carrey on the “Man on the Moon” set and thank God it was placed in the vault by Universal Pictures for the fact that this extraordinary document exists because of their value to treasure any sort of archival footage. It's best not to know too much about "Jim and Andy," so just watch it, especially if you're a fan of, not just cinematic history, but the ordeals that come in finding yourself throught extreme measures. Later in the ensuing decade, Carrey would do his now infamous disappearance act, completely leaving the public spotlight and concentrating on his own well-being and happiness. This film reminds us of how lucky we were to have such a boldly original talent working within the studio system.

You can look for it on Netflix November 17th.