Recent General News
The artist who spent his career painting from 1 to 5607249
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
Chaos Walking gets 2019 release date
Lionsgate has set a March 1, 2019, release date for the science-fiction adventure “Chaos Walking,” starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.
Doug Liman is directing while Allison Shearmur and Doug Davison are producers. The screenplay will be written by Patrick Ness, Charlie Kaufman and John Lee Hancock.
The film is based on Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go,” a book that was published in 2008 as the first in a trilogy. It is set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts. (Source)
More plot info at the link. Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter adds a fourth writer to the mix while leaving out Ness and Hancock:
Osar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman worked on the script for Chaos Walking, as did Jamie Linden (Money Monster). (Source)
This is despite Charlie saying last August "I'm not involved with that any more. I did the first draft." I have been confused about his involvement in this film (is he writing it? is he not? is he co-writing it? did he do a couple of drafts and now he's no longer on board?) for a looong time. No idea how much of the film will be Charlie's work, but it seems like we can confirm that some of it is?Add a comment
Pinch of salt: Charlie still attached to "Chaos Walking"?
A while back, Charlie was scripting an adaptation of The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first book in Patrick Ness' YA trilogy, Chaos Walking. In 2014, though, Variety reported that Charlie was out and Jamie Linden had taken over the writing. Now, Deadline are talking as if Charlie's still on board:
Doug Liman has backed out of directing Warner Bros’ Justice League Dark, the film that was to be a cog in the studio’s DC Universe of movies. The move is not surprising, as Liman’s schedule is officially tied up for the time being: As we reported, Lionsgate is moving forward with the Daisy Ridley-Tom Holland movie Chaos Walking based on Patrick Ness’ YA novel, with a franchise play being eyed and Liman at the helm. It is now in preproduction and is currently on offer at the Cannes market, and Liman is moving along with it.
[...] Ness is co-writing the screenplay with John Lee Hancock and Charlie Kaufman. Allison Shearmur and Doug Davison are producing. (Source)
I suspect they're wrong, but it could be that Charlie's now re-attached. In August last year at Karlovy, Charlie said "I'm not involved with that any more. I did the first draft." (That's an hour-long video. He talks about Chaos Walking around the 45:45 mark. The whole clip's worth watching if you've never seen it!)Add a comment
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)