How Jim Carrey Totally Lost Himself While Playing Andy Kaufman

Man on the Moon Jim Carrey singing Mighty Mouse as Kaufman

In the heat of his acting career's stride, Jim Carrey made a film that some would consider to be his best performance yet: the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. Part of the film's notoriety and its success came from the fact that Carrey really sank into the role of the late comedian, with reports surrounding the production commenting on how method the actor had gone to carry out his duties. While those stories faded in time, they've gained a new relevance, as a documentary is about to show, in the thoughts of the actor himself, how Andy Kaufman completely took over Jim Carrey for the film's production, to the point that it even played into one of his then-future projects.

In the rather largely titled Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond -- The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton, some behind-the-scenes footage from the production of Man on the Moon will be shown to the public for the first time. The footage, as described, shows the throes of Carrey's transformation into the Taxi star, and as the actor described at the Venice Film Festival:

It was psychotic at times. Jim Carrey didn't exist at that time. Andy actually affected The Grinch as well.

That last bit, believe it or not, is probably the most extreme part of Jim Carrey's method acting for Man on the Moon. As it turns out, the stories of Carrey not breaking character off camera were true, as the actor took a two hour phone call as Andy Kaufman himself. If you didn't think that was bad enough, that phone call was with the director of another project he was doing at the time. The lucky recipient of that phone call was Ron Howard, who received notes from Kaufman about how Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas should be developing.

It's no secret that Jim Carrey has had a bit of a history when it comes to being a method actor, but Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond is the greatest testament to how much he disappeared into the role. And naturally, Carrey has only Andy Kaufman himself to thank, and he did just that when giving THR the following statement:

The true author of the project is Andy and his genius, the fact that he committed so completely to what he did, really made that possible and made it essential for me to lose myself. I don't feel like I made the film at all. I feel like Andy made the film.

Love him or hate him, Jim Carrey is a dedicated actor who can really lose himself in the right role. It's been a while since we've seen him do just that, but between this new documentary, as well as Carrey's role in this year's The Bad Batch, we just might see him emerge in a time where he could be used to his fullest potential. You can rent The Bad Batch through various platforms now, with Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond -- The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton just premiering at the Venice Film Festival.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.