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synecdoche-infopage.jpg"Regardless of how this particular thing works itself out, I will be dying. So will you... So will everyone here. And I want to explore that unflinchingly." - Caden

Release: 24 October, 2008.

The Pitch:Playwright Caden Cotard is having what might be termed a bad life. His marriage falls apart. He seems to be dying of a mysterious illness that is systematically shutting down his autonomic functions. His ex-wife heads off to Germany with their daughter and her friend. The friend gradually turns Caden's daughter into a lesbian Nazi. But hey, he's received a Macarthur Grant, and sets about producing a work "big and true and tough. You know, finally put my real self into something." To that end, Caden builds a scale replica of New York in a warehouse and fills it with scores of actors - some of them playing Caden's real-life friends and acquaintances, one playing Caden himself. As the project evolves, reality and fantasy meld. Is anything in this movie really happening? Are we just seeing reality as Caden perceives it? What's with the house that's always on fire? How come time flows so strangely? What does it all mean, if any of it means anything? Easily the least commercial of all Charlie's scripts so far, this one's set for release later in 2008.

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Caden Cotard), Catherine Keener (Adele Lack), Hope Davis (Madeleine Gravis), Michelle Williams (Claire Keen), Tom Noonan (Sammy Barnathan), Samantha Morton (Hazel), Emily Watson (Tammy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Maria), Dianne Wiest (Ellen Bascomb/Millicent Weems)

Three drafts of the screenplay are available for download, plus a Spanish translation of the 1st draft, and the Synecdoche, New York PDF press kit. You can find them via the Scripts/Writing section of this site.

  

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spotless-infopage.jpg"Clementine Kruczynski has had Joel Barish erased from her memory.  Please never mention their relationship to her again.  Thank you." - screenplay, 1st draft

Release: 19 March 2004 (USA)

The Pitch: Introverted boy meets extroverted girl. Boy and girl have a relationship. Relationship ends. Girl undergoes a medical procedure to erase boy's existence - and their relationship - from her memory. Boy freaks out and has the same procedure done to himself... but halfway through, as he relives each memory in reverse-chronological order (bad break-up to great beginning, all played out on-screen for us), he realises that some of those memories are worth holding onto. Boy tries to fight against the erasure. This is Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's topsy-turvy spin on romantic comedy, an original script based on an idea by Pierre Bismuth - a conceptual artist friend of Michel's. It's also attained the biggest cult following, and the most critical/commercial success, of any Kaufman film to date.

Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Jim Carrey (Joel Barish), Kate Winslet (Clementine Kruczynski), Tom Wilkinson (Dr. Howard Mierzwiak), Kirsten Dunst (Mary), Elijah Wood (Patrick), Mark Ruffalo (Stan)

Two drafts of the screenplay are available for download, plus a Farsi translation of the shooting script. They can be found in the Scripts/Writing section of this website.

 

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John HawkesJohn Hawkes (Goodman Hesselman)Release: A pilot was filmed, but the series was not picked up.

The Pitch: "FX Networks has greenlighted How And Why, a half-hour comedy pilot from Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman. It tells the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life.  Kaufman will write and direct the pilot and serve as executive producer. FX Prods will produce." (Source)

"[John] Hawkes is set to play the lead role of Goodman Hesselman, host of the How & Why educational show-within-the-show, who loses his passion for explaining how complicated things work, yields his show-within-the-show to a younger host, then moves to a smaller town, where he tries to create a similar, yet significantly less popular, parallel-show-to-the-show-within-the-show. According to Deadline, Hawkes’ character then also “encounters the supernatural world,” which is, indeed, its own show-surrounding-the-parallel-show-to-the-show-within-the-show. [Michael] Cera will play Hawkes’ boss at his new studio." (Source)

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Cast: John Hawke (Goodman Hesselman), Michael Cera (Mendelson), Sally Hawkins (Yvonne Hesselman), Catherine Keener (Alice)

The pilot script is not yet available for download.

 

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confessions-infopage.jpg"My name is Charles Prescott Barris. I have written pop songs, I have been a television producer. I am responsible for polluting airwaves with mind-numbing, puerile entertainment. In addition, I have murdered thirty-three human beings. I am damned to Hell." - Chuck Barris

Release: 31 December 2002 (USA)

The Pitch: Based on the "unauthorised autobiography" of Chuck Barris, creator and host of such TV classics as The Dating Game and The Gong Show. Barris claims to have worked for the CIA as a hitman at the same time that he was working on TV, chaperoning contestants around the world. Truth? Baloney? And if baloney, why make up such stuff? Charlie spins things just enough to let us decide for ourselves.

Director: George Clooney
Cast: Sam Rockwell (Chuck Barris), Drew Barrymore (Penny), George Clooney (Jim Byrd), Julia Roberts (Patricia Watson)

The 3rd draft of the screenplay is available for download via the Scripts/Writing section of this website.

 

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adaptation-infopage.jpg"I am old. I am fat. I am bald. My toenails have turned strange. I am repulsive. How repulsive? I don't know for I suffer from a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I am fat, but am I as fat as I think? My therapist says no, but people lie. I believe others call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also believe this is simply my own perverted form of self-aggrandizement, that no one really talks about me at all. Why would they? What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone? I am repulsive. I have never lived. I blame myself." - Charlie Kaufman (screenplay, 2nd draft)

Release: 6 December 2002

The Pitch: Oh man, where to begin? Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is given the assignment of adapting Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief, which tells the true story of a plant dealer named John Laroche and three Seminole Indians who conspired to clone rare orchids and sell them at exorbitant rates to plant collectors. But Charlie has no idea how to write a straight adaptation of the book, he's missing deadlines, and he's becoming attracted to Orlean. In desperation he decides to write the overlapping tales of Orlean, Laroche, and his own struggle to complete the screenplay. Add to the mix Charlie's identical twin brother Donald - ace screenwriter of cliché thrillers - an alligator attack, drug-snorting and car chases, and you have the film Adaptation: thoughtful meditation on the art of adaptation, crazy mix of fact and fiction, with a good-sized dose of typically offbeat humour. Whoa, my head hurts.

Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Nicolas Cage (Charlie/Donald Kaufman), Meryl Streep (Susan Orlean), Chris Cooper (John Laroche), Brian Cox (Robert McKee)

Two drafts of the screenplay are available for download via the Scripts/Writing section of this website.

 

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