Last year, we reported that FX had ordered a pilot for How and Why, a half-hour comedy pilot from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind writer Charlie Kaufman. Today, Deadline is reporting that the show will have two great lead actors in John Hawkes and Michael Cera. The brief logline is that the show “tells the story of a man (Hawkes) who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life.” Since this is from the mind of Kaufman, who also wrote Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Synecdoche, New York, I’m assuming it’s nowhere near that simple. While neither Hawkes nor Cera are strangers to television, I’ll be excited to see how they play off each other (assuming they actually share the screen; with Kaufman, it’s best to leave expectations aside).
Kaufman will write and direct the pilot as well as executive produce, but there’s currently no air date. Assuming the series is picked up, and FX is willing to give Kaufman as much freedom as they’ve given Louis C.K. on Louie, then How and Why could be amazing, or at least unlike anything else on television.
We’ve got a few casting stories to share today. Briefly:
- Michael Caine and Jennifer Garner have boarded the aging rock star film Imagine, joining Al Pacino, Annette Bening, and Bobby Cannavale in the cast.
- Samuel L. Jackson will play the President of the United States in the actioner Big Game.
- Jennifer Jason Leigh (Weeds), David Thewlis (Harry Potter), and Tom Noonan (Heat) will reprise their roles from the stage play version of Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa in the animated feature film adaptation, which Kaufman is co-directing.
Hit the jump for more on each of these projects.
FX, home of Sons of Anarchy, Justified, and The Americans (which has already been picked up for a second season), just exploded with information about new spin-off channels, series renewals, new series and more, such as:
- FX has launched a new network, FXX, to appeal to a young adult set of viewers.
- Series renewals include Justified, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League and Legit, with the latter three moving to FXX in 2014.
- Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell expands to a 5-nights-a week.
- FX orders a 10-episode limited series of Fargo.
- FX orders comedy pilots How and Why from Charlie Kaufman, and Chozen from Grant Dekernion, Danny McBride and the team behind Eastbound & Down.
Hit the jump for all the details.
Fans of NBC’s Community await the upcoming fourth season with mixed emotions, as we’ll be seeing a version of the show not spearheaded by showrunner/creative wizard Dan Harmon. As you probably know by now, Harmon was not-so-quietly ousted from his showrunner position by Sony and NBC and replaced by new producers that have no history with the oddball series.
In the wake of his exit, Harmon has signed blind deals to create new half-hour comedies at both Fox and CBS and he’s also developing a stop-motion animated feature from the mind of Charlie Kaufman called Anomalisa. Harmon recently took part in a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”), and he candidly discussed circumstances surrounding his exit from Community, his plans for season four, why he wrote the season three finale as a semi-series finale, difficulties with Chevy Chase, the status of his project with Charlie Kaufman, and more. Hit the jump to read on.
This is what Kickstarter is meant for. Community creator Dan Harmon encountered trouble working within the system, so he has turned to the public to fund a very exciting new project, Anomalisa. Charlie Kaufman scripted the stop-motion animated film about a motivational speaker who travels the country, but his life has become meaningless: “Suddenly one day, a girl’s voice pierces through the veil of nothingness. She fills him with such a rush of ‘aliveness’, he’s willing to abandon everything and everyone, including his own family, and escape with her to a better life.”
As if Harmon and Kaufman weren’t enough, Dino Stamatopoulos is also producing. You may know him best as Starburns on Community, but Stamatopoulos is also the authority on iconoclastic stop-motion animation. He helped Harmon write the Community stop-motion Christmas special and created Moral Orel and Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole, two gems in the Adult Swim catalog. Duke Johnson of Starburns Industries will direct and executive produce alongside Harmon and Stamatopolous. Hit the jump for the full synopsis and a pitch trailer.
Rumors flew earlier in the week that Charlie Kaufman‘s (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) ambitious project Frank or Francis might, sadly, never come together at all – though Kaufman’s reps are not ready to say any more than it has merely been postponed. The project is a “musical satire” about Hollywood and the internet, and has Steve Carell, Jack Black, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Kline and Elizabeth Banks all set to star, though questions about it ever coming to fruition have been numerous of late.
Kaufman has been busy with quite a few other projects (including writing his first novel, writing and directing an HBO series staring Catherine Keener, and adapting the YA novel Chaos Walking: The Knife Of Never Letting Go, so it’s not difficult to fathom that Frank or Francis may have unfortunately dropped from the top of his priority list. For more on the troubled project and what some of the film’s stars have said about its prospects, hit the jump.
HBO’s current comedy roster is stacked with some of the best writers in the business: Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Lena Dunham/Judd Apatow (Girls), Armando Iannucci (Veep), Mike White (Enlightened). If you count the hourlong The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin seemed like the apex in terms of pure writers. Yet HBO has outdone themselves, entering into development on a half-hour comedy series with Charlie Kaufman. Even better, frequent collaborator Catherine Keener is set to star and produce alongside Kaufman. The untitled series is described as “an exploration of one day in a woman’s life and how the events leading up to it can affect, or not, the reality in which she lives.” What? More after the jump.
Lionsgate is now in control of two mega teen franchises, and they’re looking to extend their streak even further. The Hunger Games’ massive box office take (it’s not done yet) guarantees success for its two upcoming follow-ups, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and given that Lionsgate recently bought Summit they’ll also reap the benefits of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 this fall. As such, it’s no surprise that the studio has its eye on adapting yet another young adult series, Patrick Ness’ futuristic trilogy Chaos Walking.
What’s strange/awesome about the studio’s plans for Chaos Walking is that instead of hiring a screenwriter to do a straightforward adaptation, they’ve set Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich scribe Charlie Kaufman to write the screenplay. Hit the jump for more.
Back in October, we reported that Carey Mulligan (Shame) was circling a new, untitled Spike Jonze project starring Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) and written by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation). Now, however, it looks as if two other actresses are eyeing the role. Samantha Morton (The Messenger) and Amy Adams (The Fighter) are both reportedly in discussions to star opposite Phoenix in a film financed by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. Details are few and far between but past synopses suggested the satirical film was about a gathering of world leaders meeting to discuss global events from the changing price of oil to the timing of wars. Hit the jump for info on the upcoming film schedule for each actress.
British actress Carey Mulligan is certainly on an enviable role. Fresh off of critical acclaim for Drive, she has the haunting NC-17 drama Shame out in December, and she’s currently filming Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby in Australia. Once done there, she’s not slowing down any, as she will start shooting Inside Llewyn Davis (a musician trying to make it in the 1960′s New York folk scene) for the Coen brothers, and then do the new untitled Spike Jonze project from a Charlie Kaufman screenplay that reportedly centers on world leaders who unite to discuss cataclysmic events such as oil prices and wars.
While she was in L.A. recently, Collider got the opportunity to speak with Mulligan about her current and upcoming projects, how outrageously lucky she feels about working with such incredible talent, in front of and behind the camera, how extraordinary it is to be in a Baz Luhrmann film, her audition with Gatsby star Leonardo DiCaprio, how the Coen brothers are her favorite filmmakers and that she can’t believe she gets to be one of their characters, and that she couldn’t refuse the opportunity to work with Spike Jonze. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
The fact that Charlie Kaufman is making a new film is, in and of itself, incredibly enticing. The fact that Kafuman’s new film will focus on the back-and-forth between an online movie blogger and a filmmaker ups the interest level even more. Now Kevin Kline has joined the cast of Frank or Francis and will be playing two supporting roles, bringing my excitement level into the “dangerous to your health” category. Variety reports that Kline has joined the Hollywood satire that features Jack Black, Steve Carell, and Nicolas Cage. Black plays an Internet troll who writes movie reviews for a living, while Carell is playing a somewhat pretentious filmmaker who happens to be cheating on his wife. As for Cage? He’s playing a character called The Emcee, an actor famous for big-budget commercial fare whose last hit was the movie Fat Dad. Obviously.
Hit the jump for more, including details on Kline’s incredibly strange roles.
Jack Black, Nicolas Cage, and Steve Carell are in talks to star in Charlie Kaufman’s next directorial feature, Frank or Francis. Kaufman is also brewing another collaboration with his Being John Malkovich/Adaptation director Spike Jonze with Joaquin Phoenix attached to star — until today, that seemed to be in pole position on Kaufman’s slate. However, Deadline says Frank or Francis is tentatively scheduled for a 2012 start, a more definitive date with more bankable stars than Phoenix circling.
Details are mostly under wraps, but here’s the logline: “The film chronicles a volatile back and forth between a film director (Frank) and an online blogger (Francis), who takes delight in berating his cinematic talent.” Oh, and it’s a musical. More after the jump.
Back in March, we reported that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures would back an untitled project from director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (the duo behind Being John Malkovich and Adaptation.). The film would reportedly be a satire “about how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds, from oil prices to wars that will be waged.” Twitch now reports that Warner Bros. has picked up the film, which means they will most likely distribute it as well. The project is reportedly eyeing a March 2012 start date.
Twitch also reports that Joaquin Phoenix is attached to star, which is a smart career move on his part. Phoenix needs to reestablish his credibility with audiences after the I’m Still Here debacle and working with directors like Jonze and Paul Thomas Anderson is a good way to do that.
Producer Megan Ellison has recently been proving herself to be the patron saint of film nerds. In addition to backing Paul Thomas Anderson‘s adaptation of Inherent Vice and his untitled Scientology movie, as well as a movie about WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange, it now looks like Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures are acquiring an untitled satire that would re-team director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
We reported back in December that the Being John Malkovich and Adaptation duo were pitching a new film, so presumably this is it. Deadline reports that the untitled satire is “about how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds, from oil prices to wars that will be waged.” I have a feeling that the project will be a tough sell, but I’m glad that Ellison is clearly up to the challenge.
Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze, writer and director, respectively, of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation., are pitching a new movie around Hollywood. While the script hasn’t yet been written, one can be assured that it will incorporate some sort of meta or mind-meltingly incredible premise.
The plot is being kept under wraps, but seems to be separate from Kaufman’s script Frank or Francis, which he has been working on since finishing Synecdoche, New York in 2008. According to the LA Times, two people familiar with the project say that in recent weeks it has been making rounds to independent financiers. Hit the jump for more info on both projects.