meta stunts

‘Wired’ Writes About Writing About Charlie Kaufman

Campbell (left) with outgoing director Philippe de Montebello.

Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, doesn’t hit theaters until October, which means we have some time before the inevitable glut of wonky concept articles and reviews inspired by the filmmaker’s meta-workouts. But Wired may have already outdone the competition: On their Storyboard blog, Jason Tanz, the writer working on the magazine’s upcoming Kaufman profile, along with his editor, Nancy Miller, have been documenting the process’s every step. Calling it “a profile of a profile” is probably pushing things a bit — it’s more, we suppose, a blog of a profile — but it’s still pretty cool! They’ve got the initial pitch e-mail, the assignment letter, video of edit meetings, details from negotiations for interview time, and all manner of inane back-and-forth e-mails (“I wonder what he’s going to eat,” “I think I feel pretty good about the angle,” etc.). This morning, Tanz even posted his rough draft.

There are some great bits, including the nuts explanation of the plot of Synecdoche, which we’d already read and still don’t really understand: “The film revolves around theater director Caden Cotard … who attempts to capture the ‘brutal truth’ of his own existence by staging a life-sized, real-time recreation of it. He casts an actor to play him, who then must cast an actor to play him, and so on ad infinitum.” But this sort of thing is apparently what happens when Kaufman is left alone to his own devices; the pre–Spike Jonze–workshopped ending of Being John Malkovich had the John Cusack character “engaging in a puppeteering duel with the devil, who enters Malkovich’s body and rules earth like a tyrant.”

The Rough Draft [Storyboard/Wired]

‘Wired’ Writes About Writing About Charlie Kaufman