Charlie has sometimes sung the praises of What Happened Was..., the 1994 indie film written, directed by and starring Tom Noonan. (Tom would later play Sammy in Synecdoche and almost everyone in Anomalisa. But you knew that already.) The film is getting the 4K restoration treatment and will hit virtual cinemas at the end of this week. Good interview with Tom at Slate:
[...] What Happened Was … isn’t your typical romance, though it puts two lonely people together on their first date. [...] And it isn’t your typical horror movie, though it does feature creepy dolls. It’s somewhere between the two, an uncanny comedy in which the giant butcher knife only cuts a birthday cake but nonetheless no one gets out unscathed. What Happened Was … won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, then was released with little fanfare by a distributor that didn’t know what to do with it. (Total U.S. gross, according to IMDb Pro: $327,000.) A cult classic and a favorite of Charlie Kaufman’s, this indelible portrait of dating dread has been newly restored and opens in virtual theaters on Friday.Do you think someone could make a movie like What Happened Was now? Sure. [Pause.] In what way? Do you think the movie business could foster something like that now? Oh, I don’t know. I wrote a sequel. At one point, it was taken to Netflix and to Prime. It looked like there was a lot of interest and it might get made. I’d have this all-star cast, sort of, at least from my point of view. I had Louis C.K. in it and Charlie Kaufman was going to do it, and Vin Diesel. It was the second act of my relationship with Jackie.
[...] You mentioned Charlie Kaufman. You’ve been in a couple of his movies. How did you two meet?He saw What Happened Was in 1993 in Minnesota, while he was working in a bakery. His wife encouraged him to go and he didn’t want to go and she basically forced him to go see it. Years go by and this Being John Malkovich movie comes out and Charlie becomes a big star and he wins Academy Awards and all this stuff, and people start asking him, What were his influences? He starts talking about What Happened Was. More people contacted me because Charlie mentioned it than ever contacted me because they saw the movie. Then Charlie and I, through that, ended up meeting each other on the phone, talking a little, and then having this friendship. We’ve become pretty good friends. Do you see your influence? Where do you see What Happened Was in his work? You know, it’s what’s happening in the dark inside your heart … It’s something ineffable. (Source)