‘Moon’ landing

Benefit preem of Kaufman biopic raises $135K

Maybe it’s perfectly fitting in a business that frequently defies explanation, but the last major premiere of the millennium was for a biopic centered on a personality none of the filmmakers could explain.

At the party after Monday’s preem of the Andy Kaufman story, “Man on the Moon,” director Milos Forman said: “What is Andy Kaufman about? I don’t know. His family, his girlfriends, I ask them, — ‘Who was the real Andy?’ And always there was the same answer: ‘There was no real Andy.’ ”

As the very real party in the Palladium’s ballroom swirled around him, Forman shrugged and said: “It’s about all the ambiguities of life. What can I tell you?”

Star-producer Danny DeVito had pretty much the same answer: “What made Andy tick? I don’t know. After five years of digging, the research and talking to everybody, I’m still not sure. And I worked with the guy on ‘Taxi.’ ”

Co-exec producer Bob Zmuda, who was Kaufman’s friend and self-described “Houdini’s assistant,” said: “Have you read my book? Once you read my book you get it.”

Since there wasn’t time at the party to read his book, Zmuda offered a simpler explanation: “Andy Kaufman is like the monolith in ‘2001.’ He just emanated these sounds. We don’t know why.”

Among those at Mann’s Chinese Theater to see the film were U’s Ron Meyer, Stacey Snider, Kevin Misher and Marc Shmuger; Jersey Films’ Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher; stars Jim Carrey with Renee Zellweger, DeVito with Rhea Perlman, Courtney Love and Vincent Schiavelli; plus guests Sheryl Crow, Rodney Dangerfield, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, Tom Shadyac and Don Was.

The benefit preem raised $135,000 for Comic Relief and Artists Rights Foundation.

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