June 4, 2006
I'm a fan of the intriguing scripts of Charlie Kaufman, but I have to object to his full-blown egomania regarding Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" ("Why Charlie Kaufman Is Us," by David Ulin, May 14). Poor Ms. Orlean, who seemed to have been pressured by the producers of the film to put up with the total transmogrification of her book in order to placate Kaufman and director Spike Jonze following the success of "Being John Malkovich." Putting aside the quality of the film "Adaptation," the idea of Kaufman shredding a fellow writer's work because he was unable to adapt it without turning it into a story about himself reeks of shameless self-absorption.
September 16, 2005 |
Charlie Kaufman -- who has written the screenplays for such merrily mind-bending films as "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" -- isn't so much a trickster as a hide-and-seek artist. His films, however odd their premise may seem at first, are never about getting lost but about being found. They are not mysteries but anti-mysteries. The pleasure they are meant to give is in their explanations. You don't get fleeting clues but fleets of clues.
March 17, 2004 |
On Page 38 of Charlie Kaufman's script for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" -- which is to say, about a third of the way through the new film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" -- the following line of dialogue appears: JOEL I'm in my head already, aren't I? There are few employed screenwriters who could get away with that line, even fewer who could get a laugh with that line, and fewer still who could, at the same time, make it a terrifying, genuine, wiltingly beautiful line.
October 26, 2008 |
Charlie Kaufman, a diminutive 50-year-old screenwriter with a thatch of uneven curly hair, is all but swathed in existential terror. He's in the midst of barnstorming the world, promoting his long-awaited directorial debut, "Synecdoche, New York," a rite of passage somewhat akin to a root canal for the famously shy auteur.
May 14, 2006 |
It's Charlie Kaufman's world. We just live in it. The day after I first saw Kaufman's movie "Adaptation," my wife and I took our daughter to a birthday party. It was mid-December, an afternoon of flat white sunlight, washed out in that Southern California winter way. At the door, a tangle of balloons announced the festivities in orange and blue and red.
January 12, 2003 |
The funniest line in "Adaptation," the still-resonating black comedy starring Nicolas Cage as tormented screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, isn't in the movie. It's in the film's press kit. As the now-familiar story goes, Kaufman, an Oscar nominee for his screenplay for "Being John Malkovich," was hired to adapt Susan Orlean's nonfiction book "The Orchid Thief" to the screen. Yet, despite his previous success, the production notes explain, Kaufman was still "plagued by insecurities."