Breaking Down Im Thinking of Ending Things, With Charlie Kaufman


Today's episode of the big picture is brought to you by the Afi Conservatory as the number one film school in America the conservatories were artists become master filmmakers join the ranks of such groundbreaking alumni as David Lynch Patty Jenkins Carl Franklin Rachel Morrison, and so many more apply now at F. I dot. Edu that's AF DOT Edu. Episode has also brought to you by Heineken. Heineken. Original Logger has made with pure malt and their famous a yeast which makes Heineken and all season all the time kind of beer. Hopefully, it's starting to cool down here in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, it's always a great time to drink a cool Crisp Heineken, pick up a pack or have it delivered today and drink responsibly. I'm Sean Fantasy Adam. And this is the big picture. A conversation show about I'm thinking of ending things that of course is the name of the new movie from Charlie Kaufman and here to talk about that movie and the career of Kaufman we've got. A major friend of the ringer and the first time you joined us for a conversation like this. It's Amy Nicholson Hi amy hi. Hello. Great to be here I. Guess I'm going to be should be here for the heaviest dirtiest most beloved filmmaker door. Yes. That is exactly why I wanted you to be here because you you as I understand that you are the number one Kaufman Fan I'm a huge fan I don't know from end and I have ever even had a conversation about coughing and what he does obviously best known as a screenwriter though he's a director in his own, right? Me Maybe you can just explain to us why you respond so much to Kaufman's or yeah I mean Kaufman is my religion. You're wh what I love about him so much like he does two things in both of his films, the one is that he just narrows in I think on all of the most horrible tiny parts of a human's personality. The. Things that feel so specific to you and yet are really universal. Everybody has these insecurities in moments of MIS snob am I settling? He figures out every little bit of what makes us weak and stay up at night and then to bring those to life, he doesn't do it in this you know. Realistic Credible way of like, oh, I'm going to be writing on a bus and staring out the window and you know it's GonNa be very naturalistic in indie movie. He figures out how to tell these stories in a way that breaks movie format that's always pushing the boundaries of what a screenplay and what a film can do and so he's at once incredibly honest and then incredibly fantastical and it's that that makes ambition just absolutely breaks my heart I. Adore Him. Yeah I'm thinking of ending things is an interesting evolution or signal point for him Later in this episode, I should say I had a conversation with Charlie and Ian Read Who's the author of the novel that I'm thinking of anything. This is sort of based on which will get into a little bit when we talk about the movie but Amanda, what about you I, I had some suspicions about your Charlie Kaufman. Interest is given the conversations we've had over the years. Yes. That is true. I'M GONNA be revealing a lot about myself and my relationship to art, and you know also my existence in this show as we all will because you can't talk about Charlie off movie without getting into ideas of self end and philosophy, and how we relate to each other and to movies. Sean we have talked about Charlie Kaufman before I have to if. We're GONNA put Chris Ryan on the spot that I'm going to put you on the spot because adaptation is was one of my top five movies about making movies and I love application and I think I saw adaptation at the right point in my movie watching life and also probably just like my cerebral life which was in college, which was when I was learning about things like. Post. Modernism and deconstructing the text and kind of. Pushing formats and everything that amy was talking about in one, thousand, nine and being, Whoa you can do that and I guess also taken the requisite philosophy classes that every young undergraduate should take, and so I think of Charlie Kaufman as. The person who really taught me how much you can push not just a movie though obviously that's what he makes a piece of writing and the definition of being an artist and the the depth, the relationship between an artist and attacks and I think that he. Explores those issues brilliantly and he and pretty much anyone who tries to imitate what he does like fails miserably and I think he's an and that to me is the mark of a great artist in a way that so many people are like, Oh, you can do that I can do that too and then fall flat on their face. That if you're like influences almost negative in a way because it's created these rip offs that are insufferable than a lot of ways that really like holds up the art even more and that to me is a very Charlie Kaufman quality the Ark of his career is fascinating in that respect too because he starts off in his early thirties as a writer on television after not working in Hollywood for basically the first part. Of his adult life until he gets kind of a slow start into the space, I guess the TV project he's best known for working on is probably get a life the Chris, Elliott Fox. Sitcom. And he wrote a handful of episodes there and work on the writing staff, and then he also spent some time working on the Dana Carvey show the famously deranged sketch show that had a very short life on ABC I. Think. And then I think he really comes to the public consciousness with being John Malkovich, which remains one of my favorite movies of the last fifty years and I, I think in many ways introduced kind of thinking before. I was thinking about dairy semi editions and deconstructing text like Amanda is talking about and even it's well before I had any sense of postmodern cinema. It's if you see that movie at a young age, it can be very influential on someone like me. Obviously it's a collaboration, Spike Jones. You made a couple of collaborations with spike. Jones he made you know collaboration with Michelle Gandara Tunnel, sunshine very well known. It's an interesting thing because one of the criticisms that I have heard of his last couple of films which I generally don't agree with. But I'm of curious about your point of view on this amy is that Kaufman has been interpreted by others and not himself and Malkovich and Adaptation Eternal Sunshine I think are widely considered his masterpieces New York his doctoral debut anomalies and I'm thinking of ending things. There's a lot of admiration for and people certainly understand what he's going after now but that he isn't quite doing the thing that you know other artists are able to provide for us when they interpreted his work, what do you think about that general thought within which Kaufman do you prefer? Yeah I can say it up at the top of this I'm biased because synoptic in York is not just my favorite Kaufman film. It is one of my top two favorite films of all time period. What's the? pennies from heaven. It's an a musical from the early eighties with Steve Martin. They're very similar if you likes synthetic, you actually might like pennies from heaven. They're basically this a movie one just has musical numbers. But yet now I think they he does work well in collaboration with something like anomaly. So where he's working with puppet designers who help him figure out how to realize his world But I think for Kaufman if you want the full experience, sometimes you have to just let him go down his crazy rabbit holes. I think there are some partnerships where who he is works really well, like eternal sunshine rising in eternal sunshine you feel this is happening in the soul of the movie. That Kaufman is kind of cynical and kind of heartbroken about the ability to even be in love in the first place whereas Gandara is just the biggest romantic on the planet. Uganda is a perpetual fifteen year old who's in love for the first time and those dueling impulses I make that film really work either. But that won't work for everything in Kaufman wants to do. You can't put a Gandara spin on something likes inequity. I think you have to just let the mango where he needs to go. Amanda. What about you? What do you? which which do you prefer this? Solo. Kaufman the autour or the the man behind the curtain well, I think there's a difference between personal preference and also you know what is most representative. It will surprise no-one to learn that I like the Pop Spike Jones interpretations the best because that's just who I am. I'm just trying to go to the movies and have some fun along with my like with my philosophy and my questions of my own worth the worth of other people and relationships and Mireille and our other people. Real and is it all just like one big performance which by the way it is and that's fine. Maybe I'm also just like more at peace with that than Charlie Kaufman is yeah. Everyone's faking it all the time I'm not too worried about it but I I think that that is again just kind of the best the vessel that Mo- speaks to like my particular needs and interests and you know as amy was saying he is taking something that is so idiosyncratic unspecific and making it available to a very broad group of people you know even within that. The way you translate those emotions and that very personal experience you know we'll vary and it will people respond differently. I'm also a little bias because. I saw some New York I believe it was on Thanksgiving and it was on a spy with my entire family was a spectacular. Yes amy I saw that look on your face. Thank you. Correct. It was a spectacular run of my father picking just like the most inappropriate like really dour Thanksgiving and Christmas night movies to see with like me and my dad and my aunt and uncle I believe also another Philip Seymour Hoffman Foam savages was in that run as well, which was also not a great holiday experience. So again, it's a little bit about where you are and what you're trying to receive from these films. It occurs to me as I think about the totality of his work and and I'm thinking of ending things as well is. I'm thinking of ending things is really the first of his films that is not about an artist or performer. Every other movie that he's he's written is about. Well and and that's maybe a an interesting way to kind of talk about the point of view of the movie as well. But you know being John Malkovich of courses about puppeteer I think that there is a kind of Performa tive life aspects to Patricia character and human nature in the way that she is trying to kind of convert herself publicly adaptation obviously about a screenwriter eternal sunshine. Joel is kind of an artist and sixty New York obviously a playwright play by Philip Seymour Hoffman Anomaly Saga. There is a kind of public performance aspect to that lead character who is you know comes to is it Cincinnati I think to give a to give CADDY. That's right. and I'm thinking of anything says about. Maybe maybe not a much more solitary figure someone who doesn't really have an audience even though there is there are audiences in this movie and it's interesting I. Think. I have seen some negative reaction in the second wave of reaction to I'm thinking of ending things and the word that I've seen used the most often self-indulgent which I think is extremely stupid as a criticism for most art but especially, what Charlie Kaufman is after obviously because the interrogation of the self is the whole that's the whole Shebang that's that's everything he's doing. So I think to hold that specifically against it. Certainly misses the point i. do think that you could make the case that there are times in which he is overly aggressive in in in focusing on. SORT. Of the the frailty of human life you know he's not he's not about over the overcoming spirit. That's not something that he believes in and I think you know you're right amy that he he's cynical and then I do think that sometimes he can be bullied by artists who were not as cynical but the idea of adapting something is kind of what was most fascinating to me about this. I've read this novel I like this novel. I think the novel is significantly different from the film even if it's kind of structurally not that different have either of you guys read this book. I haven't I mean this is where I should confess my approach to, Kaufman, which is either I call my religion but I, really do treat him like church in that when I'm about to see a new Kaufman film, I don't know anything about it like I didn't know anomaly aside puppets until I, it started like I'm somehow able to go into a tunnel, right? Now literally nothing because I just want his his interpretation would be the first thing I. See I see. Yeah. So yeah, I haven't heard about and curious about it. So I it I specifically asked you not to read it yes, and I followed Garin struck transfer once thank you the reason I did that is because I really wanted to get a sense of The interpretation of someone who doesn't know the tax so I'm I'm grateful that both of you don't know the text I'll say that having seen the movie even though there is a difference. I don't know I think it would be hard to make hide nor hair of a lot of the film without having read the book, and so I do understand when people watch this and say I hated or I was confounded by it and I think the idea that the the the fact that the movie is on Netflix men's that. So many people are going to see this movie or at least going to start it an uncommonly large number of people will watch a very peculiar Charlie Kaufman film and with the expectation that hey, maybe. You know the evil kid from breaking bad and you know the gal from Chernobyl. Are Going to have a romance at some point and that's obviously not what this is about. Amy Can you can you try to explain to me what you think this is about is there a way to do a plot summary from thinking of ending things? By I can try, I can try So on the surface, this is about a girl going on a trip with her boyfriend to visit his parents that together very long. She says six or seven weeks at I, say it's about a girl going because you from the beginning of the film you're in her head in her thoughts you think you know. And they go to his house his parents are played by twenty three and David Thewlis. and. Slowly thinking of the whole Netflix of the thing of people putting a movie on for five or ten minutes and giving it a shot, which is what Netflix's does. You the first five or ten minutes. I feel like our almost ordinary saving and maybe a little boring and then once they're in the house, you realize all rules are. Bending in shape you know there's a dog that's always shaking his head and an emotion time to starts to skip forward and skip back with his parents. Nothing that you think you know about the film winds up being tangible you know not even like the characters costumes will stay in place and it just starts becoming this creeping thing when you're trying to figure out the story and is the story. Oh, now see now now you got me now I'm like not even talking about the plot anymore I stop. Basically the trip doesn't go well and she just wants to go home. A man I know that you knew that this was not going to be an ordinary kind of narrative film. But at what point did you start to think did did you get confused at any point I guess is a is a useful way to think about it. was there any point where you felt like you were purposefully being unnerved or you just lost track of where things are going? Yes. One hundred percent though I just want to say and I must say this with no spoilers. I watched this movie after seeing tenant and I just have to say I was in a really interesting head space and I maybe picked up on some things a bit faster than I would have because I was just like Oh. What if it's like this? Anyway? Yeah. I. Was Super Confused and I think watching it at home on net flicks is in one way as the ideal space to watch this movie because you can go back and to the extent that it's a puzzle and his amy's that things were changing all the time and there's like you know I definitely had the moments of being wait her coat is a different color or. Like I'm at one point I'm like wait was Tony Klett just a lot older or did I make that up because this is a little bit the downside of watching you know my attention span and I was trying so hard I just WanNa say I knew that we'd be doing this podcast and I tried so hard. Your mind wanders a little bit at home. So I'm like. I looked away for a second and then I'm just like wait did I make this up or are they different or are they old and? To some extent I think that that is like like the intent and the joy of or the frustration of watching the movie and. I'll be honest I was frustrated a lot of time watching this movie which I think is the point because you don't know what's going on and it also cultivates a sense of of horror and dread. Just. The premise is amy described it, which is going to meet your boyfriend's parents after six weeks. I mean that is a horror movie in any context, but then like. There is even within the first ten minutes of them in the car like things are not quite right. The word maggots is said in a very upsetting way within twenty minutes and I was like Oh. No. If this is turning full maggots, I'm going to be really mad And I think the movie is trying to provoke you and make you feel uncomfortable and be like what the Hell is going on. That is kind of the point and it's very effective in in that way. Yeah and there's something specifically different from how the film plays out. Then from the book, the book is a very short book about two hundred and fifty pages and it's incredibly repulsive and it's written sort of like a mystery page Turner? Where you're very much in the mind of this female character who goes unnamed in the book. And she's having this inner monologue about how she's thinking of ending things with her boyfriend Jake, and that sort of leads her down the path of recounting some of the experiences that they've had together and. Interrogating the past and subtly in between those things happening, you get a sense that there's been a suicide. There's almost like an interstitial at the beginning of every chapter that indicates that someone has committed suicide. It's unclear who and then also that there someone keeps calling this this narrator figure this lead character on the phone, and so we do get the phone call from an old man in the movie but. This is a spoiler. So if you haven't seen this movie I, don't think you should listen to this podcast at all and I'm just going to say that right now and if you have seen the movie keep listening. The the book ends with the revelation that in fact, this woman that we've been spending all this time with is actually just an old man who has a janitor at high school and the way that the author in read kind of conveys that information I think. In one sense. Kind of fascinating and very delicate. Of unsatisfying, because it feels like you've arrived at the end of the conclusion of this mystery about what the Hell's going on like this very curious trip to this farmhouse, and then this very curious trip to dairy queen, and then this sort of disorientation that is happening at all times and you realize Oh this is actually the story of someone who is you know maybe schizophrenic or or struggling with this sort of mental mental health issue and that they're at their end of a long life and they're very lonely than reflecting on what is or what could have been or all these different ideas. And it's like a big Aha and then you put the book down and you're like. Isn't an Aha. Was and do I feel good about where this book took me and I've had a lot of debates with people that I've asked to read this book about over over the last couple of years. The movie doesn't Ingredient, which is the movie shows the old man in the first twenty, five thirty minutes of the movie and I thought that that was such a fascinating choice and I haven't heard people talk about it too much. So I was curious when you guys when you're watching the film when you saw that character did you immediately say Oh, I see this is this is his manifestation. This is something that he is imagining you Amanda Shaking her head Yes amy did you I didn't think even in the first minute either shoot lens downstairs and you see getting ready to go to work it you these kinda parallel tracks happening right at the first time. I mean I've seen the movie twice it definitely opens up a lot more on the second watch your because on the I watch I think because of the title I was going in really thinking it was a movie about suicide. You know that all the time we think she's talking about the relationship, but she's really thinking talking about ending her own life that was the movie I thought was going to happen from just the first setup of it. which is not the case I think But yeah to what Amanda was saying in a way I feel like this is the worst and yet ultimate Netflix's movie like you figured out how to hack the Netflix's code and that this is a movie you are not able to during like you cannot be looking at your phone at all. He figured out how to make an a completely riveting relationship issues sort of drama where there's not even a second you can tune out which is what I've always really liked about him. As a filmmaker is that in the beginning minutes of cynic too key the way you just start to know some fast forwarding time in like the calendar and the clock and the thing he has so much faith in the audience in. So to have that faith in the audience that he knows that you're watching and you trust that you're going to catch up and now enough looks you can rewind if you want to which. I definitely did on the second, watch. It's it's it's an interesting new medium. Almost I feel like he's creating because there's not a lot of films I think are almost. Accidentally on purpose designed for winding this. Yet so I wanted to ask you both about this because because the thing that the movie does and can do that the book can do is what some, what some of what you were alluding to earlier both of you guys the idea that Jesse, Buckley's sweater seems to change at some point or hairstyle seems to change at some point. The way that even just the way that the characters framed in a shot looks like it's at one angle and we think that this is going to be the perspective we're seeing them from, and then it shifts again or the dog that is constantly wagging that unnerves us in a way. The book doesn't have as much of a handle on surrealism in that way and the movie. Is. The is like the ultimately re watchable movie in so many ways and I started thinking of this we talked about it when the ballot or roster scribes came out and I was like the greatest thing about this is there's a new Coen brothers movie out on Netflix's on I can watch it as many times in a row as I want and it's also an anthology. So if I only WANNA watch one of the chapters, I can. Do that and this movie is the exact same way where there are if you care to interrogate it, examine it, you can kind of rewatch or re explore different phases of it or different readings there so much source material inside of the movie. There's so many things that he is trying to comment on or show us to use to either explode the premise of the movie or dig deeper into the character that Jessie Buckley is playing Amanda did you like the idea of kind of like being overloaded in the movie experience? Not In a moment this like I will be honest I found it at times I was like what is going on and or like why are you reciting Pauline Kale to me which is definitely a thing that happens and have like you know it is both A. Great Netflix's movie in this puzzle quality and also their extended scenes where it's just to actress by like very much sitting in a car like talking at each other and that's intentional and I think like Dave, rehashed the baby. It's cold outside argument from like two thousand and twelve. For reason, you know but I also having been on the Internet in two thousand and I don't WanNa hear this again. Okay. I know that it's problematic. So I found I was one of those things where in the moment I was a little provoked which to me is always the sign of excellent filmmaking because if you WANNA get reaction even if it's not always like the reaction I know that all be fun in life even if I wish it were so but then after the fact, once I kind of more fully understood how they came together I think the the climax, one of the climaxes of the movies anyway does pull it together for for me I was like, oh And I understood at least a lot of the references and. Kind of what this movie has to say about our relationship to art, which is you know always Charlie, Kaufman theme and something I'm interested in that clicked for me a lot more and I was like Oh interesting and I think I've probably thought about it since finishing watching it a lot more which is. which is rewarding and it's out my I think there's something slightly confusing but you're kind of along for the ride for Mo- in most of Kaufman's movies you know even though being John Malkovich and the seven and a half floor is absurd or eternal sunshine and the technology that they've developed to a race a certain part of your memory is absurd. You never feel like you don't know specifically what is going on in the story even if there's time shifting or it's confusing snacky New, York's probably the closest where there are times in the film when something happens and it feels like like he skipped a scene where he decided not to explain something to us. This is a little bit different in that I think being. Uncomfortable being provoked is, is the point in a lot of ways I D- do grew that amy I mean especially as a scholar of Kaufman. I think with Kaufman there's like right at the beginning it's almost like going to vegas like there's a level of buying that you have to do in a Kaufman film which involves trust like I give him my trust I trust that he's not going to just fuck with me for no reason. Ito. which is trust I don't give as easily to a Christopher Nolan I feel like I Can Out I have not seen tenant I don't know when I'm going to see a tenant but to compare you know Christopher Nolan film a lesser ones like interstellar to this I like a coffee like a film is like here's a crazy cuckoo clock and all these pieces are going and Blah Blah Blah and at the end when everything rings and things you have no idea what's happening He is like, Oh, the point was love is good you like really you know that was all of this was for that whereas with Kaufman. Amend is gonNA touching on this I think. In. Every scene he has fifty different questions. He's asking you what do you think about this? What about this over this? Have you ever felt this way and you can almost pick and choose your own movie from this you know what are the questions that really speak out to you? What are the questions that hurt you or the scenes I mean even that pauline kill seen when I saw that scene I had to text my boyfriend I'm so sorry thank you for dating me. Why? Because because. The very first day we met it was at a bar I was watching the Donald Trump Hillary Clinton send second debate with a group of my friends and he sat at our table in he had just come from seeing birth of a nation, the new one and he sat down next to me and we didn't really know each other. He was like I just saw this movie it was so great and I hate that movie it. So instead of speaking to my the guy who would become my boyfriend I, pulled up my review, my negative review birth of a nation and handed it to him on my phone. I went back to the television to watch. I support. Felt like that scene was just Kaufman looking through the camera at me and saying, Hey, amy I, see you. I know how you hide behind your written thoughts that you don't have to talk to people like Oh God. Amy, do you find yourself as a polit? Sometimes I wonder if she would have liked me and I feel like unless I knew that she would have liked me I can't but I really do adore her my very first day I got to say and I was an Internet the L. A. Weekly the editor at the time who I really Adore he he told me he was not a poet and he did not like the pulpit types and I was like well here. I am I'm in your building now he he made me feel on the defensive but yes, very much. I think she's one of the greatest writers there is I never agree with her she's so observant I, like we're losing out are not getting to see her review, a Kaufman film, all the things she would pick up on I watch I never noticed a fly crew. Went into belloc smell in raiders of the lost Ark until she pointed out if the movie ninety times, what would she? What would she make of this? I don't know she didn't really like week men did she Think. She might have struggled a little bit with Kaufman but that doesn't necessarily mean the reviews wouldn't have been fascinating I. Mean I was just reading about what Kaufman had to say about her and why he included. So essentially in the film at at one point Jessie, Buckley is exploring. What we think is Jake, her boyfriend's childhood bedroom, and in the bedroom she sees a copy of four keeps, which is a collection of some of pauline kills film criticism. And then on the return trip after they've completed this incredibly bizarre dinner and birthday cake. Jessie Buckley just starts reciting the review of a woman under the influence, the John Cavities film in what sounds like appalling kill imitation it sounds like she is affecting her style of speaking and I don't know why and maybe this is why I'm doing what I'm doing for a living. But I knew exactly what she was talking about right away I knew the movie right away I knew the review I could just picked up on it and. It's fascinating. The Kaufman really admires poincare. I think he admires her based on what he said claiming for very similar reasons, which is that you know her intelligence is so radiant in her writing. You don't really always agree with infecting might disagree with her actively all the time, but she is so provocative, and in the same way, the Kaufman is I think that there is something like. Sad trombone about depressed man writing about the struggles of the existential despair in life on the other hand when you are this talented when you're as talented as Kaufman is I think you can kind of transcend the said trombone of that reality and so even though this feels like him leaning into that much as possible it seems like what he's done throughout the movie. Is Dot the movie with different representations of those feelings and ultimately what the movie becomes and what I think. Lucy. Liu. Sia. Louisa. and to some extent, Jake, the things that they are saying and the things that they seem interested in feel like this agglomeration of influence you know film reviews, poems, movies, they've seen. Musicals they've seen ballet. There's all these these cultural touchstones dotted throughout the movie almost to the point of I thought of. Myself obviously because I to himself indulgent. But I have a bad habit of just kind of listing all the things that make a thing is the reason we do a lot of lists episodes on this show because I want to be able to say here, all the movies that are like that or he'll the movies that have that it's a it's a very bad habit for someone who is kind of insecure and is like wants to show that they know that they have the information in their aware and This. Felt Kinda Kaufman to me supersizing that idea saying like you think that the toxic man will lecture you about why you should re David Foster Wallace's essay. In this book you're right I'm actually GONNA. Put It in my movie and show you and I think the same is true Amanda for what you're talking about with the baby. It's cold outside bit I mean I think that's a completely knowing act. To say, this is what this tip would do, and I know that you know that we've all had this debate in the past, and so let's all recognize it together, which is a little five chests I think but it never it doesn't personally bother me yeah. I. The thing is that by the end of the movie, I understood why the baby it's cold outside and you're right that as the references pile up. For me the Pauline Kale recitation is when that theme of like winning influences and and are we what we consume and like and do we exist other than the things that we like you know watch an invest our time and kind of clicked in because it's it's not like she jessie Buckley is like now I will recite this review from hauling. Kale. She just like starts talking and then you realize because you've seen. The book already and and because she has previously like recited a poem that is presented as her own work but then it turns out not to be I can't remember who the poet is. Please forget me as a woman Adhd who Kaufman spent some time with when they were in a sort of like a scholarly camp of some kind, some sort of grant that they both had and they they met there and so. He just put this relatively unknown poem in this movie rate and then sue and Jessie Buckley recites the poem, and then you see in the childhood bedroom like the book with the poem itself I guess that's when it clicks in right. But so she starts doing the Pauline Kale, and you're like Oh you're doing polling Kelly, get it and then and then comes the baby it's cold outside which and and then I. Think CA comes to David Rawson is supposedly fun thing. I'll never do again and it clicks in that. It is once again software which Jamie's point should've trusted from the beginning the self aware like there is nothing accidental entirely coffin every reference every joke every shot he is like cramming as much in because he's got a specific idea but I did find that the exploration of that idea of are we just like a agglomeration of influences was easier to appreciate after the fact, and I was still just a little annoyed living I some of these, some of these arguments again, which which is part and parcel of. Of the idea as well because as you said, Sean, he knows that this is what this type of person would do, and he's exploring the limitations and drawbacks of says wall as like the existential issues. Yeah and I think it extends to this idea of our any of our thoughts and opinions that we hold to us do they belong to us ever at all and he even goes into it on a micro level with just this idea of platitudes the second time I watched the film The platitudes. Really jumped off the way that Baluchi character uses platitudes to end conversations with Jake that. She doesn't want to have to put capper's on things and then you see his mom Toni Collette is like the Queen of using platitudes all nervously awkwardly, and it's almost like he's making fun of plug and play ideas, plug and play conversation and this inability to be present. Yeah and I can tell you from having spoken to Him and he was very nice man I could sense his general exasperation with me and just And? If. And, hopefully, not because I'm a complete dolt though I might be. But because I think having to explain yourself as kind of like anxiety of someone that is frequently this intelligent who puts a lot of their ideas into their work and it I I certainly thought a few times of aunt kind which is Charlie's new novel. Any have you had a chance to read that yet now I'm terrified I like I I have to get ready to do it. I. Haven't review I. Don't know anything about it oh. God I. Feel like I should take my earphones off at this point. I mean there's a very relevant aspect of it that is not a spoiler, but his would be meaningful to you. Okay. I don't WanNa hurt I don't WanNa hurt you in any way. closed her eyes like crazy. I just want everyone to understand the physical. I'm really separate that. I'm just going to tell you okay just just just go with it. The protagonist of an kind is a film critic I have heard this. It has slipped into my consciousness against my will yes and I won't say anything else I I loved the book I think it's Hilarious I and I think if you receive it in that way fantastic I don't know that every film it certainly feels modeled on a couple of contemporary film critics right now that's my that was my reading of it. So and I wonder how film critics are generally receiving it a few of them have reviewed it, but the book is very much the CPA. They certainly are. They certainly are just screen writers they share that, and so again with the Self referential in the kind of circular logic that he's using, it feels like all of this stuff is Kinda commenting on itself in real time but he does really funny thing that is almost inexplicable, which is is a fake movie. That is in the film and we see the old man and the film watching this fake movie, which appears to be a kind of hacky romantic drama comedy and plays out. There's a diner sequence, very poorly written played. You know there's a big crescendo moment emotional climax of the score and at the end of the movie which the old man finishes watching it says a Robertson Meka's picture which is just either a stray shot and Robert zemeckis or not and. You know we can talk about that joke and is he has told the story a few times about that joke and why it's there and he didn't originally have director's name in the script he said, but an assistant editor just took the title card from I WANNA say contact and put it at the end of and then they just left it in and he got some Meka's permission to do. So I'm not sure if that's true who knows with a Charlie Kaufman story, but the thing that had me thinking about and the thing that I thought about it but when I read the book was Is the old man Jake in his he reflecting on his past or an or a lost past or imagine passed or is Jake. Separate. From the old man because in the book, you don't necessarily completely get that sense. But then in the film, he does some things particularly at the conclusion of the movie he makes a big. To Have Jesse plants as character perform a song from Oklahoma that feels like a true mom less an aged Jesse Plemmons who does not like the old man but may probably representing him do you guys think that that character is one and the same or do you think that this is a sort of a matt more of a mass delusion amy I? Oh Gosh. You know answers only. If he's Not Him I think they are tethered just by a shared insecurity. You know I think. On second, Watch, I watch this trying to figure that out and then I, and then right at the beginning the my attention was going to watch again to figure this out like is jake the old man in the beginning I got hit by a line opening minutes where I think it's Jesse character says, sometimes, a thought is closer to reality than in action. It suddenly felt like Kauffman was just kind of blessing at the beginning in saying it's actually not about you don't have to worry about any of the puzzle logic here. It's all about seeing the emotion that you're feeling. And on Second Watch like instead of trying to solve the movie, what happened is I thought about that line. I thought about the scene where Jessie Buckley is trying to explain her quote unquote paintings that you find out. She didn't actually pay to the DAD and the data's like how can art have a point of view if there's no person in how can a painting be sad if there's no sad person, he made this big. this big. There's this big about what abstract art can be like. Can you just think of yourself looking out at the world? And suddenly decided what if Kaufman has not made it all movie, but he has made I think like. A moving representation of. Of of a painting. By that I mean you know for me I think like you you go to museum and you stare at a painting. and. You think about. Your own feelings of it you know it stirs something in you and it feels very individual and it feels private. And that's how this film works to me and I think he's explaining it the way through like don't don't try to logic your way out of this one. Let it just hit you. And put your. You know just put yourself here and see what you feel. Amanda, are you comfortable with the movie experience like that? No to the point that like I think everything that amy said was like very smart and insightful, and I would've answered the question completely differently, which is part of the genius of Charlie Kaufman and my answer would have been far more literal and overconfident in Amanda Fashion. because. Do well, it's a little bit but the way that China's his question is I guess knowing of me but also smart of just I'm not comfortable with that so I have to assign my own meaning. and. Provide a little more structure to the experience because that's the way I'd like to make to watch movies although a little bit. I think that's also what this movie is about I think to my literal answer to the question would've been that I think that like the Jake character is basically A. A daydream memory Combo of the janitor and it's it's part memory especially with the parents and that's why like the parents are different ages and different childhood experiences because you're bringing you think about the way that you remember things from your childhood or your your parents and it's Probably, not consistent in terms of memory and memory is obviously another thing that Kaufman likes to. Explore in his in his work but. And then I think they're they the character of the Jessie Buckley character and all of the the things that she is going to achieve or that Jake characterize meant to achieve are probably like. Dreams are some. Regrets or things that didn't really happen for the character and I think part of the reason that I am believe that or the text based justification for that is the janitor is shown watching various productions and movies throughout the the film including at one point he watches a production of Oklahoma, and then at the end you get the dream ballet, which is obviously a reference to Oklahoma and then at the very end Jesse plans sings the Oklahoma Song. So. It's a little bit about how you. See Yourself in the in general and I guess kind of like. How we think of ourselves and how we think of what we have achieved and what we didn't achieved, and then also like how we how we watch a piece of arch or look at a painting to back to your point and and what we do see ourselves ended and what we don't, and what we can project on and what we can't. The Ben that know whether that rings true or whether that's just amandus experience of things which either can be possible. I think the the multiple interpretations is the movie basically demands that I think that's a good thing. I think for I think to have a more literal or more philosophical or or esoteric definition or or expectation of the movies is a good thing. It's it's one of the reasons why even though I? Think it's an immensely frustrating especially for most people don't necessarily know what they're getting themselves into the first time. If you do give it a chance the second time you will get more out of it but one thing that's very interesting as far as distinctions between the book and the film is Something Kaufman has. Made. A big point about which is the empowering essentially the Jessie Buckley character to be something closer to human being and not just a kind of refraction of what could have been the kind of person that when quote Unquote Jake was a young man. He might have seen once in a restaurant and then created this Meta fiction in his life about what could have been and you know in a book that works just fine because we see the the the world entirely from this nameless woman's point of view until the very end in the movie. Kaufman wanted to imbue her with more humanity with more. Character with more realism I guess for lack of a better word. Do you think that that she is a good character a kind of a a powerful or or believable woman I guess is is really my question because that seems to be what Kaufman at least. You know explicitly saying is that he wanted to create a woman felt real. You know it's funny like when you first see that very first shot of her standing on the snowy street waiting to be picked up she actually seems a bit unreal in her outfit she's dressed. So colorfully, right? Gee, looks like Ito the fantasy kind of the color Palette that you know seeing Kate winslet internal like I'm the dream nineties color girl. And And then within the car very soon, her colors start to fade and she becomes more realistic to me I I I thought she was just like odds me cookie andy girl you know it's tough because like Jessie Buckley herself is a is an actress that I think has so much integrity like she can take the that movie that should a. Couple of years ago wild rose or she's like I'm a Scottish girl wants to be a country singer another ridiculous kind of character creation and you're like, yes, I believe that because you are so good that sounds like a fake movie in a Charlie Kaufman movie by the way right and she's amazing and she should have gotten Oscar. Nom because that's shape. So I don't know I mean I when you ask the question I keep thinking about the warring moment really early on the car which I think to me was like the first sign that this movie was not to be completely trusted. Besides the obvious that it's made maturity Kaufman where that she's trying to have heard her deep dwelling negative monologue that he keeps interrupting it that Jesse Clemens this character keeps cutting her off. And her. determination to be sour to hide her negative parts from him. Made her feel really real. You know her determination to sulk either I think that's such a human quality. To be I'd rather be alone in my misery than communicate with you. I mean, my knee jerk reaction is no she's not a real character and rubs me a little bit. The wrong way do frankly the way a lot of female characters in in Charlie Kaufman movies do and you know as amy referenced that Kate Winslet Eternal Sunshine of this. attornal sunshine of the spotless mind. Yeah. Got It. I. Mean That's Classic Manic. Girl right there. So and. I think there is a kind of a literal again I'm sorry to just like to be the really like boring texts killjoy in this conversation I mean I guess be true. Design Self. But. In this mess McLean would want from you. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Amy For your support in me being really boring but. The character herself is ultimately revealed to just be repeating taxed and ideas of other people she is like she is. Like a dream girl of references and ideas and created, and that's intentional and sought out itself. So like I don't want to imply that there's not like interest in the female character intent or intention or thought but I think like every other character, she's ultimately like our projection and this is ultimately told from the perspective of like the The mail. Sad male who is really into David Foster Wallace and lake keep saying like the three mean girls from the the fake dairy queen and the and you had you have to think about the way the rest of the women are used in. In this movie, it's ultimately centered on him. That doesn't mean that it's not an interesting performance or that there's not an interesting element chewed the. I don't WanNa. Say character because that's the thing I don't think it's a character I think it's like our production. Yeah it's a it's a challenging. Thing to unpack obviously consciousness and the unconscious is everything that Kaufman is about I mean that's being John Malkovich about entering someone else's consciousness in that. What that means in the fusion of those two things at a tation is about dual consciousness and splitting yourself and this movie is very much the same way and his relationship to female characters is interesting to me because in so many movies. The seem like. Representations of something that he just can't relate to that he desperately wants to. Be Appealing for, but doesn't quite know how to block in on that. You know there's a kind of like there's a sadness Kaufman you know is married now and as an adult man is very successful. So it's not necessarily a personal reflection of his relationship to women, but you can't watch adaptation and even some execute New York and look at the relationship that the primary figures in those films have and not worry about his relationship to women a little bit and not just I personally i. And I think a lot of men who had at least deem themselves to be somewhat sensitive and kind of blown away by his vulnerability and his willingness to show that he feels completely adrift and does not. Know how related most people. But on the other hand that's not necessarily like an excuse for bad action is that kind of ability and sometimes he? PUTS. His characters in positions where they do things that are just terrible, I mean the the the the lead figuring anomalies says like such a flawed man who makes so many mistakes and his like borderline abusive to the other people in that film, all of whom look and sound like David through, which is a whole other conversation we can have another time. and. So I'm kind of at war with myself about whether I think he's like a really radical and progressive person when it comes to the idea of the relationship between men and women or if he is. Basically like a baby boomer who doesn't totally understand I mean he's sixty years old who doesn't necessarily totally understand how to relate to the opposite sex. So I don't know I'm sure you both have different interpretations of it. I. Could keep throwing questions that you guys and be like, what do you think and then amy can say her thing and then Americans they here thing that is a complete opposite which makes for an interesting conversation but what do you think? I mean, my interpretation is. I think you could take like say anomalies for example, and switch it around and have it be from the perspective of woman. But I think he doesn't trust himself enough to write a woman with justice. And so I think he does right what he knows but I relate to that movie. So deeply and the same thought in it I think he doesn't he doesn't. He's not gonNA be writing like wonder woman to like he is going to be reading his own weaknesses and I find them to be universal even though they're coming through the perspective of a man. You. Don't Edward, what you never see in any of his movies him trying to connect with a football jock or like a tough do characters male characters he can't really to don't even exist. But he is compelled to try to have love in his life and that is represented through women. Yeah I agree with amy that there is like such a specificity to it and to some extent a lot of his movies are about not being able to relate to anyone and also himself and he is he happens to be a man and so to the extent that he is interested in love and has like he's very cynical but also has a sentimental streak then these characters that he doesn't quite understand who in this case are are women just because of how sexual and preference and gender preference shook out in this particular arena. To me, it's okay but I like. So I can understand that he's explaining a exploring things that he doesn't quite understand. Her can't connect with and find like real insight in that while also holding in my head that you know that's maybe not like a full flesh woman but that's just because. He doesn't totally. He can't fully understand someone else. That's okay. But no, one cannot fully understand anyone else. That's the thing when you open Pandora's box of consciousness, you get held to this higher standard. This is an academy award winning screenwriter he might be the best screenwriter alive but. As soon, as you start asking these questions, you get held to a different standard because you make us aware of the fact that you're aware of the questions. In fact, you might even let us know that you can ask such questions in a movie, which is that's really the thing I think that I respond to over and over again is. Not. Unlike what you were saying at the top of the conversation Amanda. The Oh. You can do that. You can actually say out loud that awful thing that is in the back of my mind that is scraping the back of my brain and making me feel like someone who is incomplete or who doesn't have a on things were has anxiety or frustration or confusion in my life on a day-to-day basis, and that's intoxicating for somebody who feels like they have a lot of problems but also a bit terrifying to know that like you're are also can be representative of those fears and concerns that you have. Let's try to wrap up this conversation. So one thing Charlie said to me was I guess he doesn't Count Anomaly say as a one of his films he co directed it and it was based on a radio play originally but he said he hadn't been able to get a movie made in twelve years and he sees this as his swansong and you know there's been some news that he's maybe adopting a couple of things for television that could come out in the future but. This would be a an interesting way to go out as a filmmaker. Amy How do you feel about the potential end of the Charlie Kaufman? Run. I think he's a buffer. WANTS TO BE BEGGED TO COME BACK Every movies I mean it away I appreciate that with every movie he makes you tries to say everything he needs to feel like I feel like a New York almost could've ended after that movie because he said literally everything about the human condition in then he dropped the mic and walked it Oh walked away for twelve years. I did it what else I if you have it's like it's like the Talmud. Any question you have it's in that movie somewhere. Else word in the script is die. Yes There's your whole life. You're done I would like more of him and yet he's a filmmaker that. I. Feel I. I'm nervous about the day when he makes them thing I. Don't like I'm very scared like I. think that's what makes me so scared to approach everything like some day he will disappoint me he'd probably look me in the IRA. I'm Kaufman, will someday disappoint you. All I do is disappoint myself. So that scares me. It scares me a lot. You GotTa text me after you've read an kind, I need to know what you think. The event potentially disappoints you, Amanda. What about you in general? What do you think about? What Kaufman has done and and if this feels like a a useful swansong I guess I mean I uses we don't need to bring you into to anything. That's that's unfair. I'M NOT GONNA put that on anyone I want for super agree with amy about the laughing and just in general people are always just like I'm quitting I'm never doing it again until they. tried. It's like once on people in the arts you feel depleted you're like I'm dying and then then Lo and behold six years later for whatever reason. But I I do think depleted is not an accidental choice of words there that this this movie does feel like another mic drop, another Sense of I'd like I have given everything and I have explored the limits of what it means to. To, remember and to make art and to try to see myself in a piece of art and you can understand like though leaving it on the floor quality of like I don't I don't really know how to do this specific thing again and give of myself in this way especially. Given the end of this movie and what this movie says about creation and. Sharing. Yourself with others so I can see it but also will say one last question. How do you feel about the animated pig? Amy. Ugo I. Oh, God in that line, someone has to be a pig infested with maggots. Oh are we all arly all and the maggots are all this cultural influence that we've taken over years what a beautiful metaphor. To winning. I'm Lisa came out. I did a couple of you know here in La when there's a word seasons, you like talk about the film of the filmmaker afterwards for audiences are trying to get it but publicity, and so I had to do and for me, and because of that I was on a text chain with Charlie Kaufman and he sent a bit Moji in it is just a treasured thing in my life. He sent everybody the BMO degree on what time we'd meet and it was just himself saying almost. Great. That's exactly especially because meeting someone if that level you know meeting your heroes I, don't know about you. It makes me extraordinarily nervous. As soon as you said I did it I was on a text coughing and I was like Oh no protect amy like protect your love that. But that's great that it turned out the way you want it with. EMOJI Amanda I'm not GonNa let you duck the enemy to pay question. I just wanted to. We have to re maggots into it. I don't even care the animation I was like all right we're exploring like you know forms and what everyone can be sure why not but like I just didn't need maggots s that's where I'm going in terms of things that I am not interested in maggots up there on top can't believe said at this many times on five gas to say it again. What an amazing way to end this segment of the show amy I'm so glad you're here. Thank you so much. There's probably fifty percent less maggots content because you were part of this. I appreciate you always glad to be responsible for fewer maggots. Yes Amy. What? What shows are you doing to the you WanNa, tell the world where they can hear more of you. Oh sure. unspoilt season to just started. One the show that I do with. Paul share, we went through the entire AFI top one, hundred list we finally finished it. We finally finished the entire AF, I one hundred lists, and now we are very seriously just rebuilding a better one hundred list by going on many side quests. You know this month are still in the middle of doing a thing on school movies, and so we're doing Cooley high. Standing, deliver doing, fast times at Ridgemont high adventure classics, and yet we're just like going to try to watch everything and build the most perfect perfect one hundred list, and then we are going to blasted off into space because this planet is dying, and once we have the perfect films we will. I am not kidding about this figure out how blessed them space that they will outlive us and unspoiled satellite. Unbelievable. I Love Sports. CONGRATS on season one season two is cool. Amanda work in the world here you on the big picture where. Sipping picture jam session with have lemon. I don't know where else can people hear me I. Don't I don't know in their nightmares probably. All Life's performance for Amanda Dobbins Amy Thank you again if you want hear more of a man than I will be back next week talking about a little movie called ten it. Until then thanks guys before we go to my conversation with Ian Read Charlie Kaufman. Let's hear quick word from our sponsor. Today's episode of the big picture is brought to you by qube missing a little thrill in your life right now, look no further wireless is coming and it's available only on quitting a new streaming platform that offers fresh original shows created and produced by Steven soderbergh big picture favorite of Haywire and ocean's thirteen comes a survival thriller. No other set in the Colorado Mountains, volatile Sheridan as he plays Andy Braddock college student. Stranded in a blizzard after crashing his car and snowbank but nothing, but his phone to keep them alive experienced this heart pounding race against the clock from dual perspectives as you simultaneously watch what's happening to Andy in the real world and the events transpiring on Andy's foam catch wireless on September fourteenth only on Qube that's qube spelled Q. U. I b. I download the APP now and get a two week free trial. Today's episode of the big picture is also brought to you by Heineken Heineken would like to remind you that it's time for seasonal beers again, that's right. If you thought a cold crisp summer Heineken with something just wait until you taste the Heineken fall lineup is a new product. No just the same great tasting lager. It's perfect for any season. To sit down in front of my TV crackle behind again and watch as many movies as I can in one night Heineken. Original Logger is made with pure malt and our famous a yeast which makes Heineken and all season all the time kind of beer. So pick up a pack or get it delivered whatever your style drink responsibly. I'm delighted to be joined by two guests right now Charlie Kaufman Ian re guys. Thank you for joining the show. So in you know admire of Your Book Charlie I'm a huge admire your work. Frankly I was very excited to hear that Charlie were adapting this novel and I'd love to know why you decided to adapt the novel because obviously you were aware of your relationship to the idea of adaptation, but not specifically covering something in this way. So maybe you could talk about when you discovered the book and what you responded to. Well, I was looking I was actively looking for something to adapt because until I made a better chance of getting a movie made if I if I had done something that was pretty existing show to a studio because that seems to be the way it works these days And this particular book was really intriguing to me and I love the dreaming of Ed and I also love the fact that it was small. Is, I, appreciated that about and small bicycle I. Mean it was few locations and. Characters would also be I. thought might have a better chance of getting financing for something. That was small so I just I think, I think it was recommended to me Amazon based on. Founded. Ian How did you feel when you heard that Charlie would be taking this on while I? Mean I was I was just thrilled and excited when my agent had sent an email. Saying, would you have an opportunity next week to speak to Charlie Kaufman and by told US Charlie already but I I remember it well because i read the email and then I looked down at my desk to my little desk counter. And the week. The next week was literally blacks. I didn't have one thing and I thought, yeah I can probably talk to Charles Austin next week that's probably manageable and so I obviously replied right away said, yes, I would love that. And she arranged a phone call and that was the first time that we had any kind of interaction. Is just a phone call between the two of US and we talked briefly about the book I would say only for about ten fifteen minutes, and then we talked for another forty five fifty minutes just about a variety of things books in movies and music, and I just lost that call feeling like I. I really liked Charlie I. Obviously had been aware of his movies and loved his movies I'm sure they had influenced me somehow. Out After that I call I felt like I you know. I appreciated him as a person to after having talked to him and I. Then just became really. Hopeful at the prospect of this happening. Do you remember what you guys bonded over what movies, what books you discussed. I mean Charlie may I actually I don't specifically remember I mean I think. It's the the conversation bounced around I. Think. More even than the specific. Titles or or albums it was just I think chart for for me to Charlie manner on the phone I had I had talked to three or four. roosters. Before who are who are maybe potentially interested and they felt much more formal to me they felt. I was kinda nervous going into those calls because I'd never. I was just coming literary world in Canada I'd never had no admission in the film side of things so I didn't think anybody would have interest in this. So I was kind of just trying to get that and it felt different night when trauma sockets much more just like two people having a phone conversation and and just Charlie was really nice to me and So I I remember that I remember just the. The tone of the conversation and how Charlie came across to me made the the idea of maybe working with one that I? Seem to be a really exciting. Charlie because adaptation I think we have this idea of what your writing processes like especially when you're adapting something, it's so unusual that we can almost picture you doing your work even if that's an exaggerated or fictionalized version was was it was an agonizing two, adapt this book in that way or was it easier than than what we've seen in the Nicholas Cage version? And that. was a long time ago. Very early in my career and also that was a book at wasn't a novel and didn't have a through or plot. It was about flowers there. There was a little bit of a kind of story about this Guy Laroche but. Wasn't. It wasn't the bulk of the book and And I, really wanted to do justice to it. At the time I mean, think the con- conversation have of the producer in the movie is pretty close to what the conversation was like why can't I do movie where there's no story where nothing happens where it's about the history of orchids and All of the sort of. The sort of moves around in the into these different worlds collectors and the you know the criminals and the court cases and and I didn't know I mean, I didn't know how I was going to do it and ultimately. Failed at it and I struggled with I couldn't move on it, and so that's when I started thinking about incorporating myself into it but I mean I have added other things before must've not. Made. But have done it over the years mostly as assignments not for something for me direct. So You know. It was the same issues. There was a story here. You know I knew it was going there were characters. There were issues for me that I had to sort of address for to make it into my thing, which is something else i. feel like I'm more comfortable with now maybe because of adaptation. which at first when I was younger and I was like an adapt somebody else's work it felt. To be faithful this thing you know this person did this work. It's in my charge and a half to. Do it and I come to decide over the years that in order for me to do something I have to kind of bring myself to it otherwise boring. Otherwise it's not. It's going to be like cardboard copy of what this thing was as opposed to a learning Benning which is, which is I think something I learned in doing the movie adaptation, which is a great extreme example of that but it is an example of added wetering something like and had translated this other form. You. Know Ian. When I read the book, I certainly thought it was unfilmable. So to speak, that's something you hear about a lot of novels especially novels that are heavier that operate inside someone's mind or there's a sort of a narrator figure like this in your book Did you think after it was published that it would be adapted at any point? no no I I really didn't. So I mean my when I started reading the book I, I remember I had to have a conversation with my agent just to let her know that I sort of stumbled across this idea. And I wanted to follow through with it and it was unusual and it was unsettling and it felt personal to me and and I wasn't sure where it was going to go. And she encouragement keeper keep writing it. She said it seems like something you have to do and it seems to me as I was writing it it seemed the farther along got more interested in it. I got. But also It seemed sort of more unlikely that even outside the publisher because it was getting very strange and there were aspects that were a little bit experimental in philosophical and I, I, think you know many publishers would find that appealing and also again coming from Canada I didn't have an American publisher at that point and so I definitely had had no thought or ambition on the cinematic side I'm a I'm a big fan of film and movies I used to. Help out a little cinema in in Kingston Ontario where I live in. A little three cinema theater and I love it. There I love movies. But no I never I never had that in my mind I think. This the novel by the end because I don't right with outline anything by the end of it. it was very internal and bury a philosophical in definitely unsettling and there are. It's that think there are moments of suspense but yeah, I, think any any interest from the film side was surprising. But especially when you know when Charlie reached out in, it was someone who I who I really admired. Completely surprised and even that felt surreal I mean just the back then I was sitting at my little best talking to Charlie on the phone about my book that fouled. I never could have imagined. Charlie, you're very faithful to the spirit of the novel and quote from it at times, but you really kind of explode or size the premise. So I'm curious when you finished reading it what were the challenges that you mentioned? What were the things that you decided you wanted to add to make it personal? I'm always looking what I'm dealing with With kind of. Surreal Dreamy or just odd a story lines to find something that I can. A anger at two in the real world and I felt like because there's so much time. That's. In the car in this in this story, and there's so much going on between these two people that I needed a certain specificity to. The young. Woman. And to their relationship and I needed to understand. What I could tell the actors they were doing in the real world even though there's this other element to it. That is not the real world is like what is this relationship and I wanted her I wanted to give some agency and some autonomy. And I wanted her to resist. Ultimately, resist lately a what he was insisting she do, and so there is that progression towards the ultimate resistance and. So then it became for me a great deal about romantic rejection and like the idea that you're in a relationship and it's new and you bet these ideas about what the other person is. And they feel because it's new for them to kind of flattered that you're interested in that and they wanna be this thing you want them to be but you in the engine cannot be the same and there has to be resistance to it and I wanted to I wanted that to the dynamic between. The two characters in the two people in the car. So I feel like that was something that I may be on. elaborated on. That I saw them I mean I saw it in the in the in the book collaborated on it. I gave them more of that and And in in in so. I, kind of let I kind of was it left me free to change the ending bit and. Give her the ultimate an agency. Like. She observed as a human being and it is as a practical thing good thing to do for actors because it gives them something. Play In in a concrete story that's being where people are where people casts as characters in a book. It's a different thing is a different thing for the audience to witness that than it is for them to read it in. So that was I think. A big part of what I was trying to. Ian You mentioned the novel has elements of suspense and you're kind of ratcheting tension as the story goes along at but also ratcheting. Confusion in the narrative propulsion. Charlie. I. Feel like the movie. Is, disorienting and sort of mooring you all the time and showing US things it may or may not be there and we're trying to kind of wrap our arms around things. Is that something that you guys discussed like? To kind of differentiate some of those ideas visually. The idea of that, maybe not this all of the specifics, but I think that's in the book that that's something that I responded to. There's a kind of shift shift. Am I correct about that in a long time since I read the book so but I feel like there's shifting. Reality in. In the book as well yes. Yes. And also I think Charlie to like what we talked about. You know the book really for me more than anything is about questions and to me some of the some of these questions are are philosophical by nature, but they're also I think. As as one question leads into another as a coaster, answer, it suspense builds and I think that me is why the story in the novel ended up being suspenseful and unsettling because some of these questions lend themselves to that and it was kind of again interesting for me to see how that, how that got when Charlie when you took that and. wrote the scripts, how that kind of Have some questions came out in the movie as well but because you said the same about the summer that you feel like it's It's really about questions more than answers. Yeah and I think it's really I. Think it's also about interpretation. Like there I think it's open to interpretation and I and I feel like that's important to me. which which which again is like the book out there it's really there is no wrong way to interpret it that you just you know if you spend time with it, you have as much authority as either you or I do to interpret in your way. Can I fling one of my theories that you guys then about the movie Yes lease. So Charlie you you include all of these these references to art. There's wordsworth in Christina's world and Van, novel and. A Review Pauline Kale's review of a woman under the influence, all of these. You know these ideas and they all seem to be kind of about female oppression and isolation and. I. AM I. Am I am I is that the right track and Ian does it do even recognize those ideas from your book when you see this stuff kind of expanding into the movie? I do think I can remember someone. Re on early reader of the book. Editor actually who had read a friend of mine who said that she thought almost more than anything the book was about the writing. Process. And I I was surprised she had. That was in my head a little bit. You know there's there's always a variety of different things when you're working on something that different threads of of sort of reality and focus that you had as you're working on something in that that was in my head sort of struggling with certain as someone who spends their time writing. So I think again I for me, that was certainly part of the novel and then to see how that came through in Charlie's version was was interesting for me. And Charlie what about for you? I mean can you just talk a little bit about the decision to include all those those flash points those references? Yeah I think that I think what you're saying scrapped and I also think that it it does come back to the idea oppression comes back to the idea. Of projection you know you can be oppressed by someone's projection that you will be impressed by something's projection. So yeah, there is a great deal of of oppression. In in in this that is being. That is being progressively resisted. By that character. And also that. Whatever whatever oppression is present also turns itself. On the person who oppresses. And and I think that's where our jake as a character it's is it's isolating. There's no real connection in his life who anything is it's all about this these ideas that he he's formulated. Or? About other human beings about himself and his relation to other. Charlie, did you think about things that you want us to do to make it purposefully more cinematic as a story because obviously you incorporate musical theater and dance in a couple of other things into the into the film that you know would not not in the in the book? Necessarily I mean, you know we're all night and he talked a lot about had translate this into a movie and we're concerned because it's because the environment is so contained that we not eat all. And get. Some, ideas. About how to conceptualize the notion of something that's somebody's Ed, which which we utilized and in there in those are specifically cinematic. They're not things that could work as in a book A certain thing about how count the cameras moving in anticipating different things, which is something that might happen in if you're imagining seeing your also also ahead of yourself and imagining, the next thing is going to be in the camera place that role. So that's one of the things. I wanted to ask you guys both about creating expectation in the idea of readers or viewers of film trying to solve the thing that they're watching or reading in I. Think a big part of the novel that is so effective as people trying to figure out what's really going on here like why do things feel so wrong in his they're kind of a solution to this lack of clarity that we have. Charlie I found like you took a slightly different approach to this and did not necessarily seem to me as interested specifically in the solving of the thing, it's a little bit easier to unpack, but I read the book for us all the movie, and so I have more information than some people were just coming to the film you know Ian, can you maybe talk about setting? Expectation for reader and kind of withholding, and then Charlie maybe the decisions you made there some if they're if I'm right about this that they're slightly against that. Yeah, I mean I think I try not to have too many expectations for the for a reader when I'm writing I I wanNA think as much as possible about the story and what is working for the story and Again what of feels right for me and and and kind of. Go from there and. I do think that you know a book like this. It's interesting for me to see how different people. After they read it. People referred only as sort of a thriller or psychological thriller, which for me never really was the case in my mind when I was writing it. And I, think some people call it a horror novel again for me that's not really what I had in my mind. it was for me sort of just a short literary novel and I. Remember Telling Again, talking with my editors when it was done and we were talking about different parts of it and and I made reference to that something about. Literary. Or philosophical suspense than I think both them were a little bit. Not pleased with that because it didn't feel like you could sort of market that at all I think you know they WanNa know is this a thriller as I understand that impulse from publisher because I didn't have that expectation I didn't even necessarily think of it as having any kind of twist ending you know again I think a lot of people maybe. Have talked about that and some people have said Oh. Oh i. you know I read this and I figured out the twist ending halfway through and to me it's not about that. It's it's. It's. It's really just about story about these people in kind of journey that they go on and presenting questions for me at the time. I wrote that were kind of. important personal questions stuff that I was thinking about, and so I wanted to write about it and Charlie did you think that this sort of the quote unquote twist ending and the revelations that some people took from the book I? It feels like you dispatch with that in some respects. I was I didn't want I feel like it's A. Different animal. From a book and I felt like I didn't want the. I didn't want the road to lead to that. You know this thing which is. Perhaps, reveal or twist. I didn't want him I mean it was it was the. It was the construct that I was dealing with but I wanted there to be I, want any dispatch with it to sort of like say I think that you can you know understand early on if you want or if you if if you're sensitive to that, this is what's happening and then therefore what else you know that's why I wanted to sort of rooted in this stuff that interested me about relationships and dynamics between relation in relationships between depot. And the ideas of of. Memory and and fantasy and regret all which is in Innsbruck. It's all. It's all there. It's all part of the book but I wanted. To come first so that you weren't looking in the way that I think people have been with the book not always but. You know sitting when he's saying that there seems to be this like. Search to find out what's going on. In some cases I didn't. I didn't think that was going to be effective in a movie. So. The aspect of it being very interior the aspect of it being a An interior monologue but not really the interior non-elected you're listening to is fascinating to me and that's Indians Book and wanted to pursue that aspect of it in kind of. That forward in the movie. Charlie gun the sense that in revisiting your films, you're getting increasingly impatient with standard narrative devices in movies, and even in this movie, you're capturing some things that he and his doing this sort of finishing each other's sentences or correcting each other's sentences and this idea of the collision of identity at times but and then there are these long stretches of dialogue. You know there. There must have been pages and pages of scenes single scenes of dialogue. I mean, do you feel like the movie is kind of a manifestation of how you feel at this point about just making a movie like what it's like to make a movie? Yeah I mean I'm always I'm always ever since I wrote being John Malkovich I think. It's always in my head. Oh, I can't do this. Therefore, I must do this. You know what I mean is this is not acceptable movie so I'll do it. I'm constantly in my mind pushing that, and so yeah, I mean like I wanted this home in the movie. As Long. Written by a a HD friend of mine wrote this poem and And I think that. Was Not, in for the movie, but it so pertains to the movie. Incidentally perhaps. That I wanted it. I wanted a poem and I wanted this home and I didn't wanNA truncated want to like. Cut Away from it and I wanted the whole poem in there and it felt. Like. You can't do that. So I did it. And I feel like that is it's constantly like, yeah, it's an car. There's lots of talking I'll do that. I. Don't know if it's an impatience but maybe it is maybe it's like I'm tired of. Lease. And so you know I really felt like this was my slot saw maybe more than anything else done like this is my last chance to do a movie. And I don't really care if. It leads to another movie. So I'm GONNA do exactly what? I want with it and that's One Way to do it. That's that's who dramatic but do you see this response? Movie made since two, thousand, eight. So you know Like all of us from getting older. So it's not unrealistic to think that this would have been my last movie. Now I still might be, and I'm finding with that. Now it's not like a I. Think I had a kind of like a sort of anger and bitterness about it in the past I could get things mayb I. Don't feel that way anymore. I mean I'm just. Associated Associate Ian read then with Charlie Kaufman's. Last movie or him stepping worker movies that that would be Charlie's career and. Exactly. I was a fan before so that that would be covered in on the flip side. Can you just talk about the experience of seeing something that you helped to create become actualized onscreen? Yeah I. Mean it was it's a it's been a wonderful experience and I think one that's heightened because of that lack of anticipation or that lack of expectation. Beforehand it was all completely out of the blue and surprise and so I just kind of went along with at one I think because as I said from that I call Charleena seem to. Hit it off and you know I appreciated the way he is approach to work and to film art and I I enjoy talking to him and so that I think and the fact that he was very nice and kind to me a generous with his time, I think anything that we do in in life any kind of work is is heightened by. Working with people who are like that who are generous and kind. So I think just that in of itself made the process for me while. But then from the perspective of just learning about silman how movies made and how how to write a screenplay and I'd never seen anything I'd written before. Adapted I had only you probably read about handle at screenplays in my life. So to to read the screenplay that had was sort of adapted from my own work was fascinating and I loved reading the script and. I loved talking to Charlie about. The movie early on we were sending you know when we first start talking about the possibility of making this movie, we would just send. Accurate back and forth and music back and forth over the course of months you know different. Possibilities of obscure European actors who might play. And it's not I think we both found that fun and and so the just to see it through the whole process and then to be able to go down to the filming, see what that was like and see if I've never I've never seen a film shot before. So I got to see all the different and for me that was you know the the star comparison between being. Alone at your desk basketball shorts reading a novel for two years, you know compared to one hundred people moving around film said in all the different jobs and it was I opening for me and I just I just learned so much in the process and I think because I you know I get along so so well with Charlie and I'd like him and I appreciate his approach. It just made the whole thing enjoyable Charlie I've been reading your novel and kind which is. And really just wonderful and. I. Was wondering how you would feel about someone else adapting your novel. I'm actually doing that. We're we wanted today. I'm. Writing and directing. Anton its announcement here on the podcast now. I I WANNA point out online no one has approached me. The movie seems like it seems like it would be a challenge based on. This after I would not I would not allow I. don't say. I don't know how to make it into a movie or even as even a limited series So I feel it's unlikely somebody else's GonNa come to me with a plan if anyone comes to me. That I would find acceptable. So originally I designed this is something that could not be made into a movie that was Actually My intention so and I've softened on that sense you know I mean it's possible could be made into something but but I think I would have to do it if it were to happen. I would like to see it though I, I struggle to imagine it in some ways but that's Something I said earlier about taking. A book, which is words on a page and making a concrete, and there's some ambiguity. That you that can exist a book that makes this very difficult for to exist in a in a in a movie and there are things that will have to answer in in the In the course of the movie that I don't know if I want answered and being vague about this but But there there ways you can think about this story that if you had to commit. To something visually, you couldn't. You couldn't go back and forth on. This kind of oversimplified but is there a novel to screenplay adaptation that you think? You know really heightens the the screenplay version or that you think that you particularly look to and think they really nailed this brought something special to this. I mean I, I don't. I don't read a lot of screenplays so I'm trying to have to look at a movie. And thank does that. Does that is that more interesting than the bulk nothing is coming to mind I'm sure there are. She look I feel like I addressed that an aunt kind. But I can't remember what examples I used and of course, they weren't my example they were bees. So I don't know if I would agree with him but He does he does talk about the. Few exceptions where the movie is better than the book. and and they might be conspicuously wrong is that was Way I. Decided what he? I can't think of anything I'm sorry one thing I wanted to ask you both before we wrap is the film and the book are both subject to the kind of red at board analysis and because this is a Netflix film I I suspect. Charlie, this may end up being the most seen thing that you make and think of it. It's really really sad. For No, the DVD market I think that there's going to be a lot of Internet. Of the story of the novel, which you've seen over the years in, and now of this movie is going to be a lot of screen shots. There's going to be a lot of gifts how how does it feel to know that it's going to be picked over in this way? I mean, we don't know we're guessing it might be but if it is I, I don't know I mean I like stuff like that I don't have any problem with it. I mean it's interesting to me. People's theories are interesting. So yeah. I mean the comparisons I think between the book in the movie too I think that's going to be a big topic of conversation so. What do you think? I mean I think I like it I I think that's you. You spend time working on something a particular with writing it. So solitary. I in my in again for me it's always you. Never. I'm never thinking too much about is anybody actually going to read this I I often don't really think that because it seems like such a long shot that people are going to come across your work and so the idea that people will come to the movie comes the book and WanNa talk about it is sort of to me exactly why do you want people to react and you want people to have strong reactions even if that's like North they love it. You know reacting in thinking about it talking about it, discussing it coming up with questions and theories I mean not. That's why we do it in a in a certain way and to me that's not that's almost more satisfying than anything. Yeah and and I and acted at for me. It's like one of the reasons I don't WanNa talk about. What I'm trying to do things but I feel like I've talked about March with this movie. So hopefully am is still suffer people to argue about. Watched it, and it's you know it demands many watches and even just going back through the book against the same experience where it's on the one hand feels like you're hunting for clues. But on the other hand, you're just kind of letting decisions that both of you guys made wash over you in a way that I think is really is unusual. I. It's one of the reasons why I love both things so much Guys we end every episode of this show with a question. What is the last great thing you've seen? have either of you seen anything special maybe during quarantine. well, I would say and it's actually maybe relevant because it's affected a little bit to the question you ask Charlie. But it's it's It's something that I think about because it's both at amazing novel brilliant novel. It's an it's an equally brilliant film in in my mind which is under the skin and so that's one that also I think. I demands multiple readings and viewings, and there's some different. You know the novel and the film they're they're very, very different and I really appreciate them both do you have a preference between the two? Well, i. read the novel I in it was one I what I love about the novelists unclassifiable it's it's it's sort it's a little bit science fiction it's literary. It's a little bit of horror. There's elements I don't think I have a favorite I I I think probably skew towards the novel just because I I like novels and for me. It's one of the most memorable films of the last. Decade or. Twenty years and one that I just have returned to recently. So it's it's in my mind again how I wonder what? I'd like to know what he was thinking when he when he adapted because it is so different and different there's so much not explored. In the movie. I mean consciously not exploring the movie that the book is about and and I. I think the movies gorgeous. Gorgeous and stuff it always is. But I I like the not yes. So you. Feel like the novel is so much was really interesting on it is yeah and the idea isn't it? Really interesting? And and much more for me much more. and. I don't know I would have made a completely different movie that he made Road. And I and I'm curious because he obviously had an idea and he was pursuing it and I said I think it's beautiful. This carrier has already swing the whole. The whole point of the book is missing. In my mind. Yeah it's it's a different. It seems almost like a different point i. Yes. Right. Exactly. You know and I think what I predict. Curious know what that now decisions in. Yeah it's just it's a neat I think it's an interesting example because to me it's one that they're both their own thing for me. They're both very successful. They're both memorable in one. Entities that you want to return to and think about so yeah, it's it's. It's definitely in the top of mindless. Yeah. I'm happy to report that I did in fact profile Jonathan Glazer during the release of this and asked him the questions that you guys are asking. I would not say I got a satisfactory answer to the questions asking that's interesting because he refused because he was incapable that's your. I mean, I don't really know I think I think some of it was elusive to him in some of it was just withholding when you just said that you don't want to say too much about you've done Charlie and I think that there was some of it was about that as well. But I had the same experience I read the book and I was like this. Was One of my favorite films as well, but it's just not there. There there. There's something missing between the two we her. The book but it's you know it's It's it's really it's pretty neck and neck. Honestly. Charlie what about you have? You have you seen anything recently that impressed you removed you. You know I, mean it. I seen this series before but I watched it again recently It's this little thing called ten fifteen. Do you notice? Yeah I I like astounded by those. Like how they are able to transform into that a, it's really good. And I'm like really impressed with their performances and how they embody this. Younger version of themselves. So seamlessly and coexist with actual children at age and don't. Seem out of place at all. So yeah I mean it's it's probably an odd choice for me but I just I just finished watching the first ten episodes again. So you have you seen this thing I have not but this sounds Sunday. These these two women who were probably in their thirties. I, guess play. Thirteen year olds in junior high school in among actual that age. And their best friends in this in this story, and it's about you know the trials of being that age of being a girl age and right and but but it's like they're so good at it and. And it's not played. Very. Subtle beautiful transformation. So is it a comedy? It's a comedy, but it's got some. It's got some hard sadness. It's got the sadness of being in in. You know being picked on or being ignored or being in love with doesn't like you or your parents are having problems. You know that's Right. Okay. Looks at. Okay. Interesting that both of your picks have something to do with identity and consciousness, and we are and what we're what bodies we occupy filling. In common ultimately with I'm thinking of anything Charleena. Thank you guys very much are doing this I. Really Love The book and the film. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Thank you again to Charlie Kaufman Ian Read Amy Nicholson and of course Amanda. Dobbins please stay tuned to the big picture next week when Amanda and I will dive deep into the world of Christopher Nolan's tenant. See you then.

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