VENICE (Reuters) - Playing Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon was a chance for Jim Carrey to reflect on his own identity and the impact the late cult comedian had on him.
Carrey was at the Venice Film Festival on Tuesday to present Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - The Story Of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman with a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton.
Director Chris Smith uses hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes footage to show how Carrey immersed himself in the roles of Kaufman and Clifton, the character of an obnoxious lounge singer created by the US comedian.
The documentary, which is being screened in the out-of-competition section of the festival, contains footage interspersed with interviews with present-day Carrey, reflecting on what portraying Kaufman meant for him.
"We spend our lives running around looking for anchors," the 55-year-old actor said, referring to how people cling to nationalities and other labels to define themselves.
Carrey said his portrayal of private detective Ace Ventura (1994) was his own bid to "destroy Hollywood, not be a part of it ... to make fun of the leading man".
"Most of us are wearing (a mask) and when somebody's authentic, it becomes very difficult for everyone else to wear a mask," he noted.
Asked whether he would like to direct movies, Carrey said it would probably happen although for now he enjoyed "the freedom of being an artist within a project that can eccentrically explore every avenue of a character".