UPDATED: FX has passed on How And Why, its comedy pilot written, directed and executive produced by Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman. The project, which starred John Hawkes, Michael Cera, Sally Hawkins and Catherine Keener, told the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life. While FX brass are fans of Kaufman and liked the finished product, which came in at close to an hour, I hear they felt the show, with its very unusual mix of comedy and drama, would not mesh well with the rest of the lineup. The pilot has been shopped to other outlets. FX currently has only one active live-action comedy pilot, the untitled Zach Galifianakis project, which was just finished and is expected to get word soon. On the drama side, Kurt Sutter’s Bastard Executioner will shoot early next year in London.
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Marcella Plunkett (Dark Touch) has been booked as a recurring on FX‘s How And Why, from Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich). It tells the story of Goodman Hesselman (John Hawkes), who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life. After losing his gig hosting children’s science show How And Why, he tries to start over with a new show in a little TV market in the middle of nowhere when he encounters the supernatural world. We hear Plunkett is playing two roles, Cynthia, a photographer at Goodman’s new TV station in Murfreesboro, and Magda, Mendelson’s (Michael Cera) secretary, whose day is spent in a cramped, tiny room, not much bigger than her desk. Plunkett is with Radius Entertainment and Lisa Richards Agency in Ireland.
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FX Networks has greenlighted How And Why, a half-hour comedy pilot from Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman. It tells the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life. Kaufman will write and direct the pilot and serve as executive producer. FX Prods will produce. How And Why joins another recently ordered FX comedy pilot, animated Chozen from Grant Dekernion, Danny McBride and the team behind Eastbound & Down. Dekernion is writing and executive producing Chozen, about a white rapper, recently out of prison, who uses his new survival skills in his quest for redemption. McBride and Rough House Pictures will executive produce with Floyd County Prods. Characters will be voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan, Michael Pena, Hannibal Buress, Kathryn Hahn, Nick Swardson and McBride. FX Prods is producing.
Related: FX Greenlights ‘Fargo’ Limited Series, Lines Up Slew Of Event Series In Development
Charlie Kaufman and his producing partners — former Community showrunner Dan Harmon and Dino Stamatopoulos — do not want to deal with Hollywood, and now at least for one project they don’t have to. A stop-motion animation adaptation of the Kaufman-written play Anomalisa raised $406,237 for the film’s production in 60 days via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. “We want to make Anomalisa without the interference of the typical big-studio process,” according to a pitch video that Harmon and Stamatopoulos’ Starburns Industries put up on the project page. The film raised more than double the money the producers were asking from 5,770 Kickstarter backers. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Frequent feature collaborators Charlie Kaufman and Catherine Keener are teaming for a TV series project. In a competitive situation, a half-hour comedy starring Oscar nominee Keener and to be written and directed by Oscar winner Kaufman has landed at HBO, which has put it on fast-track development. The untitled comedy is described as an exploration of one day in a woman’s life and how the events leading up to it can affect, or not, the reality in which she lives. Kaufman is executive producing; Keener serves as producer.
Over the last decade, Keener had been frequently pursued to do TV series, something she had declined to do until now. For her first series starring vehicle, she opted to team with a writer-director whom she has worked with before and who knows her well. Keener starred in Kaufman’s feature directorial debut Synecdoche, New York. She appeared in two movies written by him – Synecdoche and Being John Malkovich – and also did a cameo in the Kaufman-penned Adaptation. Keener also is set to co-star in Kaufman’s next movie, Frank Or Francis, opposite Steve Carell and Jack Black. Both Keener and Kaufman earned Oscar nominations for Being John Malkovich. Gersh-repped Keener also was nominated for Capote; WME-repped Kaufman was nominated for Adaptation and won a best screenplay Oscar for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is putting that cosmic mind of his toward his first book. Kaufman, whose scripts include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Human Nature and Being John Malkovich, has just closed a deal for his first novel for Grand Central Publishing, I’m told. The subject of the novel is being kept under wraps, which is probably just as well since it is pretty close to impossible to log line any of his original script creations anyway, even if you try after seeing his wonderfully imaginative movies. Kaufman takes this on even as he continues to develop to direct his script Frank or Francis, a Hollywood satire set to music where a film director feuds with a blogger and…oh, never mind, what the hell does that mean anyway? Nic Cage, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Banks, Catherine Keener, Jack Black, Kevin Kline and Paul Reubens are all circling that one. Kaufman is repped by WME.
BREAKING: Charlie Kaufman is attaching Jack Black and Nicolas Cage and is talking to Steve Carell to star in Frank Or Francis, the next film Kaufman will direct. Kaufman’s projects are always shrouded in mystery (sometimes even after you’ve seen them), but they are always compelling and this one’s gearing up for a 2012 start. After writing scripts that included Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman made his helming debut on his script Synecdoche, New York.
Cage previously starred in the Kaufman-scripted Adaptation, the adaptation of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. Black, who most recently starred in the indie Bernie, sort of worked with Kaufman in that he did script work on Kung Fu Panda 2. and Carell (who’s about to open in Crazy, Stupid, Love) is working with Kaufman for the first time. UPDATE: I’m told that Carell and Kaufman actually worked together back in 1996 on The Dana Carvey Show, so everybody knows everybody. Kaufman, Black and Carell are repped by WME, Cage by CAA.
The pic is being mounted as an indie that’s our to financiers and will be produced by Anthony Bregman.
EXCLUSIVE: Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures is negotiating to acquire an untitled satire that will re-team screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze, the tandem behind the mind-benders Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. The project was pitched recently to financiers, and I’m told it’s a satire about how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds, from oil prices to wars that will be waged. Ellison, the daughter of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and sister of Paramount-based financier-producer David Ellison, has become an active buyer of tastemaker film projects that include The Wettest County in the World and Cogan’s Trade, as well as one of the projects mobilizing on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. She bought the Wong Kar-Wai-directed martial arts pic Grandmasters, and was an executive producer on the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed True Grit, which became a Best Picture Oscar nominee.
It’s not the only Kaufman project in the mix. I’m told he’s looking to direct his script Frank Or Francis. The film chronicles a volatile back and forth between a film director (Frank) and an online blogger (Francis), who takes delight in berating his cinematic talent. The project’s at Sony Pictures for the moment, and names like Adaptation’s Meryl Streep being talked about for roles.
Jonze and Ellison are repped by CAA, Kaufman by WME.
He was repped for 15 years by UTA, and again this is a case of an agency having done right by a loyal and longtime client. After all, Charlie Kaufman writes some of Hollywood’s quirkiest screenplays and yet UTA helped them get made, from Being John Malkovich to Adaptation, to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, as well as put together his directorial debut in Synecdoche, New York. Kaufman has now signed with WME.