Charlie Kaufman Confirms That Next Directorial Effort 'Frank Or Francis' Is A Full-On Musical

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by Ryan Sartor
December 20, 2011 11:00 AM
3 Comments
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When a screenwriter is admired, it is often based on how well he or she can construct a story (Robert Towne,  William Goldman) or write dialogue (Aaron Sorkin, David Mamet), but Charlie Kaufman is the rare screenwriter who is revered for the strength of his ideas. He certainly feels like the first writing auteur, and it’s appropriate that he began directing his own scripts with 2008’s "Synecdoche, New York" (That’s not to disparage the great films Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry made out of Kaufman scripts, although as far as “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” goes, the less said, the better. Director George Clooney and Kaufman infamously butted heads over that film.)

Kaufman is gearing up for his second directorial effort, “Frank or Francis,” a movie which the Oscar-winning screenwriter has described as being about “online film criticism” in the “broadest possible sense.” We also knew that Steve Carell, Nicolas Cage, and Jack Black are attached to the film. But, in a recent BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture, Kaufman gave a truly inspiring/gloriously uncommon speech about writing, explaining that it was the first speech he’d ever given. In addition to discussing screenwriting in general, Kaufman revealed that ‘Frank or Francis’ is an all-out musical, not a film with musical elements, as had been previously reported. Kaufman said, “I always try to do something different, but I’m a person with a very specific existence and a very specific background… This thing that I just wrote that will hopefully get made is a musical, and I’ve never done that before, so I did it.”

We read the script in September and described it as “a deliciously good and contemptuous (though self-aware) screed/send-up of the film industry.” In Kaufman’s lecture, he says about the writing process, “Let’s not worry about failure. Failure is a badge of honor. It means you risked failure.”

It’s a great lecture and is worth checking out for anyone trying to create art. As for ‘Frank or Francis,’ we were hoping it might make it before the end of next year, but with filming yet to start, 2013 is looking more likely at this point. Expect something very different

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3 Comments

  • jingmei | December 21, 2011 2:17 AMReply

    Whatever format it's gonna become, still be Charlie Kaufman's geeky quircky witty style, come more then.

  • max | December 20, 2011 11:47 AMReply

    The less said the better about CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND? What are you talking about? That is a fantastic picture! It was easily one of the best of 2002. I reran it again recently and was just as impressed by as when I first saw it on it's initial theatrical run. If you're going to rip on a picture that Charlie Kaufman was involved in, go for something like SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. What a self-indulgent bunch of junk that was.

  • Christopher Bell | December 20, 2011 12:49 PM

    I'm with Ryan on that one, I thought it was pretty silly.

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