While screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze’s new teamup has been picked up by Warner Bros. and secured Joaquin Phoenix to star, there’s been little word about the next project to be scripted and helmed by Kaufman, Frank or Francis.
Now, however, there seems to be some progress on that front as well, as Kaufman is reportedly attaching two well-known funnymen – and one (not always intentionally) eccentric Oscar-winner – to star in the piece.
Deadline is reporting that Kaufman has attached both Jack Black and Nicolas Cage (who starred in the Kaufman-scripted Adaptation) to Frank or Francis, which would mark the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s second turn in the director’s chair, after Synecdoche, New York. Kaufman is also in talks with Steve Carell to join Frank or Francis; chances are good, the (former) Office leading man will also be joining the party.
In typical Kaufman fashion, few concrete details have been revealed about Frank or Francis. However, the script is said to be a satirical musical that revolves around a respected filmmaker (Francis) and the deviant blogger who continually bashes his work with glee.
There’s a Kevin Smith joke in there somewhere, but we’ll pass on making it – for now.
Kaufman, the filmmaker, is actually quite similar to Woody Allen, in the sense that:
- Both are highly decorated auteurs whose work (Kaufman’s mind-benders and Allen’s comedies-of-manners) tends to appeal to a less mainstream demographic.
- Kaufman has encountered little difficulty in getting big or popular stars to sign on for his projects – as has Allen, even though his critical standing has diminished significantly over the past decade.
On that note: Black, Cage, and Carell starring in Kaufman’s latest off-beat movie isn’t so odd a move as it might seem at first. Black has actually worked in the area of indie film before (see: Margot at the Wedding), while Cage fans should be glad to see him tackling artsier material again – since he’s worked primarily on pulpy fare over the past several years (see: Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, etc.). Carell, likewise, has also shown off his dramatic acting chops before, in movies like Little Miss Sunshine.
We’ll let you know when there’s more official information about Frank or Francis, but for now – who wants to take bets that Black will be playing the obnoxious blogger?