Charlie Kaufman Pens Stop-Motion Animated Film 'Anomalisa,' 'Community' Creator Dan Harmon Exec-Producing

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by Oliver Lyttelton
July 11, 2012 4:32 PM
3 Comments
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Charlie Kaufman might be having some issues getting his next directorial effort, "Frank Or Francis," up and running, but he's not exactly lacking for work. The writer of "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" is adapting young-adult novel "The Knife Of Letting Go" for Lionsgate, and he's developing an HBO series starring Catherine Keener. And now, he's moving into new territory with some very, very interesting collaborators.

As pointed out by sometime Playlist contributor @williambgoss on Twitter, a Kickstarter page popped up today for a project called "Anomalisa," a stop-motion animated film written by Kaufman, his first incursion away from live-action. And he's teamed up with Starburns Industries to get the film made. What does that mean? Well, as the title might give away to fans, it means a "Community" tie-in, with the cult sitcom's creator and former showrunner, Dan Harmon, along with his friend and sometime collaborator Dino Stamatopolous, who played the side character Starburns on the series as well as being a consulting producer. He's probably best known as the man behind the cult Adult Swim animation "Moral Orel" and "Mary Shelley's Frankenhole."

They're mining talent from their other series for the project, with Duke Johnson, who helmed the animated Christmas "Community" episode a couple of years back, as well as episodes of Stamatopolous' series, directing. And you can get involved too; they're looking for $200,000 to get the project made, with bonuses ranging from an executive producer credit to a thank you on Twitter, and everything in between. So far, they've taken $3000, with 60 days left to go, and given the fanbases involved, we suspect that they'll manage their target and more.

And as for the plot? Well, it sounds typically Kaufman-esque, and far from your usual subject matter for animated films; read the full synopsis below. If this gets off the ground, Starburns Industries say they've got more projects in the works, from Harmon, Robert Smigel and Louis C.K, which all sounds pretty terrific, so if you want to show some encouragement, head over to Kickstarter and put a little money into the project.

Anomalisa is a stop-motion animated film written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). 

The film follows a celebrated motivational speaker travelling the country, changing the lives of countless people. But in the course of transforming others, his life has become hollow and meaningless. It’s a grey and monotonous existence where people literally look and sound identical. 

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.

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3 Comments

  • Jack | July 12, 2012 9:41 AMReply

    "Anomalisa" is a sound play that he wrote back in 2005 for "Theater of the New Ear," under the pen name Francis Fregoli. It was performed in Los Angeles before a live audience, like radio plays of yesteryear, with another sound play that he wrote under his own name. David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan voiced the characters. Maybe they're just taking the audio recording of that performance and adding the animation.

  • jingmei | July 11, 2012 10:54 PMReply

    Why quirky attractive talents would do stop-motions, like Charlie Kaufman or Wes Anderson.

  • Kaufman's mind | July 12, 2012 1:44 AM

    because Stop motion is an amazing medium to do a film in.

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