Who doesn’t love a good Method acting story? Every year we’re inundated with them, from the Oscar-winning Leonardo DiCaprio eating bison liver and generally being miserable for The Revenant to Daniel Day-Lewis leaving his wife for The Ballad of Jack and Rose
to Jared Leto being totally edgy and sending his costars sex toys ahead of Suicide Squad. However, one of the most noteworthy Method acting performances of all time still belongs to Jim Carrey.
Carrey infamously portrayed his comedic idol, Andy Kaufman, in the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon. The making of the movie is Hollywood legend: Carrey never broke character, referred to himself as Andy for the whole shoot, and nearly derailed production with self-described “psychotic” behavior. Though Carrey’s antics have been talked about at length, footage of them had never been seen before: Universal Pictures blocked any of it from being released, as Carrey posits, because he was being an “asshole.” That all changes, though, with the release of Netflix’s new documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (full title, I kid you not, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond—Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton), which dropped its first trailer Thursday.
Juxtaposing behind-the-scenes video with Carrey reflecting on his on-set antics—“I was thinking, ‘How far should I take this? How far would Andy take it?’” he says—the trailer gives a brief taste of what Carrey was like during production, thanks to recordings from Kaufman’s former girlfriend Lynne Margulies and writing partner Bob Zmuda. In short: He was a bit extra.
But maybe that’s what made Man on the Moon work; perhaps it was the only way to embody the spirit of Kaufman’s provocative and unpredictable comedic style. In any case, Jim & Andy is a rare, absorbing window into Carrey’s psyche, which is still just as fascinating in 2017 as it was in 1999—I’m sure by now you’ve seen his nihilistic red-carpet interview from last month’s New York Fashion Week.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond comes to Netflix on November 17.