Recent Anomalisa News
Anomalisa's score on vinyl, with some spiffy packaging
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!
"The world is terrifying and destructive and dehumanising and tragic." Also: 15!
Today BCK turns 15. HOORAY. I'd say it feels like I built the site only yesterday, but that would be lying. It feels more like 20 years ago. I am old.
Here's an inadvertent birthday/Christmas pressie from Charlie: a new interview with the UK Guardian, who incidentally ranked Anomalisa as their #1 film of 2016. HOORAY AGAIN.
Mostly the interview is about politics and how badly the world sucks at the moment. HOORAY.
As Michael asks in the film: what is it to be human, to ache?
I don’t know. It’s hard to be human. I get angry at being human and at humans and I wish there was more kindness and I could be more kind and other people could be more kind. I get very rattled just in traffic. On the road, a certain combination of selfishness and aggression exists. I think it’s analogous to look at people in cars and people online because it is an anonymous situation where you get to act on these impulses without repercussions - unless you’re in an accident - and just to be mean. I just find it so upsetting.
I was driving last night on this quiet road and this person was driving towards me and had their lights on. I flashed them to let him know, not in a rude way, that I couldn’t see. And he or she turned her brights off immediately and then turned them right back on. It was like: ‘Screw you. Don’t tell me what to do. Fuck you.’ I can’t really figure out any other version that makes sense. It just puts all of my cortisol or some sort of adrenalin nightmare stuff coursing through my veins.
The converse is true too. When I see something that’s just kind, I find it the most incredibly moving thing. It just makes me relax and tear up. When someone looks at you warmly for a second as you pass them on the street – rather than just an obligatory nod – it gives you some sort of renewed faith. (Source)
Charlie also name-checks Charlie Brooker and Black Mirror in this interview. He's done that a few times this year. Black Mirror is a great show--you ought to check it out if you haven't already. And on that note, HOLY COW, CHARLIE K NEEDS TO WRITE A BLACK MIRROR. That would be a great pairing.
And thanks to Gareth for the link.
Anomalisa shooting script
I'm a little wary of posting scripts these days, particularly of films (or pilots) that haven't been produced. But Anomalisa's been and gone, so... Merry Christmas! Here's what seems to be the final shooting version of the script. Need to entertain the family over holidays? Bring out some socks with button eyes and recreate the film!
Video: hour-long Q&A with CK @ Karlovy
Here's a long, relaxed Q&A with Charlie at the recent Karlovy Vary Film Festival. It's essentially a film-by-film overview of Charlie's career--no big news or revelations, but still fun viewing, and a few little tidbits I didn't know. He does mention future and abandoned projects like Frank or Francis and Chaos Walking.
One thing worth mentioning: when the interviewer Scott Feinberg gets to Synecdoche, New York, Charlie at first thinks he's asking about Eternal Sunshine, so things get a little confusing for a bit. Other thing worth mentioning: Charlie says Rosie O'Donnell was in Human Nature. But he means Rosie Perez.
Also fun: if a person could only see one Kaufman movie, which one would Charlie pick for them? "Human Nature, simply because no one ever mentions it. Like, you didn't even mention it and no one ever mentions it." That made me laugh.
One final thing: for business reasons, Charlie has a corporation that he's named Projective Testing. The origin of that name is pretty cool--you can Wiki it yerself or watch the video below--and it implies a bit about how he approaches his work.
Is Charlie Kaufman still sexy?
“I think ultimately if ‘Synecdoche, New York’ had made $50 million, or even $20 or $30 million, then things would have been different.” [...] (It grossed $4.4 million.) “People want to be associated with things that they think are cool, and the business — the indie business, especially — is built on that. I wonder if it’s not cool or sexy to be in business with me.”
[...] “One speculates a lot on one’s failures,” Kaufman said again, “but there’s not really a lot of reason to speculate, because the only reason to speculate about bad box office is to decide that you don’t want to do something that you believe in next time in order to make more money — that’s not a choice I’m willing to make.” (Source)
That's from an equally downbeat interview with indieWIRE, in which Charlie laments the commercial failure of Anomalisa, the current state of cinema, and his future in the business. Downbeat or not, it's a worthy read.
Thanks to Julie and Arnold for this one.
Anomalisa on DVD, Blu-ray June 7
Anomalisa hits DVD and Blu-ray this coming week in the U.S.! If you're thinking of grabbing it from Amazon, you might consider reaching them via any Amazon link on BCK. We get a teeny tiny itty bitty percentage of any sale made through BCK. The money's used to cover our running costs.
If you're in Australia, like me, the Region 4 edition is supposed to come out on the 9th.
The 21st Century's 'Mad Genius Of Cinema' - Charlie in GQ
GQ's website has a great profile of Charlie, and the woes of making films that garner acclaim but lose money. It opens like so:
Charlie Kaufman has a room, reasonably small, in his Pasadena home, where he writes, though writing is not strictly what he'd call it. He's rarely, for instance, hitting the keys.
He's crippled, he says, by insecurity, self-doubt and a large internet cache. Often, he simply sits and looks at stuff online, "Because I can't think. But I don't recommend it."
Sometimes, he walks to his nearest coffee shop, which is a mile-and-a-half away, and then walks back again. He admits this isn't the most efficient method of getting things done. He works better in the morning, he says, "but not much better". (Source)
Also, BCK gets a mention. We're fancy.
Anomalisa wins top prize @ Czech Anifilm Fest
This happened a couple of weeks back:
Trebon, South Bohemia, May 8 (CTK) - Anomalisa, a U.S. film directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, won the main prize at the international competition of feature films for adults, Anifilm, yesterday and Phantom Boy directed by Alaina Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli won the competition of feature films for children. (Source)
In which a younger Charlie sends Tom Noonan fan mail
When Charlie Kaufman was just a Charlie Kaufman, as opposed to the Charlie Kaufman, he emailed Tom Noonan:
I made a movie called “What Happened Was” in 1992 and it won ‘Best Film’ at Sundance and it was relatively popular.
Charlie had seen the movie back in the early 90’s when he wasn’t really Charlie Kaufman yet and he wrote to me, a couple different e-mails because I was a pretty available person and he began communicating with me and was very complimentary about me, the movie and loved it.
Then we stopped writing, time went by and “Being John Malkovich” came out and “Adaption” [sic] and Charlie, in an interview, was being asked who his influences were and he generally talked about me which was very gratifying.
Over time, because he was talking about me a lot, we ended up meeting and became friends at which point, he reminded me he had written an e-mail to me years earlier.
Charlie and I were friends basically through my work and were friends for more than a decade before he casted me in “Anomalisa,” the play, in 2005. (Source)
Awkward interview with the Jewish Chronicle
Here's an interesting one. This interview between Charlie K. and Jason Solomons starts on a bit of a downer...
I venture, for a film as depressed as Anomalisa, nominated in the animation category, winning an award might have seemed, well, counter-intuitive.
"No, it would have suited us to win, believe me", he retorts about his remarkably realistic stop-motion animation, which follows a miserable motivational speaker in a soulless Cincinnati hotel. "There's nothing pleasant about losing, especially after we'd been through a long process of continued losing throughout the awards season. But it makes it worse when you've created something like Anomalisa and then Woody the Cowboy and Buzz Lightyear are on stage introducing your category at the Oscars."
... and then gets a little uncomfortable when Solomons tries hard to connect Charlie's work to his Jewishness, despite Charlie's obvious skepticism:
The mention of Woody Allen leads to my inevitable question of Jewishness in his work. "I don't know what you're talking about," is Kaufman's snap response and I can't tell if he's joking, at all. "I mean, you know, I am who I am," he continues, stuttering a bit, and playing with his beard. "I was raised sort of Jewish but secular, you know, I'm not from a religious family, but certainly Woody Allen was very important to me growing up, but then so was Monty Python, and I don't think any of them were Jewish?" (Source)
I can understand where Solomon's coming from--he's writing for the Jewish Chronicle, after all--but Charlie's irritation is just as understandable.
CK with DJ: on bad moods, neurophysiology, the BAFTA speech and more
Here's a great interview on 52 Insights with Charlie and Duke, covering a lot of different topics. A few little snippets:
Has sleep deprivation ever helped you in your work?
KAUFMAN: No, it doesn’t help me. It makes me sour and angry. I’m not any of those things right now but it could turn on a dime so be careful.
Okay I’ll try to be nice.
KAUFMAN: The first day we came here we had to do a thing at the BBC. They have these glass security doors that swing shut and we were walking in a line and I was the last one, I wasn’t paying attention and I guess the guard didn’t notice that I wasn’t through. It’s glass so of course I don’t see it and it smashes me directly in the face. That was a bad day. And I was already in kind of a bad mood.
KAUFMAN: With the BAFTA speech, I knew I was going to be doing it and I really wanted to stop myself from doing it in a self-serving way. I spent months trying to get through that whole, “I’m going to be impressive to people” thing, which is the natural tendency when you go on stage anywhere. You want people to like you and think you’re smart or whatever. But I tried to not do that, and if it was affective it was because I was saying, “I’m not going to do this. I’m going to try to be useful.”
So moving forward would you say that you have a challenging relationship with Hollywood?
KAUFMAN: Challenging? It’s a hate-hate relationship I have with Hollywood. I don’t like the business aspect of it but I need the business aspect to get things made. I’m writing a novel at the moment because it doesn’t cost anything, so maybe that’s another way I can do what I want to do. I don’t know what my future is in Hollywood. (Source)
Thanks to Ari for the heads up!
Does Charlie enjoy the Oscars?
I have a backlog of links to post. I'll get on it.
Charlie, Duke appearing at SoHo Apple store, March 7
Charlie and Duke will be appearing at the SoHo Apple store for a Q&A on March 7. You can log into Apple to reserve a spot, but something tells me those spots will disappear quickly.
Join directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson for a discussion and Q&A about their inventive masterpiece, “Anomalisa.” Love, laughter, and loneliness align in this stop-motion work of art, which was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature Film.” “Anomalisa" will be available on iTunes. (Source)
Details at the link!
New Anomalisa clip: awkwardness in a hall
Michael and Lisa have an awkward encounter in the hall:
Zadie Smith on Anomalisa, The Polar Express and Schopenhauer
Zadie Smith has a really great essay on the New York Review of Books site, where she talks about those two animated films (mostly Anomalisa) and that philosopher guy.
By aesthetic coincidence that evening I had a date to see Charlie Kaufman’s new movie Anomalisa, with my friend Tamsin, a professional philosopher, a Nietzsche scholar by trade, but not averse to the odd Schopenhauer reference, should a layman—or woman—try to force one upon her. [...]As we walked to the movie theater we considered the idea that all Kaufman’s movies have been somewhat Schopenhauerean, in the sense that they concern suffering in one way or another: the experience of suffering, the inevitability of it, and the possibility of momentary, illusory relief from it. This relief tends to arrive, for Kaufman, in the form of a woman (although these women are almost always the cause of much suffering, too). I thought of Catherine Keener, as Maxine, in the film Being John Malkovich all those years ago, ravishing in her white shirt and pencil skirt, offering a schlumpy depressive—a classic Kaufman protagonist—fifteen minutes’ relief from his suffering:
ERROLL: Can I be anyone I want?
MAXINE: You can be John Malkovich.
ERROLL: Well that’s perfect. My second choice. Ah, this is wonderful…. Malkovich! King of New York! Man about town! Most eligible bachelor! Bon Vivant! The Schopenhauer of the twentieth century!
Now, that last line was cut from the film, but I can take a hint. “It had puppets in it,” Tamsin noted, as we took our seats, “And this one’s all puppets?”
“All puppets.” (Source)
Thanks to Tram!