New Charlie interview! It's more of a chat, really, and there's nothing about Frank or Francis or his project with Spike, but it's worth checkin' out. The interview starts like this:
Mr. Kaufman, how are you?
I am not that great. How are you?
Which I'm sure put the interviewer at ease. Random aside, though: I have a habit of replying "Good" when people ask how I am, even if I'm not good. It's automatic. It's what you're s'posed to say. I always tell myself I'm gonna give an honest answer the next time someone asks. But then I forget.
Here's another snippet, on why Charlie doesn't have an assistant (for research and stuff):
I've never had one. The only time I had an assistant was as a director. For co-production I had an assistant. But, no, I never had an assistant in any way other than that. I don't know what they would do. They would sit next to me in my office in my house and that would be really weird. Research for me is part of the learning process. No one else could do it for me.
I read things really haphazardly "“ something leads me to something else. I spend five hours going through things online and oh, that leads me to this. How could anyone else do that? So the answer is no. (Source)
10 and a bit years ago, a 24-year-old Aussie in a small coastal town read the first draft of a screenplay called Being John Malkovich, and thought it was hilarious, not to mention clever. He wanted to know more about the fella who wrote it, so he Googled up a few interviews, finding that he really loved the interviews this Kaufman guy gave -- the Aussie could relate to some of what Kaufman said, and he enjoyed reading Mr. Kaufman's take on the writing process.
Around the same time, this Aussie was teaching himself basic web design skills. He thought it'd be an interesting experiment to build a website and see if it could gain any kind of audience. He wasn't sure what the site ought to be about. He eliminated any person or topic already covered by more than two or three websites. And since he was interested in this Kaufman guy... and there were no websites about this Kaufman guy... and Charlie was developing a small cult following, with three more films due for release later in the year (Human Nature, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind)...
The first few pages of BCK were uploaded on 18 December, 2001. Most of you weren't even born. The internet was very different in those days. I figured I'd get bored after a few months, but then some interesting folks started to email me -- John "the orchid thief" Laroche was probably the first. And more interesting people emailed me: fans, film industry folks, sometimes journalists. This website gig was all kinds of fun.
Now BCK is 10 years old, and I'm 34 yers old -- which perhaps seems a little too old to be messing around with a fan site, but whatever. Web design has become a proper job for me, and BCK has provided other nifty opportunities here and there. I've made a bunch of cool pals. I'm still constantly surprised and and delighted by the variety of people I hear from. It's easily one of the two of three best things I've ever done. I'm basically the same guy I was 10 years ago. This is sometimes very annoying. There are fewer fan sites online now than when I started; that's a bummer. But we're still pluggin' along here, still havin' fun.
Big, big, big thanks to everyone who's contributed to the website or emailed me to say howdy. I love hearing from you weirdos.
I intended to do a bunch of 10th Anniversary celebration type things throughout the year, but now it's December and it seems I'm a very lazy individual, because I did absolutely nothing. But you all can feel free to have a drink or a piece of cake in BCK's honour, eh? And if perchance I don't make another update before next weekend, have yourselves an awesome Christmas, Hannukah, or celebration of your choice. (And if you're no celebratin' anything, have an awesome day anyway!)
Charlie Kaufman's dad, Myron, is a full-time artist. His short story, "Horse Scents," has just been published by Bomb Magazine, and it is prefaced by a very sweet -- not to mention somewhat illuminating -- introduction by Charlie. The story includes illustrations by Myron. Huffington Post describes "Horse Scents" as "the offbeat story of a man who falls in love with a horse."
Charlie's intro begins:
When I was a little kid, I would watch my father playing with his toast crumbs on the breakfast table. He'd push the crumbs into interesting designs. My father was always artistic. He painted, he made sculptures from found objects, he fingered toast crumbs. I loved watching him do it: focused, creative, driven, even at breakfast.
A few years ago, I mentioned the toast crumb memory to him. I wanted to tell him how much his daily ritual had meant to me. He was quiet for a moment. It didn't elicit the, "Oh, yeah! I forgot all about that! I used to love doing that!" I had expected. Instead, he finally said something like, "I was probably feeling trapped and trying to distract myself." I was floored. I hadn't gotten that at all from watching him. To me it was just another example of the wonderfulness of my dad, the most eccentric and educated father in our blue collar neighborhood, an example of his boundless creativity: toast crumb art. Suddenly it was something else entirely. (Source)
Cate Blanchett and Paul Reubens might be joining the cast of Frank or Francis, but you should take this info with a pinch of salt for the time being.
On a trip to Australia a few months back, promoting Crazy, Stupid, Love, Steve Carell suppsedly let slip that Cate had joined the cast.
Meanwhile, there's a password-protected post on a website called The Tracking Board, with a headline reading "Paul Rubens and Cate Blanchett Choose SIdes in 'Frank Or Francis'." If you mosey on over to the New York Times'small overview of Frank, Reubens and Blanchett are listed in the cast as "Grape Snow" and "Magda / Ghost of Right & Left Thumb," respectively. Grape Snow is a bitter old film critic, described at one point in the script as "a bronzed 70 year old with jet black hair and an ascot." Magda is a "thumbless Romanian waitress."
Reubens isn't 70 years old, and Cate is neither thumbless nor Romanian, but I can certainly see them playing these roles.
RUMOUR ONLY!! But I figured I should mention it. If anyone can provide a definitive yea or nay on the rumours, I'll be a happy camper.
Edit: One of BCK's pals points out that Cate will shortly be busy with a pair of Malick films and theatre commitments and stuff. Word is she possibly turned down the Thumbless Romanian waitress role. CRAZINESS!
I haven't watched it all yet -- it's midnight-ish here, so I'm half zombie with tiredness. Also, I do not know how I can download and save the vid. The usual plugins do not work. THWARTED.
Enjoy! I may come back later and make this update more coherent, when I am fully conscious and not half-asleep and all.
[Edit: it's worth pointing out that there's a complete transcript of the speech on the page I've linked to, and you can download the transcript as a PDF. The video is a slightly shortened version of Charlie's speech.] I know I've said this before, but I love the speech; it's not just about screenwriting. ("Oh, gee, the Kaufman website guy loves the Kaufman speech. Big surprise." Yeah, yeah, yeah.)
There's a short profile of Charlie's agent, Sharon Jackson, who has made it onto Hollywood Reporter's 2011 "Power 100" list of "Women in Entertainment." Jackson's in at #73.
[...] The Long Island-raised Jackson, who went to NYU film school, also reps writer-director Charlie Kaufman, whose latest project Frank or Francis is moving toward production. "I promised him when he came over here that he was going to direct a movie," she says. "It was a script that he had written that he loved that he had been told he would not be directing. We spent the year putting the actors in and, with [WME Global head] Graham Taylor's help, raising an unprecedented amount of money in this economy." (Source)
Jackson's other clients include Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, Jason Segel, Will Arnett, Jason Schwartzman, Jack Black and John C. Reilly.
You know how the chronology of events in Synecdoche, New York, is all weird and compressed? Time moves forward at an accelerated rate and nobody comments on it? This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in the opening scene, but you have to really pay attention if you want to catch all of the time-jumping and whatnot. To that end, YouTube user AfterClapENT has uploaded the film's opening 9 minutes, adding captions that point out all the various dates and times that are referenced. (The opthamologist never fails to crack me up, by the way.) The video says it's "Part 1." Not sure what might be in store for Part 2.
Earlier in the year I linked to a video of Charlie's 72-minute "master class" at the Goteborg International Film Festival. There was also a 30-minute video of the accompanying press conference, and I totally neglected to put that one on here. Maybe I forgot or didn't realise it was there at all, or perhaps I am lazy, or most likely I am just a terrible person.
Here's some great news: a video of Charlie's BFI lecture will be available online soon. (The real Charlie, giving the real lecture.) The quality of the vid looks terrific. Here's a highlights reel in the meantime:
Excellent. Big thanks to Oliver from BAFTA for the news.