Being Charlie Kaufman

"Studios ruined movies, and that's the truth..."

Caryn James of The Wall Street Journal sat down with the writer/director Charlie Kaufman (ahead of the release of his first novel, “Antkind” a “705-page comedy about a failed film critic and a destroyed movie”):

Was it easier to get an original screenplay made earlier in your career?

Definitely. Earlier in my career, I could play around and experiment, but the business has changed enormously, and it all happened around 2008 when studios stopped making movies and started making tentpoles. The reason something like Netflix attracts filmmakers is because there’s nowhere else to make those things. It’s infuriating to me when people say Netflix is ruining movies because—no, movies ruined movies, studios ruined movies, and that’s the truth.

For several years, Kaufman was the darling of Hollywood after writing Being John Malkovitch, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. Now, it’s hard to see his movies even getting made without Netflix and the other streaming services. Which is a wild swing in just 15-20 years.