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2.5 Hours Of Charlie Kaufman Yappin'? Yes, Please!

Beaks here... Got two-and-a-half hours to spare? I don't, but when I do get a little downtime, I plan on listening to every minute of Jason Tanz's audio interview with Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman is a notoriously nervous interview subject (the sweating bit from ADAPTATION isn't a bit at all), but if you can engage him intellectually, you'll quickly find that he's sensationally self-critical and, shock of shocks, really fucking funny. I say this not from experience (I've only participated in a roundtable interview with Kaufman, and that was dreadful), but from watching Charlie Rose. Hopefully, I'll get the opportunity to see SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK before Sony Pictures Classics tries their luck with a limited release on October 24th. The responses have been very mixed, something Kaufman uneasily acknowledges at the outset of Tanz's interview (as a coffee grinder rages in the background; I've transcribed - am currently transcribing - over worse). But even if Kaufman's gotten lost in his own head this time out, puzzling over his ambitious failure would be preferable to wasting two hours on anonymous studio product. And I'm aware that Wired posted the audio a week ago. This is just a heads up for all of you who can't spend every waking hour scouring the internet for cool shit (which means you probably don't have two-and-a-half hours to spare either, but whatever).

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 16, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Okay, I'll see this...

    by LordPorkington

    The day that Hell freezes over.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    I've heard his directorial debut is unwatchable

    by Garbageman33

    Of course, I've also heard it's genius.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST


    by The InSneider

    that's right. it's an interesting but excruciating sit and i can honestly say i'll never watch that movie again. ever.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST

    I'm thinking of becoming a transvestite.

    by cookylamoo

    Oh wait, wrong board.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Don't care how much of a mess this is...

    by Henry_Krinkle_from_FairLawn

    I think CK is 1 of the most talented original minds in hollywood. Granted, thats like being the smartest guy with down syndrome (sorry to quote waiting) but atleast he's making his own vision come alive instead of a concoction of several hundred focus groups. Adaptation is still quite awesome.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST


    by LordPorkington

    Seriously, how lazy does a person have to be to type the number '1' instead of just writing 'one'? Strangely you typed out the word 'hundred' though. You're quite the enigma.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I don't have time to scour the nets

    by pokadoo

    ...for cool shit, and dont get fanboys whining about news being old. This is pretty much the only site I check everyday so it's much appreciated, Beaks. Look forward to hearing this(when I have spare time, Kaufman is genius.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST

    It actually takes MORE effort

    by IForgotAbout19

    to type 1, than to type one. I just experimented, using myself as a test subject, and the first time I tied I hit ` instead...

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST


    by IForgotAbout19

    Is also hard to type

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Oh, and

    by IForgotAbout19

    Kaufman is genius, although admittedly the first one was pretty amateurish.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    by AllieJamison

    Lol ...the interview definitely starts out great. There's a quite intriguing informal and low key (super-loud café-noises in the background)atmosphere about it.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Haha the gay waiter walks in on the conversation...

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    Now he's a star! I look forward to seeing this film. I imagine it's one of those, difficult follow up movies.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST

    by AllieJamison

    God bless the internet for giving us uncut interviews and the silence of Charlie Kaufmann thinking about what sandwich he should order for lunch. Seriously. The interview is absolutely fantastic.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Does anyone wonder if Kauffman is talking about Juno

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    When he complains about fake indie movies?

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 3:27 p.m. CST

    More great audio interviews...

    by JackLint Interviews from the recent CineVegas Film Festival. Viggo's is really great. He talks alot about the upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I think you're supposed to spell out any number that you can write with two words, and use numerals for anything more than that. For technial writing (APA format), you're supposed to spell out numbers below 10 and use numerals for 10 and above. English is fun.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Hey Charlie....

    by Smerdyakov

    Thanks for getting Judy Greer to take off her top for no reason.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 5:38 p.m. CST

    isnt he sneaking and talking this at USC soon?

    by JRKerr

    is somebody from aicn going to crash that and report back?

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 5:57 p.m. CST

    I've already listened trough the whole thing...

    by technoman

    ...and it's worth every second. I was wondering if he meant "Little Miss Sunshine" when talking about "Fake Indie Movies". Funny how he never uttered the words "George Clooney" when talking about "Confessions". I'm very interested in now seing it, and "Human Nature". And of course, I'm expecting "Synecdoche" to be a magnum opus that also breaks my heart. Let's see. I've heard it's got a warehouse inside a warehouse inside a warehouse, so things will get interesting... :-)

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 6:21 p.m. CST

    2 hours of an overrated hack!

    by criticalbliss

    Yep, you heard me. The guy's only successful film was hijacked by Clooney (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). The rest of his stuff is structurally flawed, navel-gazing pablum with hollow, cardboard characters and bullshit endings. He manages to ruin every interesting premise and conceit he touches... Great.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Charlie Kaufman loves 30 Rock...

    by DanielKurland

    Saw him interviewed on The Hour last week, and he mentioned how he loves the show, and it makes him laugh out loud. I personally don't like it, but I think it's an interesting piece of information. He also said that Schnecdoche was what he wrote when he was asked to write a horror film.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    "Hollow, cardboard characters"??....

    by DanielKurland

    Have you seen Eternal Sunshine?

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 6:38 p.m. CST


    by RockLobster800

    dont worry, you wont have to see THESE (lifts shirt) anymore!!....thanks man for the opening to make an Arrested Development, I am in your debt :)

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 6:43 p.m. CST

    or an arrested development REFERENCE...

    by RockLobster800

    curse my typing skills-leaving out a letter is one thing, but an whole word...damn. And is there still Juno hate bubbling up? Ive been an indie film fan all my life, and Ive gone from Cassavettes to the Coens and while I know that Juno was overhyped,but Jesus guys, it was a nice little flick, no more, no less, and I enjoyed it...cant we leave it at that?

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Awesome, thanks

    by BrandLoyalist

    I have loads of headphone and car stereo time to fill

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 7:30 p.m. CST

    When I first rented Human Nature

    by Mockingbuddha

    The video Clerk told me not to rent it. He told me to rent Pluto Nash (not sure about that title, that Eddie Murphy sci-fi thing, never saw it). I told him I was going to rent it anyway. Then when I went to rent it again later so I could watch it with my girlfriend, (now wife), I rented the same copy and a different clerk told me not to watch it. I told her I was renting it again and I loved it. Then later I was at the same video store and they had put it in the used dvd for sale bin. They sold their only copy! So I bought it. Man I love that movie, and I think I may be the only one in Memphis that rented it from that particular store. "We'll be sure to pass some legislation on this issue as soon as possible." is my favorite line, though I think I misquoted it.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 8:50 p.m. CST


    by greyspecter

    is my favorite film of his, though Being John Malkovich is pure yummy gold, and ETotSM is good too. Stranger than Fiction was trying to do what Adaptation succeeded doing by accidental design.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 10:24 p.m. CST

    How can anyone call Eternal Sunshine hollow

    by Lovecraftfan

    The scene at the disintergrating beachouse at the end has more emotion than most films. anyone who says that Kaufman films are hollow with cardboard characters I have to wonder if they've seen Eternal Sunshine

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 7:02 a.m. CST

    I'll have to torrent for Synedoche New York

    by ricarleite

    Mostly because this has been his most obscure project and will not, in any way, be showing in my area. He is the only screenwriter in Hollywood I TOTALLY trust to do something good, but I have my doubts about his first directing effort... We shall see.

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Synecdoche, NY is BRILLIANT

    by themovieslave

    I don't understand the "mixed reviews". I saw the film at this year's Sarajevo Film Festival and it is remarkable! Plus: I got to meet Charlie and he IS funny (and nervous!). ;)