I have been to the dark side and back! I have seen a world that no man should see! —John Malkovich, Being John Malkovich
It’s been over a decade since Being John Malkovich wriggled through the existential wormhole that connects Charlie Kaufman’s brain with American cineplexes and still its electrifying inventiveness remains largely unrivaled. So original and bizarre was almost every facet of the Spike Jonze-helmed horror comedy that the existence of an office building with an appropriately proportioned 7th ½ floor registered as barely more than a footnote in its narrative. Hailed upon its release in 1999 as one of Hollywood’s most wickedly innovative triumphs, Being John Malkovich [...]
Charlie Kaufman isn’t exactly an impersonal writer. His attempts to adapt The Orchid Thief turned into Adaptation., a movie about a painfully self-aware screenwriter named “Charlie Kaufman” falling apart while attempting to adapt The Orchid Thief. It’s a struggle to imagine Kaufman, either fictionalized or IRL, thriving in the anonymous and often abrasive environment of a sitcom writer’s room. So it’s surprising that, before breaking into screenwriting, Kaufman worked in television for almost a decade, staffing on sketch shows like The Dana Carvey Show and The Edge and sitcoms like Get A Life and Ned & Stacey.
There’s evidence to support the idea that Kaufman might not have thrived [...]