The relationship between director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman has resulted in two of the greatest meta-comedies of all time: 1999’s “Being John Malkovich” and 2002’s “Adaptation.” And while the two have tackled their own projects in recent years with Jonze bringing the wild, tortured heart of “Where The Wild Things Are” to the big screen and Kaufman directing his personal project “Synecdoche, New York” (which Jonze produced and at one time, was considering directing), it looks like the duo are set re-team in their familiar roles as director and writer.
The LA Times reports that they are currently pitching a project around the details of which are being kept tightly under wraps. The project is not the ambitious “Frank or Francis” which is currently set up at Sony. That film is a musical and Hollywood satire rolled into one about “a director embraced for broadly commercial hits resents his success and wants to be considered an auteur and artiste.” The narrative structure apparently is not unlike “Adaptation.” and while it sounds intriguing, we can totally see why a big studio doesn’t have an itchy trigger finger to get it going.
The news of Kaufman and Jonze reteaming is a bit of reversal for the former, who just last year told Filmmaker Magazine, “I don‘t know how I could go back to giving [one of my scripts] to another director unless I have to. Although I‘ve worked with three directors and enjoyed working with two of them a lot, I feel like this is my stuff and I‘ve got a taste for doing it and controlling it and not having to answer to people.”
We suppose the tepid critical and commercial reception for Kaufman’s sprawling ‘Synecdoche’ hasn’t exactly kicked a lot of doors open and he’s going back to a director with whom he’s shared his greatest career success and certainly understands how to navigate Kaufman’s emotionally and narratively complex work.
It’s exciting news and we hope financiers show an interest; it’s a pairing due for a welcome return. But for now, we’ll await “Kung Fu Panda 2,” a film which Kaufman did a script polish on. Seriously. We really hope he snuck in a monologue about writer’s block somewhere in there.