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Charlie Kaufman’s Next Projects Include Turning His Unmade Steve Carell Movie into HBO Series

One is for Ryan Gosling's production company. Another is his long-teased adaptation of "IQ83" about a virus that causes stupidity.

Awarded U.S. scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman attends a press conference at the 51st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 8, 2016. Photo/Slavomir Kubes (CTK via AP Images)

Charlie Kaufman

AP

Charlie Kaufman’s upcoming Netflix movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (streaming September 4) is one of the most highly anticipated films of the 2020 fall movie season. The movie is only Kaufman’s second live-action directorial feature after 2008’s “Synecdoche, New York,” and it is his first screen project in half a decade (his last release was 2015’s animated film “Anomalisa”). The wait for Kaufman’s “Ending Things” follow-up might not take as long as Variety confirms the writer-director is currently at work on two projects: “Memory Police” and “IQ83.”

“Memory Police” is “a script about dreams” and based on Yōko Ogawa’s 1994 Japanese novel of the same name. Variety reports the project is in development with Ryan Gosling’s production company Arcana. The second project, “IQ83,” is based on the Arthur Herzog book of the same name and is being developed as “a limited series for HBO.” The novel takes place in a world where a virus spreads across the population and causes stupidity.

Kaufman fans know “IQ83” has been something of a long-gestating project for the writer-director. The script was originally written by Kaufman as a feature film but now seems to be under a reworking as a limited series. Deadline reported back in October 2014 that Kaufman would be writing the “IQ83” movie, which Paramount Pictures was developing as a vehicle for Steve Carell. While Herzog’s novel is serious science-fiction, Kaufman’s version was described as “scathing satire” similar to Stanley Kubrick’s “Doctor Strangelove.” The film never materialized, nor did the Kaufman-Carell musical project “Frank or Francis.”

In an interview earlier this month with Collider, Kaufman said the limited series was based on the original script he wrote for “IQ83.” The director added, “I’m actually developing it for [HBO], so it’s possible that it’s going to happen, [but] I don’t know that it’s going to happen. But I’m very interested in it because of the circumstances in which we live. I’m very interested in exploring the notion of that, and treating it as kind of a metaphor.”

The “IQ83” series brings Kaufman back to TV development following his FX pilot “Here and Why,” which the network passed on in July 2014. Kaufman’s longtime producer Anthony Bregman told Variety the pilot “was brilliant, but it wasn’t cheap and it wasn’t for everyone, and that’s the tricky thing.” Kaufman shot the pilot with John Hawkes and Michael Cera in the lead roles.

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