Charlie Kaufman Releasing Debut Novel About a Failed Film Critic – First Details

Details for Kaufman's first novel, "Antkind," have been revealed by Entertainment Weekly, and of course it's described as an "epic mind-f**k."
Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman
Mark Davis/2015 Getty Image

It seemed inevitable Charlie Kaufman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” would publish a novel, and as announced by Entertainment Weekly, it’s aptly about a failed film critic. Kaufman’s latest sad sack is the protagonist of “Antkind,” which Random House acquired in 2012 and will release in May 2020. According to the publisher, it’s 720 pages, and described as a “mind-bending opus” — and why would you expect anything less from the man who penned “Being John Malkovich,” and wrote and directed “Synecdoche, New York”?

Here’s the synopsis from Random House: “B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and under-appreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider — a film he’s convinced will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core. His hands on what is possibly the greatest movie ever made, a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: The film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius.

“All that’s left of this work of art is a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the film that just might be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter. A searing indictment of the modern world, ‘Antkind’ is a richly layered meditation on art, time, memory, identity, comedy, and the very nature of existence itself — the grain of truth at the heart of every joke.”

Ben Greenberg, VP and executive editor at Random House, told EW: “I’ve been talking to Charlie about this novel for almost eight years and watching it change and recalibrate and grow. Antkind is a hilarious, devastating, epic mindf**k. I’ve never read anything else like it.”

So as we wait for “Antkind” to be released next year, Charlie Kaufman has a Netflix movie in the works, coming to the platform some time next year. It’s an adaptation of Ian Reid’s novel “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” a relationship nightmare story starring Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, David Thewlis, and Toni Colette. Kaufman’s last film project was the 2015 stop-motion-animated “Anomalisa,” co-directed with Duke Johnson.


Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.