Recent General News
Eternal Sunsets of the Kaufman Mind
Here's a great supercut of Charlie's work, and I just noticed it goes for about 7 1/2 minutes. Talk about appropriate! It was put together by Leigh Singer, and it's great.Add a comment
Kaufman retrospective coming to LA, NY, SF, Chicago in January
A four-day, five-film Kaufman restrospective is coming to Landmark Theatres, Jan 4-7. The films are Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine, Synecdoche, New York and Anomalisa. Reports The Wrap:
The retrospective will run Jan. 4 through Jan. 7 at Landmark locations in New York (Landmark Sunshine Cinema), Los Angeles (The Landmark), Chicago (Century Centre Cinema) and San Francisco (Embarcadero Center Cinema).
In New York and Los Angeles, showings of “Anomalisa” will include Q&As with the filmmakers and voice talent. On Monday, Jan. 4 in Los Angeles, the 7:30 p.m. showing of “Anomalisa” at the Landmark Theater will feature a Q&A with Kaufman, Johnson and producer Rosa Tran. On Thursday, Jan. 7 in New York, the 7:30 p.m. showing of “Anomalisa” at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema will be followed by a Q&A with voice actor Tom Noonan. (Source)
More info at the link. Thanks to Tram!Add a comment
Charlie Kaufman and Weirder Al Yankovic
Mike Ryan interviewed Charlie and Duke Johnson for Uproxx, and the interview will be published soon. Ryan's been dying to ask Kaufman about an unaired sketch Charlie wrote for The Dana Carvey Show, titled "Weirder Al Yankovic," and that snippet from their conversation is already online:
Robert Carlock said you wrote a sketch in which Weirder Al Yankovic converts Weird Al’s songs back to normal?
No, I think the sketch went: There was Weird Al Yankovic, Weirder Al Yankovic, Weirdest Al Yankovic and — I’m not sure, I may be making this part up — then there was Regular Al Yankovic. And they were just named that by their parents. So, it got more and more insane. One of them would do a parody of the other one doing the other one. And then the third one would turn it back to the regular song.
I wish this existed.
Well, a lot of people really liked it and talked about it. And then they were going to do it on Mr. Show, because Dino Stamatopoulos and David Cross and Bob Odenkirk all worked on Carvey. But Mr. Show decided that they didn’t want to do anything that was based on real people in popular culture. That was one of their rules. So, it never got made. It’s a shame. [Sarcastically] It’s a terrible shame. (Source)
Charlie was Charlie, even back then.Add a comment
Stephen Colbert used to torment Charlie
Just a small snippet from a National Post profile of Stephen Colbert, by David Berry:
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He might be our finest deadpan artist, someone who will not break character even while roasting presidents to their face. If that’s not immediately identifiable as an interrogatory gift, just watch his recent guerilla-ish interview with Eminem. When was the last time a celebrity seemed genuinely off-kilter in a televised spot, didn’t know exactly how to take something? Combined with Colbert’s love of messing with people — one of my favourite Colbert stories is how he used to torment the even-then-eternally-tormented Charlie Kaufman when both used to work on The Dana Carvey Show, forever finding ways to turn the latter’s self-seriousness against him — it’s a way of cracking through the eternal facade of the publicity tour. (Source)
Charlie to be executive producer on "Horrorstör," new dramedy for Fox
... if it goes ahead, that is. Deadline brings word that Fox have ordered a "put pilot" for a TV series based on the novel Horrorstör, and it'll be produced by Josh Schwartz, Gail Berman and Charlie K.
Written by Schwartz and Black List screenwriter Michael Vukadinovich, Horrorstör centers on 26-year-old Amy. Newly sober, she lands a job at ORSK, the U.S. Flagship of the European furniture superstore. It feels like just the opportunity she’s needed to get her life back on track, but as Amy comes to discover, the store actually preys upon its customers’ desires to a supernatural degree, selling products that make their wishes and fantasies come true in unexpected and insidious ways.
It was Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), who brought the book to Berman’s attention. (Source)
The book is "designed in the format of an Ikea-esque furniture catalog."
So I would say the How and Why pilot is dead and buried, but now we have this to (tentatively!) look forward to. And Anomalisa, which we definitely can look forward to!!Add a comment
Kaufman's Folly: when Hollywood messes up your expectations of reality
Why do some films--with their good-looking characters, their perfect one-liners and their heart-swelling musical scores--make us depressed or angry, when they've set out to make us feel something else--something more upbeat? This StoryBrain video posits a theory, and the narrator coins it "Kaufman's Folly," because of something Charlie said in his interview with Charlie Rose.
Thanks to Cristian!
Bonus throwback video: Charlie Rose by Samuel Beckett.Add a comment
That time scriptwriter Charles Kaufman was a Jeopardy! contestant
Got a pair of emails today from Mark and Robert, who come to us via J! Archive, a fan-created archive of the quiz show Jeopardy!
Mark's dad was on Jeopardy! in 1991, and Mark has made a bit of a discovery. Robert explains:
Our archive of Jeopardy! clues and responses has discovered that screenwriter Charles Kaufman appeared on the show in 1991. He didn't win and thus only appeared on one episode of the program[...] During his contestant interview with Alex Trebek, he boasted that he had "sold a couple of scripts", but that none had been produced as yet, and mentioned that he was busy taking a lot of baby pictures of his "two little boys."
Upon closer inspection, this may not be the Charlie Kaufman we're thinking of.
But still. STILL.
There's yet another screenwriting Charles Kaufman, too, you know--the brother of Lloyd Kaufman. Lloyd runs Troma Entertainment, known for The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet. I don't think that's him in the pic.
So what's up with all that, eh?
It's like something out of a Kaufman movie.
BUT WHICH KAUFMAN?Add a comment
Charlie Kaufman's women
In which Script Magazine's Heather Hale takes a look at the women in Charlie's films.
A great deal has been written over the past forty years about (Alfred) “Hitchcock’s Women.” Immaculate blondes, sensual ice queens that could be both treacherous yet vulnerable. These strong independent women often drove the action of his famous suspense films – and they suffered for it. They have become icons of his era.
One of our era’s most distinctive cinematic voices is Charlie Kaufman. In studying his scripts and movies (preparing for an OnDemand Webinar), I began to appreciate the spectrum of his female characters across his six films thus far: Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche, New York.
The antithesis of his needy male Protagonists, Charlie Kaufman’s female characters are aware of what they want in life – and are willing to take risks to go get it. They are often sarcastic and emasculating, almost always autonomous, confident, extroverted and manipulative. (Source)
It's a quick read. The article's from January last year, but I don't think I've seen it before. Thanks to Cristian!Add a comment
13. And here's a rerun of the BAFTA lecture to celebrate.
BCK is 13 years old today. Like, wow. The site is now a teenager even in real years; in internet years it's, I don't know, 87? Here's a little trip down memory lane, to celebrate the occasion.
On Youtube there used to be a long video of Charlie's super awesome BAFTA lecture (edited down by only a few minutes, I think?), and I posted it, but it's since been removed from Youtube. It was LOST IN THE MISTS OF TIME, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN.
Twitter user @kaufmanic discovered the video's reapparance on the interwebs. Get it while it's hot:Add a comment
The death of mid-budget cinema
If you're wondering why it's so difficult for Charlie to get anything on the screen these days, this article by Flavorwire explains what has happened to the film industry in the last couple of decades, and the impact it has had on filmmakers like Kaufman. He isn't mentioned in the piece, but Charlie's in the same class as the filmmakers who are mentioned: Lynch, Waters, Soderbergh.
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“It’s a strange time. There’s not a whole lot that any of us can do about it,” David Lynch, who hasn’t directed a feature since 2006’s Inland Empire, explained over the summer. “You’ve seen waves of things go up and down, but maybe the arthouse will be back in vogue, and they’ll reappear all over the place again. I don’t know. It would be beautiful.”
It wasn’t always this way. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, when Waters and Lynch were doing their most commercially successful work, it was possible to finance — either independently or via or the studio system — mid-budget films (anywhere from $5 million to $60 million) with an adult sensibility. But slowly, quietly, over roughly the decade and a half since the turn of the century, the paradigm shifted. Studios began to make fewer films, betting big on would-be blockbusters, operating under the assumption that large investments equal large returns. (Source)
A lot of Charlie's face making a single Charlie's face
It was Charlie's birthday this week, according to a bunch of sites (HOORAY!), and to celebrate, Ryan created the pic below. It's cool and it gives me the creeps. Says Ryan to Charlie:
Happy birthday! [...] Enjoy this mash up of a bunch of your pictures. It took me nine years.
Nice! For lack of a better word.Add a comment
[Updated] "Too Many Cooks" opening credits are insanely long, trippy, violent, Kaufmanesque.
[Update: added a link to an interview with the video's creator, who is indeed inspired by Charlie. See the end of this post.]
Weird thing of the week: this credit sequence for Too Many Cooks. The sitcom itself doesn't exist, but the credits air late at night on Adult Swim. And they go on. And on.
The credits never end. For 12 minutes, they go on, piling up characters, switching genres, looping, warping, rewinding, getting more and more bizarre and violent as they progress. According to The A.V. Club, Adult Swim has been airing the segment late at night recently, in a block of time labeled "Infomercials," so that viewers don't know it's coming. (Source)
When I saw this, of course I thought of Charlie's How and Why. Particularly that script's opening scene, which starts out like a generic sitcom and ends with the suicide of the lead character, who's sick of living a generic sitcom-like existence.
Update: The video's creator is Squidbillies writer Chris "Casper" Kelly, and he was indeed inspired by the likes of Charlie Kaufman and David Lynch. EW interviewed him about Too Many Cooks:
What does this all mean? People are going to dissect this thing and pull out the themes and deeper implications. What do you want the takeaway to be?
That’s a tough one. Here’s what it is: I’m a fan of David Lynch and Charlie Kaufman and Tim and Eric, and I wanted to try to do something weird like that. I was working intuitively, and there’s a quote Elvis Costello has that I really like. He said, “You start out imitating your heroes, and the way you f–k up becomes your style.” (Source)
Thanks to my pal Julie for the EW find.Add a comment
Video: Charlie and the script factory
Here's a neat video created by Koushik Bokkisa, who writes: i had to submit a short video for the history montage practical in my course I took kaufman as my subject.
Makes me want to watch Charlie's films, one after the other.Add a comment
Carell, Kaufman may team for Paramount's "I.Q. 83"
New thing that might happen: a Kaufman-scripted adaptation of Arthur Herzog's 1978 science fiction novel I.Q. 83. But take this news with a pinch of salt, because the project has been bouncing around Hollywood for nearly 20 years. Deadline reports:
Charlie Kaufman has been signed to do a page one rewrite of I.Q. 83, an adaptation of Arthur Herzog’s classic 1978 science fiction novel that Paramount is now developing as a star vehicle for Steve Carell. [...] The plan is for Carell to play Dr. James Healey, who led a group of scientists that conducted DNA experiments that unleashed an airborne virus that ravages the population. The affliction isn’t fatal but pretty bad; it progressively lowers the IQ of the afflicted, more effectively than a marathon of the Kardashians’ reality show. It becomes a race against time as the scientist struggles for a cure, even as he feels himself growing dumber. He watches crowds regressing into animal packs and sees the president of the United States try to comfort the masses, only to babble and drool on television.
[...] Herzog wrote it as serious science fiction, but the aim of this new version is to do a scathing satire, on the order of Doctor Strangelove. (Source)
Andrew Lazar is producing. He worked with Charlie on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and with Carell on Get Smart. Lazar brought the project to DreamWorks, back in the day, and now Paramount own it. As with every other project Charlie's been linked to in the past few years, read this one with a cocked eyebrow and crossed fingers. More info at the link above.
Thanks to Jon, Paul, and Jonah!Add a comment
Kaufman out, Linden in for "Chaos Walking"
This is month-old news. I've been slacking. Charlie's no longer attached to The Knife of Never Letting Go, an adaptation of the first book in Patrick Ness' YA scifi series Chaos Walking. Variety says Jamie Linden is now on board.
So now the only things on Charlie's plate are:
- A novel for Grand Central Publishing, about which we don't know anything else.
- How and Why, the sitcom FX passed on. Maybe someone else will pick it up?
- Frank or Francis, the film that had a cast lined up but couldn't get enough funding and is now floating in development hell. Maybe it'll happen one day.
- The "world leaders" project that Spike occasionally mentions. I don't know if it's been written--I doubt it--but Spike has said it may happen one day.
- Anomalisa, the animated adaptation of Charlie's "sound play." That one's definitely coming and it will be awesome.
- Probably one or two other things I have forgotten.Add a comment