Legendary actor and performance artist Andy Kaufman is getting a feature documentary recounting his life from Emmy nominee Alex Braverman, per The Hollywood Reporter. The film, which just entered production, also involves fellow documentarian Morgan Neville and his production company Tremolo Productions, the group behind some of the biggest documentaries and biopics in recent memory including the Mr. Rogers film Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Neville also directed the Anthony Bourdain feature Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.
Little is known about the film, but Kaufman‘s old creative partners Lynn Margulies Osgood and Bob Zmuda are involved in its inception. Both signed exclusive deals and will appear in the film, but Braverman also has Rick Rubin and Chuck Braverman on board to executive produce, the latter of whom worked on Kaufman‘s Carnegie Hall special in 1980. Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie‘s company Elara Productions is executive producing as well along with Wavelength‘s Jenifer Westphal. The film has also managed to secure a wealth of never before seen footage and audio, including striking some exclusive deals for Kaufman‘s earliest work.
Kaufman became a living legend through his appearances on Saturday Night Live and career-defining performance as the lovable immigrant mechanic Latka Gravas on the sitcom Taxi. His career was cut tragically short, however, as he passed away in 1984 due to cancer. He later became the subject of the famous biopic Man on the Moon where Jim Carrey channeled the late “anti-comedian” in a chilling performance that sparked a conversation on the merits and detriments of method acting. Beyond that, he was a truly avant-garde performer who had been performing since he was young and was known for playing bizarre personas like his famous Foreign Man and generally doing whatever he felt like on stage.
Braverman‘s lone Primetime Emmy nomination came through Elliot Page and Ian Daniel‘s Gaycation, the Viceland travel series which sees the duo explore LGBTQ+ culture across the world and chat with the locals about their personal experiences. The director also earned some recognition in the Daytime Emmys for The Mind of a Chef and Eat. Race. Win. which picked up nominations in 2018 and 2019 respectively. He’s stayed within the realm of culinary programming as of late, producing and directing episodes of Netflix‘s cooking show for kids Waffles + Mochi which hails from former President and First Lady Barack Obama and Michelle Obama‘s Higher Ground Productions.
The idea to create a film about Kaufman came entirely from Braverman‘s love of the late performer. “No matter how many times I watch Andy Kaufman’s work, I feel like I’m seeing a magic trick for the very first time,” he said in a statement. “I’m excited for our project to honor that. This is the film I’ve wanted to make my entire life.” Neville, meanwhile, is excited to get to work with the creative team assembled, saying “Alex is an exciting director who has a vital take on the story, the Safdie Brothers are true originals just like Kaufman himself, and Chuck Braverman and Wavelength are incredible collaborators and champions for this film’s unique vision.”
Braverman‘s Kaufman doc will be Wavelength and Tremolo‘s second collaboration with the first being Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Given the team of Kaufman fans, talented creatives, and former partners assembled, this is a project to keep an eye on going forward.