For the last few weeks Wired magazine editor and writer Jason Tanz has been previewing the magazine’s upcoming Charlie Kaufman profile on their Storyboard blog. Basically, in true meta-Kaufman style, Tanz has made the entire writing process (or most of it, at least) transparent to the reader, showing us what goes into an article like this from initial conception, editorial emails, contacts with Kaufman’s publicist, the full audio interview with Kaufman himself, and all the rest. Tanz got a hold of me via email a few weeks ago and interviewed me as well… though it doesn’t look like I made the final cut. Perhaps there will be more about Kaufman and his directorial debut in the actual hardcopy issue of Wired when it hits the stands in a few weeks. Or not.
Meanwhile, here’s the official trailer to Kaufman’s new film Synecdoche, New York which opens in the US on October 24:
One of the great true Hollywood stars has died. Although Newman’s film appearances were rare the last couple of decades… the body of work, the iconic roles he left behind is impressive. Here’s a clip from my favorite Newman movie, Martin Ritt’s Cool Hand Luke (1967). Now… if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a parking meter to vandalize and 50 hardboiled eggs to gulp down.
It’s without a doubt a desert island movie for me. I’ll leave the other two installments from the Euro horror anthology film Spirits of the Dead (1968), directed by Roger Vadim and Louis Malle respectively, at the pier… but Fellini’s is coming with me. Vadim’s and Malle’s episodes are perfectly fine from what I remember. It’s just that Fellini’s tour de force, Toby Dammit, is masterful–seeped in burned-out psychedelia, fueled by a terrific performance by Terence Stamp (was he ever better?), and is truly unsettling as we watch a seedy, boozed-soaked English actor played by Stamp journey to Rome to… well, you’ll have to find out what happens. Clocking in at around 45-minutes, the short is a nightmarish, blackly humorous downward spiral that delivers in legion what many a longer horror film is limp to accomplish in twice the length. It also contains one of the great, antithetical interpretations of the Devil ever… albeit one swiped with gratitude from Mario Bava’s equally masterful 1966 film Kill, Baby… Kill! which also featured a little girl in the role of the Great Deceiver.
This clip, showing Toby painfully having to make an appearance at an awards ceremony, is one of my favorite scenes. And it’s particularly gratifying to view it since it showcases the original soundtrack, letting us finally hear Stamp in his native English tongue. Currently, the only DVD that is available in the States is of the French soundtrack which is a dub when it comes to the Fellini episode (it should be in Italian, French, and English).
Now that my book, Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood’s Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists and Dreamers, is out in the US, Edward Appleby over at The Rushmore Academy has conducted an interview with me for the site. There should also be a trivia question/book giveaway coming up soon as well, so keep checking back over there for a chance to win a free copy of my book.
I realize I’ve been a bit slack putting up any new posts… but that’ll change in the next day or so. See you all then!