Charlie Kaufman writes screenplays that are tricky and intricate, and they attract great actors who like to work with material that is both fun and challenging. Kaufman is planning to direct his second film, Frank or Francis, which he also wrote, and the movie has already lined up Steve Carell, Jack Black, Nicolas Cage, and Kevin Kline to play of roles that are characteristically Kaufman, which is to say: earnest and familiar but also exaggerated to a point of almost insane eccentricity.

Now the film has added Kate Winslet and Catherine Keener, both of whom have received Oscar nominations for performing in films written by Kaufman. (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich, respectively.) Read More »


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Since breaking out with Being John Malkovich in 1999, Charlie Kaufman has developed a reputation as one of the most creative, ambitious screenwriters working today. After earning acclaim for projects like Adaptation. and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, he made his directorial debut in 2008 with the wildly imaginative Synecdoche, New York. He is now working on his second directorial effort, Frank or Francis, and also has a political satire in the works with Spike Jonze attached to direct.

BAFTA recently invited Kaufman to talk about his craft as part of a lecture series called “Screenwriters On Screenwriting,” and in typical Kaufman style, the resulting talk is honest, philosophical, meandering, and a little bit messy — in a good way. Hit the jump for highlights and a link to the full video and transcript.

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An Education wasn’t Carey Mulligan‘s first film, but it’s the one that launched her to the top of every director’s wishlist. Since that coming-of-age tale opened in 2009, she’s been picking up one juicy role after another. This year saw her starring opposite Ryan Gosling in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and earning praise for her bold performance in Steve McQueen’s Shame, and she’s currently at work playing the ultimate girl who got away in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

Now she’s lining up her next two jobs, and they sound every bit as promising as her previous gigs: the Coen BrothersInside Llewyn Davis, and an untitled Spike Jonze picture. More details after the jump.

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We already knew a little bit about Frank or Francis, Charlie Kaufman‘s second directorial effort after his insanely ambitious, gloriously bizarre Synecdoche, New York. Basically, we were aware that it existed, that Nicolas Cage, Steve Carrell, and Jack Black had signed on, and that the film would revolve primarily around the feud between an Internet blogger and a Hollywood director. But this being Kaufman, of course, there was bound to be a whole lot more to the project than that.

Now, we have lots more details on the story — and the more I learn, the more I’m dying to see this film. After the jump, read all about the script, and find out which very weird role(s) Kevin Kline has just been cast in.

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A couple of bits of interesting but as-yet-unconfirmed casting news have cropped up this weekend. One concerns Naturi Naughton, star of NBC’s upcoming series The Playboy Club, who may be joining forces with Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine; the other, frequent Adam Sandler collaborator Kevin James, who could be working with director Charlie Kaufman in Frank or Francis. More details on both projects after the jump.

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Here’s a pretty great bit of news that doesn’t come from Comic Con: Charlie Kaufman‘s long-gestating Frank or Francis now has a possible cast. Jack Black and Nicolas Cage are now attached to the film, and Charlie Kaufman is in talks with Steve Carell to sign on, too. Read More »

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After “quitting” acting in a big, public way, Joaquin Phoenix is navigating an impressive comeback. He’s currently shooting Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and now he’s also attached to star in the latest collaboration between screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze. The film, an untitled political satire, is being financed by Megan Ellison‘s Annapurna Pictures and Warner Bros. has also reportedly come on board, aiming at a March 2012 start date. Read more after the break. Read More »

OK, we really need to send a giant ‘thank you’ bouquet to Megan Ellison. Her company, Annapurna Pictures, is reportedly financing two Paul Thomas Anderson films (The Master and Inherent Vice) and is backing Wong Kar Wai’s new film The Grandmasters as well as pictures like The Wettest County in the World and Cogan’s Trade. In short, if you like ambitious, literate films, she and her team are on your side.

Now the company is negotiating a deal for rights to “an untitled satire” that will mark the reunion of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation director and screenwriter Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman. Get a few more details after the break. Read More »

If you’re among the rather rabid audience for which the mere combination of the names Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman causes excited palpitations, then you’d better lie down before reading any further. The two filmmakers, who teamed for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, are reportedly circulating a new film pitch to financiers. There is no plot outline available, or any info at all. The LA Times reports the news, and notes that as the project exists in pitch form, there’s not even a script to share at this point.

And here we were, just earlier today, noting that a heady film like Synecdoche, New York or the theoretical Fellini-esque second half of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman project seemed like a difficult sell of late. And perhaps that’s the case — there’s no financing for this one yet. But fingers crossed that Jonze and Kaufman get financiers to bite. We can always use more conceptual, engaging movies like their previous two collaborations. Very much hoping this happens, and isn’t an overblown, too-early announcement of intent.

A few speculative, possibly connected details are after the break. Read More »