Living in the world of Charlie Kaufman, as we all do, everything is ultimately Charlie Kaufman – as if to prove this, Charlie Kaufman is to adapt the Charlie Kaufman play Anomalisa, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman. The play concerns Michael, a motivational speaker who experiences great success in motivating others while leading a completely worthless and pointless life himself.
Of the original cast, David Thewlis, Tom Noonan and Jennifer Jason Leigh will appear in the 50 minute film, scripted and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman alongside Duke Johnson. The film is notable for being financed entirely through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, raising double the required budget of $200,000 (making $400,000, maths whizz) and ensuring great times for all. HanWay will be taking the film to Cannes, and Duke Johnson has promised to “bring a new style of animation to an audience for whom animated films are not usually made – adultineers,” whatever that means.
Of course, Anomalisa will be Charlie Kaufman’s first animated film, and also his first film since 2008’s Synecdoche, New York. The film’s Kickstarter page featured funding tiers ranging from $5 (83 backers) to an enormous $10,000 (5 backers). It raised $100,000 in its first 48 hours on the site, with the help of a snazzy production video and the fact that Charlie Kaufman’s name is attached, a factor that has surely not been overlooked by Starburns Industries, the production company behind this film. The man is known for his dedication to great work and authenticity as well as mind-bending feats of narrative magic, and he is one of only a few names that acts as a stamp of quality on the project they are involved in.
Production is handled by Starburns Industries, a collaboration between seasoned animation producers Joe Russo II (The Simpsons, Rug Rats), James A. Fino (King of the Hill), Dan Harmon (NBC’s Community, Monster House, Channel 101) and Dino Stamatopoulos (HBO’s Mr. Show, Conan), so the animation pedigree is there for all to see.
There’s no definite word as of yet when it will be released, but it’s an exciting project. It’s difficult to say how Anomalisa could possibly go wrong with such a talented cast and crew but, of course, the famously morose Charlie Kaufman might disagree. But then again, maybe Charlie Kaufman doesn’t exist. Maybe nobody exists. Maybe only Charlie Kaufman exists and we’re all figments of Charlie Kaufman’s mind. Maybe the world is a loop and only Charlie Kaufman sees it.