Jack Black, Nicolas Cage, and Steve Carell in Talks for Charlie Kaufman’s Musical FRANK OR FRANCIS

     July 22, 2011


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.

Here’s how Kaufman described the movie at the Goteborg International Film Festival in Sweden earlier this year [via Being Charlie Kaufman]:charlie-kaufman-image

“It is a musical.  But it’s not a conventional musical.  But it does have a lot of singing in it.  There are 50 songs in it.”

The audience at the Q&A laughs, but he insists the count reaches 50 if you count snippets.

There’s one more facet worth mentioning.  In 2009, Kaufman told The Telegraph:

“[The project] will have something to do with the anger culture. People seem to be so angry these days. And it’s a comedy… At least I hope it’s a comedy, because Sony are expecting a comedy.”

Black and Cage are “attached,” whereas Carell is merely involved in conversations about a role.  Is it wrong to pigeonhole Black as the blogger Francis?  Cage has played a Kaufman surrogate before — can I assume he’s the director Frank?  And where does that leave Carell?

I don’t know about you, but I am terribly excited about this.  Black and Cage are both talented actors who have found little critical success in recent years — considerably less than Kaufman, actually — and so feel like good matches for the material.  Black adds the musicality, Cage contributes his insanity.  This will be great.

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