Heat Vision has broken the (rather unexpected) news that Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has just completed work on the script to Dreamwork's upcoming martial arts sequel Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom.
The sequel to the 2008 computer-animated hit Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2 continues to follow the adventures of Po the Panda (Jack Black), his Sensei Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), and the other animal masters of self defense (Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, and David Cross). The Kung Fu fighters must now face a new deadly enemy who bears a weapon of insurmountable power - presumably the (shudder-inducing ;-) ) titular Kaboom of Doom.
The original Kung Fu Panda was generally well received by critics and moviegoers alike and grossed over $631 million worldwide. It was a fun, colorfully animated feature that - in addition to being good family-friendly entertainment - paid homage to several stylistic and thematic elements commonly found in martial arts flicks of the 1960s and 70s.
As a screenwriter, Kaufman is known for producing off-beat projects that deal with ideas such as metaphysics and existentialism (Being John Malkovitch), the self-reflexive nature of art (Adaptation), and the subjective nature of human memory (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). The notion of him working on the script for a talking animal-centric cartoon is intriguing, to say the least.
Neither the concept for nor the bulk of the Kung Fu Panda sequel's screenplay was written by Kaufman - instead, his contribution amounted to two weeks of polish work. It will be interesting to see if the finished product reflects his previous work in any significant fashion all the same.
Could this be the beginning of a move on Kaufman's part to take on more widely-accessible film projects as a means of expanding his range? Possibly, but I wouldn't count on the auteur responsible for the 2008 mind-bending "horror" film Synecdoche, New York to abandon his experimental mode of writing anytime soon.
Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom makes its way into theaters in the U.S. on June 3, 2011.