Recent General News
Watch the mesmerizing Kaufmanesque trailer for a game about Everything.
Everything, a new game for PS4, is the creation of David OReilly, the artist behind Mountain (a 'mountain simulator') who also did some work for Spike Jonze's Her. The game's 11-minute trailer, reminiscent of something Charlie might come up with, makes a pretty great short film by itself. The voice-over comes from a lecture by British philosopher Alan Watts.
Everything is an [sic] narrated sandbox in which everything you see is a thing you can be, from animals to planets to galaxies and beyond. Travel between outer and inner space, and explore a vast, interconnected universe of things without enforced goals, scores, or tasks to complete. (Source)
Reviews are just starting to come in, and Polygon gives it 9/10.
Bonus trivia gleaned from Wikipedia: in 2008 OReilly created a series of hand-drawn animated Youtube videos about a character called Octocat.
In an interview he said "I wanted to try experimenting with the Youtube audience and Microsoft Paint. The story for Octocat came to me by reading the bible word-for-word backwards'. (Source)
Thanks to Garrison!
Charlie wins MacDowell Fellowship
Charlie is among 74 winners of a MacDowell Fellowship, which was granted to artists across 7 disciplines by the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire
The fellows will take part in residencies at the artist colony.
[...] They will join colleagues in the fields of architecture, music composition, film and video, poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing, and visual and interdisciplinary arts.
The fellowships, each with an average value of $10,000, were awarded from among a pool of 732 applications received between July and September 2016. A panel of professionals in each discipline picked Fellows based solely on their talent, and Fellows are provided a private studio for a period of up to eight weeks, accommodations, and three meals a day. (Source)
You can read more about the Fellowship and its winners at the link.Add a comment
Charlie's work among BBC's greatest films of 21st century
The BBC's list of the 21st century's greatest 100(ish) movies (so far) was made in consultation with 177 international film critics. Charlie's work makes an appearance not once, but twice--and the second of his two films on the list is somewhat surprising but very cool.
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) (Source)
With Synecdoche, New York garnering such mixed reviews upon release, it's great that the movie is thought of so highly by so many, eight years later.
Thanks to Tram for the heads up.Add a comment
Criterion Collection interviews CK @ Karlovy Vary
Here's a fun little interview with Charlie. Areas covered: Charlie's first big crush; making films in a graveyard as a kid; not doing Hitchcock cameos; favourite dramatists; Barton Fink.
What is your earliest film memory from your childhood in New York?
I think The Sound of Music was the first movie I saw in a theater, in Long Island. I fell in love with Julie Andrews, and she was my first big crush. Especially for a little kid, there’s something very maternal about her.
Have you never been tempted to do a Hitchcock and make a small cameo in one of your films?
Both times I worked with Spike Jonze, he tried to get me to do that. But no, I wouldn’t do it, it’s too nerve-wracking! (Source)
Alas, there's no mention of any upcoming Kaufman releases from Criterion.
Thanks to Tram and Tim!Add a comment
Video: Charlie on zombie ants, mind control, consumerism
In the vein of the great short film What I Have To Offer, which was drawn from Charlie's brilliant BAFTA lecture, here's Charlie Kaufman on Zombie Ants, Mind Control & Consumerism, a short film produced by High Existence and "The Unknown". It's accompanied by a good short essay on Kaufman, Hollywood and creativity, which you can read at the link. [As I write this post, that site's offline. I guess it'll be back soon. You can still watch the video here.]
Charlie K and Willem Dafoe to receive honors @ Karlovy Vary Fest.
Via Hollywood Reporter:
The actor will get the Crystal Globe for Contribution to World Cinema, while the screenwriter, director and producer will get the president's award.
[...] Dafoe will receive the fest's highest honor, the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema. Kaufman will get the president's award. (Source)
They'll both be present at the festival, which runs from July 1-9. Anomalisa will be screening there, too.
Thanks to Tim!Add a comment
"Seances" is a different movie every time you watch it
Charlie likes to point out that cinema is essentially a "dead medium": a movie never changes. Once you've seen a movie, that's it--watch it again and it's still the same film, as opposed to a stage play, where no two performances are exactly identical--line deliveries change, accidents happen, props might get moved around, a director might tweak something here or there. That's one reason Kaufman likes to fill his scripts with enough density and enigmatic meaning that you might spot new stuff--or react differently--each time you re-watch one of his movies.
Along comes Guy Maddin, whose experimental film Seances is literally different every time you view it:
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Seances, co-created with Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson, is experimental cinema for those who like drifting into a madhouse reverie, a strange almost hellishly-inscrutable dream from which there is no waking. It’s an endless hall of mirrors. No escape because there’s no exit.
Technically, Seances is web-based avant-garde cinema art consisting of a large number of short silent films set to music, which are intermixed at random in bits and pieces by computer algorithms. Maddin shot the films, sometimes one each day, at the Phi Centre in Montreal and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with the participation of actors such as Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, and genre favorite Udo Keir, among many others.
[...] When you click and hold down your cursor it’s as if a roulette wheel is spinning—whatever film is generated is usually a different length, with a title selected apparently at random, with scenes plucked willy-nilly and shown in an order that changes with every viewing. The movie you watch will never be seen by anyone else, nor will it exist after you are finished viewing it. (Source)
Portrait of Charlie
This almost-finished portrait of Charlie showed up in my Google alerts. It's by Anja Bell:
Nice!Add a comment
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