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Charlie Kaufman to Adapt and Direct Netflix Original Film ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’

The source material is Iain Reid's 2016 novel.

Charlie Kaufman

Charlie Kaufman

Mark Davis/2015 Getty Image

Charlie Kaufman is readying his first script for Netflix. The Oscar-winning “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” screenwriter will adapt “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” the 2016 bestselling novel from first-time Canadian author Iain Reid, who is slated to co-produce. Kaufman will direct the Netflix original film, reteaming with his “Eternal Sunshine,” “Human Nature,” and “Synedoche, New York” producer, Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman.

“Charlie is a singular talent with a formidable artistic vision,” said Scott Stuber, head of original films at Netflix, which had a huge hit last month with “Bright.” “He has the rare ability to tell unique stories in a universal way. ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is a chilling thriller and we can’t wait to share Charlie’s adaptation with audiences everywhere.” 

The narrator, an unnamed woman, alerts readers that she’s suicidal while en route to meet her boyfriend Jake’s parents on their farm. Before they reach their destination, Jake deserts her and drives off alone. Kaufman’s praise currently appears on the book’s back cover: “An ingeniously twisted nightmare road trip through the fragile psyche of two young lovers. My kind of fun!”

Previously, he adapted two non-fiction tomes for the screen, both in 2002: Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession” begat “Adaptation,” while Chuck Barris’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” resulted in a feature of the same name.

“Adaptation” earned Kaufman an adapted screenplay Oscar nomination. Three years earlier, he was nominated for his original “Being John Malkovich” screenplay. Most recently, he was nominated in 2016 for writing and co-directing the animated feature “Anomalisa.”

Also upcoming from Kaufman is “Chaos Walking,” which will be released theatrically in March 2019. Kaufman collaborated on the Doug Liman-directed script, set in a dystopian world without women. That cast includes Daisy Ridley (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”), Tom Holland (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), and David Oyelowo (“Selma”).

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