Home / Latest News
Stumbled across this today via an old Huffington Post blog. It's a 2011 short story written and illustrated by Myron Kaufman, with an introduction from Charlie. Horse Scents "is the offbeat story of a man who falls in love with a horse."
The story starts like so:
“If homosexuals are allowed to marry, the next thing liberals will want is to marry horses.”
“That is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard,” I lied to my Aunt Lotte. She looked at me with a smirk, knowing, as I did, that she had me on the run. Maybe she was right.
But how would I know what “liberals” would want next. I think of myself as a liberal and some think of me as a horse’s ass, but do liberals, in general, have some secret connection to horses? I think, maybe some do. I’m afraid that this liberal may have an “unnatural” feeling towards horses—female horses, thank God. (Source)
And Charlie's intro starts like so:
When I was a little kid, I would watch my father playing with his toast crumbs on the breakfast table. He’d push the crumbs into interesting designs. My father was always artistic. He painted, he made sculptures from found objects, he fingered toast crumbs. I loved watching him do it: focused, creative, driven, even at breakfast.
A few years ago, I mentioned the toast crumb memory to him. I wanted to tell him how much his daily ritual had meant to me. He was quiet for a moment. It didn’t elicit the, “Oh, yeah! I forgot all about that! I used to love doing that!” I had expected. Instead, he finally said something like, “I was probably feeling trapped and trying to distract myself.” I was floored. I hadn’t gotten that at all from watching him. To me it was just another example of the wonderfulness of my dad, the most eccentric and educated father in our blue collar neighborhood, an example of his boundless creativity: toast crumb art. Suddenly it was something else entirely.
You can see a little more of Myron's work at the Offramp Gallery site.Add a comment
Before Charlie Kaufman was Charlie freaking Kaufman, he was writing for TV, and one of the shows he worked on was The Dana Carvey Show. Also in the writers' room were Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Louis C.K.
There's a new documentary on Hulu about the show--Too Funny To Fail--and while I doubt that Charlie makes an appearance (only his high school year book photo's in the trailer--same one that's on this website), it still might be worth watching. (I have no idea how long it'll be available. I got onto this late and have no clue about Hulu.)
A.V. Club has a good write up on the show and the doco.
Add a comment
How does a sketch show featuring some of comedy’s most brilliant minds become “one of the most spectacular failures in all of television history”? How does a series starring one of the most popular comedians on the planet alienate his fan base so swiftly and decisively that his career never fully recovers? And finally, is there some inversely proportional relationship between complete fiasco and eventual cult worship? These are some of the questions posed by the amusing, appropriately niche Hulu documentary Too Funny To Fail, although the more direct one is this: How did The Dana Carvey Show—arguably the most daring, prescient, talent-stacked sketch comedy to ever hit American network television—become such a massive flop? (Source)
Charlie's not involved in this, so don't get too excited, but Jim Carrey looks set to re-team with his Eternal Sunshine pal Michel Gondry for a Showtime series called Kidding.
Kidding stars Carrey as Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, an icon of children’s television, a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him – who also anchors a multimillion-dollar branding empire. But when this beloved personality’s family – wife, two sons, sister and father – begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale or fable or puppet will guide him through the crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: a kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. (Source)
The series' creator is Dave Holstein (Weeds, Raising Hope), and Jason Bateman is one of the executive producers. Showtime has given it a straight-to-series order and Gondry will direct all 10 episodes.
Thanks to Aman!Add a comment
I noticed last week, the page for Charlie's book on Hachette's website has disappeared. Other people have noticed, too, because I'm getting emails.
I don't know why the page has disappeared, but fear not! The October date that was originally there? Probably just a placeholder (Amazon sometimes does the same thing when a book's announced--they put up a release date of January 2032 or something ridiculous, and then tweak it when more info comes in), and now that October's around the corner and we've heard nothing about the book's title or cover, it's probably a case of:
- Charlie hasn't finished writing it. I could be wrong, but he's probably not under a tight deadline. (What publisher would put Charlie under a tight deadline? And would Charlie sign onto a tight deadline to write his first novel? Particularly when he's got other stuff going on?)
- Maybe he's finished it and now it's being edited and stuff? (The publishing process is long, man.) And/or they're jazzing up a new web page for the book?
- Charlie has been busy with other stuff. Which is sort of like #1, but this list needs to be longer than 2 possibilities.
- Charlie has abandoned it. (But I doubt it. I would put this low on the scale of possibilities.)
- Something else.
So, you know. Fear not. It's probably nothing.
Add a comment
Here's something I haven't seen reported anywhere else, so... consider this a BCK exclusive? Charlie has written an adaptation of Orion and the Dark, Emma Yarlett's 2014 children's picture book. The book's description on the author's site:
Orion is afraid of more or less EVERYTHING, but there is one thing that scares him more than anything else... Join Orion on an adventure as he faces his BIGGEST and finds out it's... friendly! (Source)
You can see illustrations from the book on that site. In print it's 40 pages, but the screenplay is 122, so we're talking about an adaptation that is both very loose and very expansive--Kaufman's Orion describes himself as having "a Cluster C disorder, which includes feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, extreme worry about negative evaluation." Which is not very kids'-picture-book-like. It's a Kaufmanesque script if ever there was one, with stories-inside-stories and characters travelling through dreams and things looping back on themselves and whatnot.
Presumably this is intended to be an animated feature, because it's crossed a desk or two at Dreamworks' animation division. The first draft is dated December 2016.
More than that I do not know.Add a comment
Quick re-cap: Charlie says "I'm not involved with that any more. I did the first draft." Film sites are still listing him as one of the movie's many writers.
Well, listen, man. I have super reliable confirmation from a source that Charlie is listed as the writer on the first draft's title page, in a later draft the title page reads "Original draft by Charlie Kaufman, Previous draft by Jamie Linden, Current draft by Patrick Ness," and that Ness' draft does not resemble Charlie's version at all. (Also, Ness was less than keen on making any changes to his own adaptation of his book A Monster Calls.)
So I'd say we're almost certainly not seeing any of Charlie's work once this one hits the screen, 2 years from now.Add a comment
This seems like a good enough reason to spend three hours on Facebook.
If watching movies on FB seems like a thing you would do if that movie were a Kaufman movie, head on over September 8 at 5:55 PM - 9 PM PDT.Add a comment
If you've ever wanted a pop-up replica of Michael Stone's hotel room from Anomalisa or Carter Burwell's score from the film on vinyl, Mondo and graphic designer Alan Hynes have just the thing for you. But it's limited to 1000 copies, and it went on sale today.
I felt the ubiquitous stand-up cutouts that are often used in pop-up record sleeves wouldn’t do the level of complexity and creativity present in the film proper justice so I began looking at making the actual vinyl record itself stand-up. Initially a major concern was warping of the records due to pressure from the folded pop-up parts when closed so I figured the solution was to have equal pressure points on both sides. This is where the idea to have symmetrical hotel room structures came from, with the “headboards” providing the support and a slot for the record to be inserted and stand straight up in the middle.
Much of the main character Michaels’ time is idly spent in hotel lobby bars as the sodden napkin design of the cover attests to. Opening the gatefold, the pop-up reveals identical hotel rooms differentiated only by the books on the bed. The banal and mundane nature of the rooms is contrasted by an expanse of sky above the beds which adds a surreal tone so often present in Kaufmans’ films. The sky also represents an escape from the confines below and the type of freedom that only dreams can provide. Despite the sombre mood of the film there are some genuinely funny moments and the awkward, fumbling key-card scene is one everybody can relate to. In the context of the record design, the key-card styled inner sleeve doubles as a room divider or barrier and is an apt metaphor for the potent themes of loneliness, solitude and isolation present in the story. (Source)
You can check out an unboxing video at IndieWire via the link above, and you can order a copy here.
Thanks to David!Add a comment
In 1965, Polish artist Roman Opałka hung a 196 × 135 cm canvas in his Warsaw studio. In the top left corner he painted a tiny numeral 1, then a 2, and so on until he had filled the canvas with numbers. Then he put up a new canvas and continued where he had left off. He called these images “details”; all of them had the same size and the same title, 1965 / 1 – ∞.
He vowed to spend the rest of his life on the project. “All my work is a single thing,” he said, “the description from number one to infinity. A single thing, a single life. … The problem is that we are, and are about not to be.”
At the start he painted white numbers on a black background, but in 1972 he began gradually to lighten the black with each detail, saying that his goal was “to get up to the white on white and still be alive.” He expected that this would happen when he reached 7777777 … but at the time of his death, in 2011, he’d got only as far as 5607249. (Source)
via BoingBoingAdd a comment
Here's an old interview that I don't think I've posted before. It's from the tail end of the Synecdoche press junket, and Charlie talks with Walter Chaw about some things I haven't seen him discuss before. It gets pretty deep.
FILM FREAK CENTRAL: Talk to me about the rapture of language.
CHARLIE KAUFMAN: You pick something very difficult for someone who's very tired. (laughs; long, thoughtful pause) Oh gosh. You know. Obviously I'm very interested in language, I use it in my work and I realize that... I've come to the conclusion that it isn't the thing. You know. It isn't the thing it describes. It can't really in most cases get close to the thing. I'm always trying to write in the chaos of experience as opposed to at a distance. I'm not interested in having perspective in the things that I write about--I'm interested in writing about them from where I am. Because that's always where you are. You never have perspective. You aren't really telling a story, you're never telling a story, story's what happens ten years down the line looking back.
So you begin with what you don't know?
(laughs) It's true, it's really backwards from the conventional wisdom of what you're supposed to write. You're never supposed to write about something that you don't have that distance from. It's weird. But we never live in that place from which we write about: it's always a fiction. I noticed a few years ago as I was going through a depression (voice drops) that was really serious that it was completely non-verbal. I couldn't explain it. I couldn't talk about it. The only way I knew that it wasn't happening anymore was that I could talk about it--then I could describe it and say that this was what my depression was, what it felt like. But at the same time that I could do it, I realized that it was completely unrelated to the experience of being in the middle of it, which was not in any way a verbal experience.
Does that frustrate empathy?
I was having this conversation recently with Amy Pascal at Sony, we were talking about this story that I wanted to try to find the place, even though language is used, where the language is not. I wanted to find that truth. Which is a very hard thing to do I guess because we communicate in language and just in our interactions we're limited to communicating to each other in language. I guess in that sense, I don't know if that addresses your question, but those are the kinds of things that I worry about in my writing. (Source)
And if you're still wondering what was happening in Synecdoche, New York, here's a quote where Charlie seems to address it more directly than usual: "I wanted to externalize his interior world which, I think, is what dreams do."
Thanks to Julie for this one.Add a comment