This is a great opportunity for him to make an incredibly bizarre picture.
Charlie Kaufman, whose credits include the brilliant screenplays for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, and his own film Synecdoche, New York, is preparing to direct his third feature. The movie will be an adaptation of Iain Reid’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” and it’s going to be a Netflix exclusive.
The suspense novel tells of a road trip. The narrator is heading to meet her boyfriend’s parents, but unbeknownst to him, she is actually thinking about ending things. Then he takes a detour that leaves her stranded. As THR puts it, “a twisted mix of palpable tension, psychological frailty and sheer terror ensues.”
Despite Kaufman’s ability to write some of the most original scripts in Hollywood, he has had a difficult time funding his films as a director. With his last film, 2015’s Anomalisa, he turned to crowdfunding to get the stop-motion animated project completed. It went on to be critical success and was nominated for an Oscar.
But the box office was another story. Kaufman has some all-time great movies on his resume, but they have never accounted for much financially. Eternal Sunshine is the most profitable film he has ever written, and that only took home $35 million domestically. The studios want prestige projects, but they also want the films to make money. That is where Netflix comes in.
The streaming giant has proven time and time again that they are willing to take chances. Features such as Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) were never going to be big commercial hits, but they found a home with Netflix.
It’s the perfect venue for a talent like Kaufman to spread his wings and make an incredibly bizarre picture. With his pedigree, we should expect nothing less.