Few screenwriters burst onto the film scene with as much creative capacity as Charlie Kaufman, the mind behind Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. However, the scribe has kept a low profile since directing 2008’s Synecdoche, New York. Despite murmurs about helming the musical comedy Frank or Francis with Jack Black, Kaufman could not get that project off the ground.
Alas, fans of his brainy, soulful, surreal works of comedy can finally breathe easy, as FX has just picked up a new half-hour comedy pilot from Kaufman, entitled How and Why. Michael Cera and John Hawkes are already signed on to appear in the pilot, which Kaufman will write, direct and executive produce.
With a screenwriter as renowned and imaginative as Kaufman behind the project, as well as his eye behind the lens, the main story is not “who” is in How and Why, but “what” is the plot synopsis? According to Deadline, the pilot will focus on Goodman Hesselman, played by Hawkes, the host of a children’s science show called How and Why. Despite his intelligence, he has few personal skills and is left to fend for himself after he is forced to start over with a different TV program, working in a small town for a much younger boss (played by Cera). However, things get awry when Hesselman encounters elements of the supernatural world during this new excursion.
How and Why is not Kaufman’s first foray into television, as he began his career as a writer working for The Dana Carvey Show and The Edge in the early-to-mid 1990s. Both Cera and Hawkes owe much of their careers to the small screen as well, the former from his Arrested Development fame and the latter with his strong supporting work on Deadwood and Eastbound and Down.
The How and Why pilot is set to film this spring in North Carolina. In the meantime, Kaufman is currently working on Anomalisa, a stop-motion animated short that Community creator Dan Harmon is executive producing.
Tell us, are you excited for Kaufman’s upcoming television effort?