Director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman – the eccentric minds who dove into John Malkovich’s consciousness and Nicolas Cage’s approach to writing – will rejoin forces for an as-yet-untitled satire that looks to be acquired by Oracle heiress Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.
That means there are now two Kaufman-penned pics in the works, along with Frank Or Francis, a bitingly dark musical piece that the screenwriter reportedly wants to direct as well.
Details were scant back when Jonze and Kaufman had begun shopping their new project around to studios at the end of 2010, but now Deadline has unveiled a few tidbits about the (officially) nameless work. It basically sounds like a Dr. Strangelove breed of political satire about a gathering of world leaders who seek to address issues like the rising price of oil and what wars ought to be waged in the future.
Ellison has been making a name for herself in the film industry of late, serving as executive producer on True Grit and financing upcoming projects like Cogan’s Trade, and potentially both of P.T. Anderson’s new films. Backing the latest joint effort from the duo responsible for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation should only further improve her standing.
Kaufman’s scripts tend to be very bizarre, metaphysical mind-flips (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind being the exception – sort of), and arguably none more so than his last picture, Synecdoche, New York. Most people who see that flick seem to walk away either infuriatingly befuddled or absolutely in love with the film (see Roger Ebert’s review for a good example of the latter). The fact that Kaufman also directed Synecdoche split his fans with regards to whether or not he ought to work solo more often, or stick to collaborating with other directors.
Both of Kaufman’s teamups with Jonze are held in high regard, so the news that the two are joining forces once more should be happily received by the general moviegoing population. Add the news about Kaufman’s Frank Or Francis – which revolves around a filmmaker and the deviant blogger who loves to badmouth his work – possibly featuring Meryl Streep in a role, and it’s a good time for those eagerly awaiting the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind writer’s newest creations.
If there are any contemporary cinematic artists at work who could enter Stanley Kubrick territory of dark political comedy and come up with their own memorable results, it’s Jonze and Kaufman. Those two may not be to everyone’s tastes, but they very much have a style that’s all their own.
Look for their new film to gain an official title soon, and stay tuned to hear more about the development of Frank Or Francis in the future as well.