Talking with the Kaufman About Pandas

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10/22/2008 4:41 PM |

The L’s Nicolas Rapold sat down with Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter of every smartypants undergraudate’s favorite movie, and now the writer-director of Synecdoche, New York. (You should really follow that link and read Michael Rowin’s review, too; it’s the most committed grappling with the movie I’ve read so far.) They talked about Borges and Kafka and Stanislaw Lem and Infinite Jest, and also… well:

Charlie Kaufman: I did a pilot called Ramblypants. I did a pilot called Depressed Roomies. I did a pilot called In Limbo. I did a pilot called Animals Behind Bars.
The L: What was that about?
CK: It was about animals in a zoo… I did a pilot called Astronuts. Which was a title that I was given. That was my assignment. I was in a development deal with Disney and they came to me. "We got a great idea for a show — Astronuts!" So I wrote it. They were so happy, they couldn’t believe how smart they were to come up with this idea. I was like, wow, really?
The L: I guess I would end up seeing a movie called Astronuts at some point.
CK: Well, it’s kind of similar to Space Chimps.
The L: That and Kung Fu Panda were two titles this summer that sounded randomly generated by a computer.
CK: I didn’t see Space Chimps but I did see Kung Fu Panda. Not bad. Better than I thought. When I saw Jack Black dancing with a bunch of guys in panda suits in photographs from Cannes, I was so depressed. I was heading to Cannes the next week. I thought, I could never see this movie. Then I went to Iceland after Cannes with my family, and I was hooked up with the Icelandic distributor of this movie. And he showed us Kung Fu Panda in a special private screening before it opened. And so I saw Kung Fu Panda before anybody, when I swore I would never see it. And I kinda liked it, it made me laugh.

All that and more, here.