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Podcast: "Piecing it Together" returns with Ending Things
A few weeks back, longtime BCKster David Rosen's Piecing It Together podcast tackled Antkind, and if you liked that he has returned (accompanied again by Kris Krainock) with a look at I'm Thinking of Ending Things.
On the 143rd episode of Piecing It Together, Kris Krainock joins me to follow-up our discussion about Charlie Kaufman’s novel Antkind with some more Charlie Kaufman… His new Netflix Original I’m Thinking Of Ending Things. Yes, things get weird… But I think we do a pretty good job of navigating the weirdness. Puzzle pieces include No Country For Old Men, The Cable Guy, Eraserhead and The Shining. (Source)
If you missed the Antkind episode, you should check it out, it's good stuff.
The internet reacts to Ending Things
I'm Thinking of Ending Things may be Charlie's least accessible movie, but not since Eternal Sunshine have I seen this amount of articles and memes about a CK film.
Junkee has been noticing the chatter online and takes a look at some of the more comical (and confused, and depressed) reactions.
There’s method in the madness (and this IndieWire interview with Kaufman explains some of the choices), but for those not quite ready for the illogical structure and constantly abrasive scenes, it’s a real spin-out.
As a result, reviewers and audiences alike are split between calling it pretentious genius (or is that ‘genus’?) and pretentious drivel. Where The Guardian calls it “daringly unexpected”, Variety says it a “didactically morose” film and a “Debbie Downer dud”.
Regardless of where you land, it’s quite the ride to get there. (Source)
Click through for some tweets and memes and stuff.
Thanks to Stephers!
Cultured Vultures checks out "Ending Things"
Natasha Alvar of Cultured Vultures checks out I'm Thinking of Ending Things:
However, beneath all the layers of obtuse storytelling lies a fairly discernible answer. Why would a young woman think about ending things with her boyfriend? The answer: because there is no love left, that is the reason why things end. It is a world devoid of love that Kaufman paints for us, the suffering and struggles of individuals we choose to ignore because it makes our own lives easier.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is not an easy film, cognitively and emotionally. But as with every Kaufman film, I end the experience with much to think about, and walk my next steps forward more aware of my peripheries, as I leave behind a trailing path of snow. (Source)
I'm Thinking of Annotating Things
This is neat. Redditor BillyRayCyrax has compiled a bit of a list of stuff referenced in I'm Thinking of Ending Things.
When I read Antkind, I thought This book needs a wiki of its own. AND I WILL BUILD THAT WIKI. AND IT WILL BE A SUBSECTION OF BCK! AND PEOPLE WILL CONTRIBUTE TO IT FOR YEARS TO COME! AND I WILL HAVE ACHIEVED SOMETHING WITH MY LIFE! And obviously I haven't done that, but it's still a good idea.
Toni Collette once blew an audition for Adaptation
Cute story via Backstage:
Do you have an audition horror story that you could share with us?
I was meeting with Spike Jonze on “Adaptation.” I love his films. I was in L.A., I was so excited that the audition came up. But prior to that, I’d been doing an Indian cleanse called panchakarma, where you live on, like, three handfuls of dal and rice a day and you have all these experiences with massage and hot oil dripping on your forehead. I was feeling really spicy and feeling like I was communicating with nature—you know, that kind of vibe. Then I go to meet with Spike.
We’re sitting in a room and we have a conversation and he goes, “OK, let’s read.” I did the scene, and then he would say, “OK. Now, let’s try it this way,” and he would give me some direction—and I did it the exact same way. Then he would say, “Right, right. Then let’s try it this way,” and I would do it the exact same way because I had lost all energy and was a total zombie after this bloody cleanse. I had no ability to dig in and find anything. I was just so hungry. [Laughs]
How funny that that’s your audition horror story and you’re now working on a Charlie Kaufman film, who wrote “Adaptation.”
I know. I love “Being John Malkovich.” I love “Adaptation.” One of my literal favorite movies of all time is “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Honestly, I’m such a fan. I can’t believe I got to work with him. (Source)
Ending Things vs. A Beautiful Mind
Spoilers, I guess? Here's a side by side comparison of Ending Things' ending and the same scene in A Beautiful Mind, as uploaded by YouTuber B. Rosenberger Rosenberg. (That username! Thumbs up.)
I'm Thinking of Bending Things
Video: Good interview with Charlie @ Google Talks
Here are 43 minutes well spent: Charlie's interview with Sanders Kleinfeld @ Google Talks. Charlie provides some really interesting insight into the directorial choices made by himself and his team on Ending Things. He also touches on Antkind, mentioning that the all-out comedic nature of it is partly due to people's "that's not a comedy" reaction to Synecdoche, New York. Plus what he thinks of pitching, and a book recommendation! (Stoner, by John Williams).
Thanks to Aaron for this one!
Charlie and Jessie Buckley @ Esquire
Great interview with CK and Jessie Buckley over at Esquire.
Buckley: I probably watched Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind when I was at college. And I remember going to see Anomalisa and realising that Charlie was pretty brilliant. That was my meeting of him… in my mind. And I didn’t expect it to go anywhere beyond that. And then I flew home [from America to Ireland] for Christmas about three years ago and my agent sent through the script. And then the Charlie in my mind became the Charlie on the piece of paper in front of me. And then I sent in the audition tape. But with those things, it’s kind of a shot in the dark.
Kaufman: It’s funny, you know, because I was really worried that you weren’t going to do it.
Kaufman: Yeah. Because you were the person I wanted for the role. I couldn’t really see anybody else in it after watching you do the tape and also after watching Beast. Because there’s so much transformation in that character in Beast. We talked about this early on: this idea of the young woman in this movie switching really fast from one thing to another because she’s constantly being projected onto, and I saw that you were the person to do that. So, it’s funny to hear that you wanted to do it. I didn’t know you wanted to do it.
Buckley: Oh my God, completely. I wanted to do it so bad!
Esquire: What’s it like to get a Charlie Kaufman script, Jessie?
Buckley: Yeah, you don’t get those [too often]. You don’t get challenged like that very often. And when they come, it’s like being electrocuted. In the best way. Not… to death. It’s so exciting. You feel like you can think completely differently. It’s what you want, really. But it’s very, very, very, very rare. Its happened maybe twice to me. (Source)
And also this:
Buckley: I learned that Charlie is incredibly good at scooters.
Kaufman: That’s what I would do for relaxation between takes. I would ride around on scooters. I think scooters are cool.
What scares Charlie?
Aging, loneliness, losing your mind and falling apart. That's according to a good interview with The Atlantic.
Kaufman: I’ve found things over the years where I said, “Oh my God,” called my agent to see if it was available, and invariably got cold feet. But I committed to [this one], and Iain Reid and I developed an over-the-phone friendship. That initial contact with him, before the buyer’s remorse kicked in, made it happen.
Sims: I want to talk about the musical Oklahoma. When did you decide to incorporate that into the action?
Kaufman: Once I replaced the interstitial sections with this night janitor, I was thinking of things that could exist in the school while he’s working, and I thought of a play rehearsal. I actually was in a production of Oklahoma when I was in junior high school. I know the play very well, and there are some perfect parallels, particularly with the character of Jud and the dream ballet. It was challenging to get Rodgers and Hammerstein’s estate to give us the rights to use those songs. But they did ultimately.
Sims: It’s a horror movie—all the films you’ve directed brush against that genre, but the horror is quite mundane. It’s time, it’s death, it’s other people.
Kaufman: When I come up against the genre directly, which I did with Iain’s book, I can’t do it. I’m not going to have a cat jump out; I’m not going to have [scary] music or editing unless I can subvert them into something else. I bring it back to the things you said I find scary. Which are aging, loneliness, losing your mind, and falling apart. (Source)