Trivia / Man on the Moon

  • Dyeing for Your Art: Jim Carrey had his head shaved and lost weight to more accurately portray Kaufman dying of cancer.
  • Executive Meddling
    • Universal was adamant the film come in under two hours, so several scenes were dropped or shortened. This resulted in several missing trailer scenes (see below).
    • Universal also got cold feet when they saw the behind the scenes footage of Carrey and refused to let it surface for nearly twenty years out of fear that they'd be sued for allowing him to "create a stressful work environment."
  • Fake Nationality: The Canadian Jim Carrey as the Jewish-American Andy Kaufman.
  • Method Acting: As detailed in the 2017 Netflix special, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, Jim Carrey's performance as Andy Kaufman (and, by extension, Tony Clifton) was less of a performance and more an out-of-body experience. During production, he absolutely refused to break character or respond to his real name, occasionally bad mouthing "Jim Carrey" to keep up the illusion. Among other antics, he visited Kaufman's surviving family, who spoke to him as if he was their deceased son, made a makeup artist cry by arguing with Gerry Becker (who played Kaufman's father) about not supporting him and sent Bob Zumunda dressed as Tony Clifton to the Playboy Mansion when "Jim Carrey" was invited, then showed up an hour later as Andy just to screw with people. He also seriously pissed off Jerry Lawler by getting too into the role of Kay Fabe, perpetually mocking him and even spitting on him as Kaufman did in 1982 until Lawler punched him, sending him to the hospital with a hairline fracture in his neck. Later, Carrey had to audition for How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as Andy Kaufman playing Jim Carrey playing The Grinch.
  • Lost in Character: As mentioned above, Jim Carrey basically disappeared for a year and Andy Kaufman took his place. When it was over, Carrey didn't even remember most of what he did in the movie and was so exhausted that he has to decline appearing as Andy in R.E.M.'s tie-in video for "The Great Beyond."
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The DVD release includes several deleted scenes, two of which turned up in the trailers.
    • After Jerry Lawler's match with Andy ends with Andy being carted away on a stretcher in a neckbrace, he comes to backstage with a smile — to the shock and anger of his parents, who thought he was actually hurt. Andy assures them that nothing he does in public should be seen as real. While keeping this scene in would have better set up how the family reacts to his cancer diagnosis in the third act, the filmmakers wanted to hold off on The Reveal that the Kaufman-Lawler feud was Kayfabe all along, so it was cut.
    • As Kaufman's star descends, he performs his classic "Foreign Man" set at a comedy club to the audience's pleasure — but Zmuda's in the crowd heckling him and making fun of his desperation to please audiences again, leading to Kaufman running him out of the room. (This is an adaptation of a set Kaufman and Zmuda performed at the Catch a Rising Star club's 20th anniversary show.) Again, this is all staged, and Shapiro is frustrated that Kaufman won't stop antagonizing his audience. This was cut because the similar "celebrity cyst" bit did a better job setting up Act Three.
  • Playing Against Type
  • What Could Have Been
    • The choice of who would play Andy came down to Jim Carrey or Edward Norton (Nicolas Cage, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, and John Cusack were also considered); Universal higher-ups got the final say when the filmmakers couldn't choose, and went for the bigger box-office draw. In the end, it didn't help the film at the box office.
    • The published screenplay was one of the earlier drafts and included many scenes/sequences that never made it to the filming stage. Most extensively, the Fridays "fight" and its aftermath would have been covered in full with Andy's two subsequent appearances on the show (and brief faux-conversion to born-again Christianity in the process). Fellow comedian (and lover, for a time) Elayne Boosler was a minor character in early drafts, but specifically asked not to be mentioned/depicted in the film.
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