Jersey Films and two-time Academy Award-winning director Milos Forman team up with the Golden Globe winning screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski to bring a distinctive vision to Man on the Moon, starring Jim Carrey as the late Andy Kaufman, who was considered one of the most innovative, eccentric and enigmatic performers of his time.
A master at manipulating audiences, Kaufman could generate belly laughs, stony silence, tears or brawls. Whether inviting the audience out for milk and cookies or challenging women to inter-gender wrestling matches, he specialized in creating performances so real that even his close friends were never sure where the truth lay.
Although described variously as “a nihilistic elf, a Zen guerrilla, a dadaistic comedian and the first true performance artist,” Kaufman always preferred to think of himself as simply “a song and dance man.” –Official site
Forman grew up in a small town near Prague. Orphaned when his parents, a Jewish professor and a Protestant housewife, died in Nazi concentration camps, he was reared by two uncles and family friends. In the mid-1950s Forman studied at the film school of the University of Prague. Upon graduating he wrote two screenplays, the first of which, Nechte to na mn (“Leave It to Me”), was filmed in 1955 by noted Czech director Martin Fri. Forman in 1957 was himself an assistant director on the second of these screenplays, a situation comedy entitled Stenata (“The Puppies”).
Throughout the late 1950s and early ‘60s Forman acted as either writer or assistant director on other films. He directed his first major productions in 1963: Cerný Petr (Black Peter) and Konkurs (Talent Competition). These films had great success both domestically and on the international festival circuit, and Forman was hailed as a major talent of the Czech New Wave. His early films… read more
As much as Jim Carey masterfully embodies Andy Kaufman before our very eyes, the film itself has become somewhat of an embodiment of the man, as well: controversial, misunderstood, but endearing. The film ranks up there with Milos Foreman's other great works, and this is certainly one of Jim Carey's finest performances.
It's well made, even somewhat endearing, but it doesn't really 'get' Kaufman. It's too conventional, too generic, too safe. It doesn't fuck with the establishment the way Kaufman did. It just presents him as a kind of loveable rascal who got off on tormenting people. But the real Kaufman was a satirist. He engineered social situations that invited those around him to show off their worst attributes, regardless of whether or not these participants were even aware (for example, the Jerry Lawler incident, or the infamous Friday's sketch). It was life as performance; a living theatre! For me, Edward Norton should have played Kaufman. He had the right physicality, but also that contradictory mix of sarcasm, naivety and restless intelligence. And it should have been directed by Joe Dante; an expert at the kind of fourth-wall breaking, anarchic, pop-art 'misdirection' that Kaufman excelled at.