The stop-motion animated darkly comic drama Anomalisa is one of the best-reviewed films of the year, and I have a feeling it’s going to have a very good next few weeks as critics groups begin to roll out their end-of-year awards. The picture hails from the wholly unique mind of Charlie Kaufman, as he co-directs with Duke Johnson the story of a man crippled with the mundanity of his life who crosses paths with a fascinating young woman while on a business trip in Cincinatti. Paramount Pictures has now unveiled a behind-the-scenes featurette for the film, which offers a look at how Kaufman and Johnson made this story come to life.
The project actually began as a sound play, which was then adapted into a feature film through the help of crowdfunding. The shoot was an arduous one as the budget was tight, but the result is a hilarious, sad, sweet, depressing, and strange existential crisis odyssey into the mind of one individual whose desires and frustrations with life are universal. In short, it’s a Charlie Kaufman movie, and it’s pretty darn great.
Watch the fascinating behind-the-scenes featurette below. The film features the voices of David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan and opens in theaters on December 30th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Anomalisa:
Michael Stone, husband, father and respected author of “How May I Help You Help Them?” is a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, where he’s scheduled to speak at a convention of customer service professionals, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. There, he is amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa, who may or may not be the love of his life. A beautifully tender and absurdly humorous dreamscape, from the brilliant minds of Charlie Kaufman (SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK) and Duke Johnson (“Community” episode, Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas), this stop-motion animation wonder features the vocal cast of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis and a stirring strings-based score by Carter Burwell. The darkly comedic and surreal stop-motion journey of a man’s long night of the soul, ANOMALISA confirms Charlie Kaufman’s place amongst the most important of American filmmakers, and announces Duke Johnson as a major creative force.