Author Topic: Synecdoche, New York  (Read 31808 times)

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MacGuffin

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Synecdoche, New York
« on: August 11, 2006, 12:36:05 PM »
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Kaufman's Directorial Debut Lands Williams, Hoffman

According to Production Weekly, Charlie Kaufman will make his directorial debut with a film called Synecdoche. Not only that, but he managed to snag Philip Seymour Hoffman for the lead role, as well as Michelle Williams.

As far as plot goes, the pic will center on an "anguished playwright and several women in his life." It's not mentioned whether Kaufman also wrote the screenplay. Filming it set to begin early next summer.

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Hoffman & Kaufman in Synch on "Synecdoche"

EXCLUSIVE: TMZ has learned that an Oscar hardware-heavy pairing is in the making: 2006's Best Actor Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote") will star in "Synecdoche," the directorial debut of 2005's Best Original Screenplay winner Charlie Kaufman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind").

What's that you say? You mean you don't know what a 'synecdoche' is?

Well, neither did we, but according to dictionary.com, a 'synecdoche' is a conceptual metaphor wherein "a part is used for the whole" (as 'hand for sailor).

Or "when the whole is used for a part" (as 'the law' for 'police officer'). Or "when the specific is used for the general" ('cutthroat' for 'assassin'). Or "when the general is used for the specific" ('thief' for 'pickpocket'). Or - stay with me now - "when the material is used for the thing made from it" (as with 'lead' for 'bullets').

OK. So, what's the deal again?

Apparently, Kaufman's script, which centers on an anguished playwright and several women in his life, was ordered up by Columbia Pictures chairman Amy Pascal. But it proved a tad on the complicated side - as most Kaufman scripts are. And so, the studio gave it back to Kaufman in turnaround.

That's where Sidney Kimmel came in. Kimmel, the clothier who owns Jones New York apparel label among others, also has a film financing company that bears his name. TMZ has learned that Kimmel's company is negotiating to finance "Synecdoche" outright, and that Sony has a right of first refusal to distribute the finished picture. If Sony doesn't want it, Kimmel also has an output arrangement with MGM Pictures, which is another option to get it into theaters.

It's too early to tell if Sony will want to pick it up, but we're certainly intrigued: Phillip Seymour Hoffman starring in a Charlie Kaufman screenplay, directed by Kaufman? If anyone can make sense of a Kaufman script, it should be Kaufman.

So remember: The next time you hear someone in Hollywood say "synecdoche," don't make the mistake of replying, "Gesundheit!" - you probably just heard a metaphor for next year's Best Picture Oscar.

(Which actually makes "Synecdoche" ...a synecdoche!)
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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modage

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2006, 02:15:28 PM »
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i'm glad its michelle williams and not robin.  i wonder how he'll fare as a director.  anguished playwright seems like it might be too obvious, but its kaufman so it will rule anyway.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 08:23:23 PM »
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Scriptland: Reading Charlie Kaufman's Next Project
Eternally expanding his art, the writer's "Synecdoche, New York" is personally epic.
Source: Los Angeles Times

I have the new Charlie Kaufman screenplay on my desk.

I've read it — no, lived it. I've been moved and astounded by it. And I'm tortured by the dilemma of what I should or should not say about it here. I feel a bit like Frodo palming the One Ring.

The last two weeks have been a grueling cacophony of real and imagined voices — other journalists, producers, publicists, Kaufman, myself — trying to convince me either of my righteousness as a journalist or of my complicity in possibly hurting one of the greatest screenwriters in history, a man with a craving for privacy as singular and passionate as his creative vision.

Kaufman is widely and justifiably considered the most inventive screenwriter in Hollywood. He was nominated for an Oscar for both "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation," and finally won one (along with Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth) for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

On a personal and professional level, I thought reading his latest script would bring me great joy. Charlie Kaufman is that rare artist who expands the possibilities of his art form. His work is designed to be experienced more than read or seen. His filmed screenplays become beautifully melancholy windows into some of life's most indescribable (and unavoidable) emotions.

But many people, beginning with Kaufman, do not want me to have the script, do not want me to read the script, and without question do not want me to write anything about the script. Words like "super-sensitive," "invasive" and "freaked" have been cautiously leveled at me as I've reached out to those involved with the project to get their thoughts on it.

And what a project. Ambitious doesn't even begin to describe the sublime and scary head-trip that is "Synecdoche, New York." For one thing, the marketers are going to have to borrow from the P.T. Anderson "Magnolia" poster campaign, in which the title was broken out syllabically, just to get people to pronounce the film properly. (It's sin-neck-duh-key, emphasis on the neck.)

For all those who aren't AP English professors, a "synecdoche," other than a clever play on Schenectady, where some of the film takes place, is a figure of speech in which a part is used to describe the whole or the whole is used to describe a part (think "threads" for clothes, or "the law" for a police officer). It's representative shorthand.

Yes, I had to look it up. Several times. And this is far from the only reference or play on words in Kaufman's story that rewards a closer look.

"Synecdoche" nominally concerns a theater director who thinks he's dying, and how that shapes his interactions with the world, his art and the women in his life. But it is really a wrenching, searching, metaphysical epic that somehow manages to be universal in an extremely personal way. It's about death and sex and the vomit-, poop-, urine- and blood-smeared mess that life becomes physiologically, emotionally and spiritually (Page 1 features a 4-year-old girl having her butt wiped). It reliably contains Kaufman's wondrous visual inventions, complicated characters, idiosyncratic conversations and delightful plot designs, but its collective impact will kick the wind out of you.

Spike Jonze, who directed Kaufman's scripts for "Malkovich" and "Adaptation," was once destined to helm this new project, but eventually opted for the Dave Eggers co-scripted "Where the Wild Things Are," now shooting in Melbourne, Australia. This left Kaufman, who's always been deeply involved with the making of his screenplays, to direct it himself. He's currently finalizing casting deals with an eye toward filming next spring.

If this film gets made in any way that resembles what's on the page — and with the writer himself directing, it will likely gain even more color and potency in the translation — it will be some kind of miracle. "Synecdoche" will make "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine" look like instructional industrial films. No one has ever written a screenplay like this. It's questionable whether cinema is even capable of handling the thematic, tonal and narrative weight of a story this ambitious.

But, as one character says, "People starve for something of worth." Well, moviegoers will surely be gorging on the power and depth of this film for a long time.

Meanwhile, I feel terribly sick to my stomach.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Astrostic

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 08:39:09 PM »
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Sounds like another Fountain-esque uber-hyped script review that will get people foaming at the mouth as the film travels in and around production hell. hopefully this one won't have any problems, because it sounds amazing.  Not sure about Kaufman as director, though, I saw him at a panel discussion for Adaptation last April, and I'm not sure about how good he would be with actors.

tpfkabi

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 10:26:51 PM »
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this sounds great. i believe Jonze always changed his third acts, so it should be interesting how they turn out with the very head that created it translating it to film.

although part of me thinks it could be a long torturous shoot with 100 retakes on a scene where someone just crosses the street.
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Pubrick

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2006, 01:40:53 AM »
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I saw him at a panel discussion for Adaptation last April, and I'm not sure about how good he would be with actors.
that only means he's no good at panels. i don't understand what connection you're making here, a director's relationship with his actors has nothing to do with his behaviour to the press or the public. see: kubrick.

although part of me thinks it could be a long torturous shoot with 100 retakes on a scene where someone just crosses the street.
see: above "see:"
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Pozer

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2006, 01:55:36 PM »
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I saw him at a panel discussion for Adaptation last April, and I'm not sure about how good he would be with actors.
that only means he's no good at panels. i don't understand what connection you're making here, a director's relationship with his actors has nothing to do with his behaviour to the press or the public. see: kubrick.
or see: spike jonze.  probably closer to his level.

modage

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2006, 02:10:36 PM »
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oh thank god.  i thought it would've been like...

got passes at the mall for a test screening of this. going next week!
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Weak2ndAct

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2006, 02:00:51 PM »
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I read this, and I see why Columbia bailed, and also why Spike's not doing it.  I found it to be one of the most tedious, unbearable reads ever-- and yes, I love Kaufman and have read all his other scripts.  It's really strange, but the tone is incredibly morose and downbeat-- not the slightest bit funny.  It's basically about two things: fear of illness, and fear of creating unmeaningful art-- and an incredible amount of time is spent on whether or not the main character's production of 'Equus' means anything.  Don't.  Care.  After a blantantly obvious turn-- plumbing breaks in the house, and you are basically told that it's really a blood vessel bursting (metaphor!), the film takes a more surreal tone.  But still, it's the biggest downer ever.  I will say that the idea of the 'new theatre' being created within the story is fascinating (an apartment building built is on a stage, everyone goes about their 'lives,' and then another layer of artifice is added over that, actors are brought into play the film's characters, and then the new layer of the theatre is watching the production of the apartment play-- it makes more sense then I'm describing), however, the movie is just consistently kicking in you in the gut over and over.  The characters are all so flawed, so unsympathetic.  It's hard for me to imagine Kaufman pulling this film off.  It just gets so big, and so complicated, I wonder if he  has the chops to make it work.  Oh yeah-- and it's crazy long, the version i read clocked over 160 or 70ish, I don't have it front of me.

noyes

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2006, 11:06:08 AM »
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http://www.latinoreview.com/news.php?id=981

that "mayimbe" dickhead is an idiot. this coming from a latino
who thinks that his "coconut" comment was totally stupid and irrelevant.
personalities and ethicities don't always mix. and they shouldn't.
and they definitely don't have anything to do with liking a movie script.
the idiot didn't even like Eternal (walked out on it..  wtf)
it only utterly explains his crap review.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 11:12:26 PM by noyes »
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MacGuffin

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2007, 01:13:00 AM »
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Five on way to Kaufman's 'Synecdoche'
Source: Variety

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton and Tilda Swinton are in negotiations to star in Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, "Synecdoche, New York." Indie production companies Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Anthony Bregman's Likely Story will produce the project based on Kaufman's original screenplay.

Kaufman and Spike Jonze also will serve as producers. Kimmel's William Horberg will executive produce. Producers are anticipating a spring shoot in New York.

Hoffman will play a theater director who ambitiously attempts to put on a play by creating a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse. Keener is set to play his first wife, Williams will play his second wife, Morton will appear as his sometime lover, and Swinton will portray Keener's best friend and the dubious mentor to the daughter of Hoffman and Keener's characters.

"It takes the term 'living theater' to a whole new level," said Bregman, who will kick off his new company with the production of "Synecdoche." "We were kind of hoping that Charlie would write a small, contained film set in a kitchen with a couple of easy-going characters. Instead, he came up with a massive undertaking of visually elaborate worlds and stunningly complex characters and ideas. The film would be all but impossible to pull off if we weren't surrounded by such incredible actors, the most exciting team of filmmakers imaginable and the most supportive producing partners one could hope."

The film was packaged by UTA, which represents Kaufman and Bregman. Kimmel International, the foreign sales division of SKE, will handle international sales.

The project will mark the first pairing of Hoffman with Kaufman and Jonze. Hoffman most recently appeared as the villain in "Mission: Impossible III." He is repped by Paradigm. Keener, a longtime collaborator with Kaufman and Jonze, is voicing the character of Max's Mom in Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are." She has appeared in "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich." Keener is repped by Gersh.

Williams also is voicing a role in Jonze's "Wild Things." She last appeared in the Academy Award winner "Brokeback Mountain." She is repped by CAA.

Morton next appears in Universal Pictures "The Golden Age," in which she plays Mary, Queen of Scots. She is repped by Endeavor. Swinton, also repped by Endeavor, appeared in "Adaptation" and will be featured in Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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for petes sake

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2007, 08:22:58 PM »
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This sounds like it'll be a lot like Barton Fink.

martinthewarrior

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2007, 05:54:17 PM »
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A very spoiler heavy, albeit infrmative, script review has been posted over at beingcharliekaufman.com. Sorry in advance if this is old news.

ASmith

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2007, 11:35:50 PM »
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Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton and Tilda Swinton are in negotiations to star in Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, "Synecdoche, New York."

No one won't see this film.  Charlie Kaufman directing Samantha Morton is reason enough.

MacGuffin

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Re: Synecdoche, New York
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2007, 02:00:01 AM »
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Kaufman travels upstate to ‘Synecdoche’
Source: Production Weekly

Pre-production has begun “Synecdoche, New York,” the directing debut of Oscar-winning writer Charlie Kaufman. Ten weeks of principal photography begins May 21st in New York. Philip Seymour Hoffman is set to topline “Synecdoche” (snick-do-che) based on Kaufman’s original screenplay. Hoffman will play Caden, a theater director who thinks he’s dying, and ambitiously attempts to put on a play by creating a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse. Catherine Keener is set to play his first wife, Michelle Williams will play his second wife, Samantha Morton will appear as Hazel, his sometime lover, and Tilda Swinton will portray Keener’s best friend and the dubious mentor to the daughter of Hoffman and Keener’s characters.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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