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Mark Friedberg was the production designer on films for Wes Anderson, Ang Lee, Julie Taymor, Jim Jarmusch and Todd Haynes. He was also the designer on Synecdoche, New York. Friedberg delivered the first in a new series of master classes at the Museum of the Moving Image, and Capital New York have a report on the event. Synecdoche doesn't get a mention past the introductory paragraph, but you still might want to read the article:
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His big break came when he was asked to pinch-hit for an absent crew member on New York Stories. "They needed these African masks for a set, hanging on the walls," Friedberg said, "and they knew I was going home every night and painting, so they asked me to make them, and paid me extra for it. It was the first time I had actually gotten paid for something I had made."
Soon, he started production designing for friends' films, and eventually found himself talking to Ang Lee about the design for his 1997 The Ice Storm: "I came prepared for a job interview, but Ang said, "˜I was always curious about art history, but never got a chance to learn. Let's talk about Cubism, because I think it might have something to do with this story.' So I started talking about Cubism, and it turned into this amazing conversation about personalities shown from different angles, and how the ice is like a lens, and there's no real eye contact." (Source)
This is pretty major and pretty awesome. Deadline reports:
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is putting that cosmic mind of his toward his first book. Kaufman, whose scripts include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Human Nature and Being John Malkovich, has just closed a deal for his first novel for Grand Central Publishing, I'm told. The subject of the novel is being kept under wraps. (Source)
That's all we know.
I came to Charlie's work as a reader -- I was into his scripts before I'd seen his films. I'm much more of a reader than a film-goer. For years, now, there have been rumours and suggestions that Charlie would or should try writing a novel. This is gonna be very interestin' indeed, if it happens.
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On the New York Times website there's an interesting article about factory production of fake chicken (for the purposes of eating) -- it's the kind of thing Mr. Caden Cotard might read over breakfast with little Olive, yeah?
IT is pretty well established that animals are capable of suffering; we've come a long way since Descartes famously compared them to nonfeeling machines put on earth to serve man. (Rousseau later countered this, saying that animals shared "some measure" of human nature and should partake of "natural right.") No matter where you stand on this spectrum, you probably agree that it's a noble goal to reduce the level of the suffering of animals raised for meat in industrial conditions. (Source)
Bonus: you can't catch bird flu from a fake chook or turkey. (The animal turkey, that is; not the country Turkey.)
The article includes a link to a 2003 New Yorker review of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. (Susan Orlean has been known to write for the New Yorker, and she was a big part of a different Kaufman film. Coincidence?! I THINK SO. Now I'm confusing myself.) Anyway, that review is also worth checking out:
In her towering and intrepid new novel, "Oryx and Crake" (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday; $26), Atwood, who is the daughter of a biologist, vividly imagines a late-twenty-first-century world ravaged by innovations in biological science. Like most literary imaginings of the future, her vision is mournful, bleak, and infernal, and is punctuated, in Atwood style, with the occasional macabre joke—perhaps not unlike Dante's own literary vision. Atwood's pilgrim in Hell is Snowman, who, following a genetically engineered viral cataclysm, is, as far as he knows, the only human being who has survived. (Source)
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In 2010, Charlie popped over to Bologna, Italy, to talk about Synecdoche, New York and to receive the prize "Lancia - Celebration of Lives". He mentioned his Kung Fu Panda 2 work and a script which may or may not have been called Tentative. It was a bit confusing. (By which I mean, "I was a bit confused.") ANYWAY. The fabulous Andrea sent me a link to an article about the event (heads up: it's written in Italian) and the article includes some video clips. The audio quality is pretty horrid, though. But it's always nice to see Charlie walkin' and talkin'. The article is here, and below is the first of 3 clips.
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This makes my head spin.
The last Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman" was only 13 years ago, starring Brian Dennehy in a Tony-winning performance as Willy Loman, yet audience interest in Arthur Miller's landmark drama appears higher than ever. A new "Salesman" arrived on Broadway last week, starring Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote") as Willy and the movie star Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man") as his son Biff, and grossed $613,569 for its first six preview performances "“ more money per performance than the early previews for either the Dennehy production in 1999 or its predecessor, the Dustin Hoffman-led "Salesman" in 1984. (Source)
You can prolly connect the dots yourself, but indulge me, yeah? In Synecdoche, New York, Philip Seymour Hoffman starred as Caden Cotard, a playwright. At the beginning of the film, Caden was directing a production of Salesman. And then he won a MacArthur Grant and staged an enormous play replicating his own life, and it was all very trippy and he **SPOILER**died**NO SPOILER** and we were sad, and now the guy who played Caden is in Salesman and it's doing very well. And now I need a nap.
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Random Kaufman trivia: at one stage Charlie was considering a possible script assignment, a true story about an Austrian serial killer who was caught and sent to prison, then released only to resume his killing. I sure as hell hope Charlie wasn't going to turn it into a comedy featuring a primate.
Y'know, I mentioned this on the board a while back: read this bio and tell me it doesn't look awfully familiar. A link back to my site would have been cool, but oh well. It didn't particularly grate my cheese when I first saw it - information is information and you can't copyright that. But then I find this and this and I mean really, come on. He even uses the exact same quotes from the same articles as in my bio. Several other nuggets of information had appeared nowhere at all until a couple of sources (who wish to remain anonymous) contacted me and I added the nuggets to my site. Pffffft. A link would have been nice. I wonder if that guy's boss knows he merely spent two minutes Googling then re-worded another web page. I also wonder if he was paid. Baaaaah, grumble grumble. Pity he doesn't offer an email addy. The IMDB took their Charlie Kaufman bio from my site, too (complete with outdated questionable marital info), but at least they have a link back to me. I swipe stuff from other sites all the time, yet I always credit them and provide a link.
Don't forget to check tomorrow's update. BIG EVENT COMING.Add a comment