Charlie Kaufman's Next Big Thing Is TV?
Mysterious Hollywood genius Charlie Kaufman has announced his next project, and it is exciting! Deadline reports today that Kaufman is teaming up with his frequent collaborator Catherine Keener, another mysterious Hollywood genius, to make a show for HBO.
Mysterious Hollywood genius Charlie Kaufman has announced his next project, and it is exciting! Deadline reports today that Kaufman is teaming up with his frequent collaborator Catherine Keener, another mysterious Hollywood genius, to make a show for HBO. This sounds even more exciting than the Diane Keaton show about Deadline's own Nikki Finke!
Which, as we know, collapsed rather late in its development process and never saw the light of day. The message being, we shouldn't get too excited for this project just yet, given that it's barely been announced. Sure it's been put on "fast-track development" and everything, which seems encouraging, but, well, let's consider the premise:
The untitled comedy is described as an exploration of one day in a woman’s life and how the events leading up to it can affect, or not, the reality in which she lives.
Aha. An entire show about one day? A day-in-the-life (or 22-minutes-in-the-life) didn't work per-episode for a show like Watching Ellie, so how could a day-in-the-life work as an entire series? (Granted, the creative pedigree here is a mite bit stronger than it was for Watching Ellie.) It sounds like one of those crazy series ideas that make for great pilots but then sorta sputter out, unclear what to do with themselves after a certain point.
Oh, but we shouldn't be so pessimistic. Kaufman is capable of creative miracles, after all. Briefly explain most of his movies — a guy finds a portal into John Malkovich's head, a screenwriter struggles to adapt a book about orchids, memory erasure on Long Island — and they sound like ridiculous, never-gonna-work concepts. His next movie, Frank or Francis, which features Keener, is described on IMDb as "A satire of Hollywood set to music, where a film director feuds with a blogger." That sounds kind of terrible! But we should probably, at this point, trust Kaufman enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. And we do.
So sure, maybe it is OK to get excited by the idea of this unlikely new TV project. Hey, it can't be any weirder than the other thing Kaufman recently signed up to do: Just last month news broke that the Oscar-winning screenwriter has been hired to adapt the first in a trilogy of dystopian young adult novels that are billed as the next Hunger Games. Though, as befitting Mr. Kaufman, they sound even stranger than those strange books. The first novel, called The Knife of Never Letting Go, concerns a teenage boy on a Christian colony planet where there are no women (or so he thinks) and everyone can read each other's thoughts. A brief read of the Wikipedia synopsis made our eyes cross, which, well, is probably perfect for Kaufman. But still, young adult? Sci-fi action?? That's the stranger fit, more so than the mind-reading stuff.
The point is, Charlie Kaufman, four years after his (brilliant, in our estimation) directorial debut Synecdoche, New York, is back to work, and that work is some weird, intriguing stuff. The HBO series sounds like the best of the three projects currently developing (he also has a novel in the works), but as ever, what do we really know. Just keep working, Charlie. We'll catch up to you and try to figure out what you've made whenever it is that you let us.