June 13, 2024

Charlie Kaufman on His Career: “I feel like I f*cking blew it.”

In the early 2000’s, Academy award winning writer /director Charlie Kaufman had emerged as one of Hollywood’s greatest minds, penning the cerebral hits Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But the momentum he had built did not propel his career as he had hoped, and he blames himself for it. In an interview with IndieWire, Kaufman reflects on his mis-steps:

“I don’t feel like I’ve got that cachet that I had at a certain point. I see people seizing the moment when they have the same kind of explosion that I had, and I just didn’t do it. I didn’t know how to do it — I didn’t want to do it. I just thought ‘Oh, this is good! I’ll be able to just keep working.”

Neither of Kaufman’s directing efforts, 2008’s Synecdoche, New York and last year’s stop-motion Anomolisa, managed to recoup their budgets, despite their critical reception. Though he still desires to direct his own work, he has grown to realize he may have to go back to allowing others take the helm:

“If I change my attitude towards the business and I think ‘Well, I do need to make a living and I want these movies to get made, and there are directors I trust and like to work with, and if they’re interested then maybe that would be a thing to do, and I could continue to sort of make a living and have some say in how things go. It’s not my first choice, but I could reconcile.”


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