Charlie Kaufman

Screenwriter, Producer, Playwright
Without a doubt one of Hollywood's most iconoclastic and imaginative screenwriters, Charlie Kaufman tapped into his surreal imagination that was one part Franz Kafka, another part Philip K. Dick, and produced some of ... Read more »
Born: 10/31/1958 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (11)

Synecdoche, New York 2008 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 (Movie)

(Story By)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Adaptation 2002 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind 2002 (Movie)

(Adaptation) (Screenplay)

Human Nature 2002 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Being John Malkovich 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Trouble With Larry 1993 - 1994, 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Story Editor

The Dana Carvey Show 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

The Edge 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Writer

Frank or Francis (Movie)

(Screenwriter)
Producer (7)

Synecdoche, New York 2008 (Movie)

(Producer)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Adaptation 2002 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Human Nature 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

Being John Malkovich 1999 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Ned and Stacey 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Producer

Misery Loves Company 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Co-Producer
Camera, Film, & Tape (2)

Civilization (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Step on It! (Movie)

(Cinematographer)
Director (2)

Synecdoche, New York 2008 (Movie)

(Director)

Frank or Francis (Movie)

(Director)
Music (1)

Synecdoche, New York 2008 (Movie)

("Synecdoche Song") (Song)
Actor (1)

Biography

Without a doubt one of Hollywood's most iconoclastic and imaginative screenwriters, Charlie Kaufman tapped into his surreal imagination that was one part Franz Kafka, another part Philip K. Dick, and produced some of the most inventive films of the early 21st century. Starting off as a writer on television shows like "Get a Life!" (Fox, 1990-92) and "The Edge" (Fox, 1992-93), Kaufman realized his dream of writing features with "Being John Malkovich" (1999), an absurd and hilarious dramedy that announced his arrival as a formidable artiste who managed to attract mainstream attention. Immediately tagged as one who shied away from the media spotless, Kaufman was rather reticent about personal details and instead allowed his work to speak for itself. After receiving an enormous amount of praise and a substantial cult following with "Malkovich," he followed up with the mildly received screwball comedy "Human Nature" (2001). Kaufman let his imagination loose with "Adaptation" (2002), an attempt to adapt Susan Orlean's best-selling novel The Orchid Thief, where the scribe wound up writing himself and fictional twin brother, Donald Kaufman, into the script to hilarious and awards-worthy results. But it was "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) that earned Kaufman his widest praise, thanks to an imaginative storyline that was pinned down by honest emotion. By the time he made his directorial debut with the maudlin "Synecdoche, New York" (2008), Kaufman had cemented his reputation as filmmaker capable of turning wildly complex ideas into believable and entertaining movies.

EDUCATION

William H. Hall High School

West Hartford , Connecticut

New York University

New York , New York
Classmates with filmmaker Chris Columbus

Boston University

Boston , Massachusetts
Briefly attended before transferring to NYU Film School

Milestones

2008

Premiered his directorial debut, "Synecdoche, New York" at the Cannes Film Festival; nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay

2004

Re-teamed with Gondry for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"; received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay

2002

Re-teamed with Jonze for "Adaptation"; a film version of Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief; suffered writer's block in trying to pen adaptation of the non-fiction work and instead used that situation as basis for film, going so far as to create

2002

Adapted game show producer Chuck Barris' seriocomic autobiography "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind"; George Clooney made his directorial debut

2001

Second produced screenplay, "Human Nature"; produced and directed by Michel Gondry

1999

First produced screenplay, "Being John Malkovich"; directed by Spike Jonze and starring John Cusack

1996

Produced and scripted episodes of the FOX sitcom "Ned and Stacy"

1996

Worked as a staff writer on the equally short-lived ABC series "The Dana Carvey Show"

1995

Was a co-producer of the short-lived FOX comedy "Misery Loves Company"

1994

Penned first draft of what became breakthrough feature, "Being John Malkovich"

1993

Served as exective story editor on the CBS summer sitcom "The Trouble With Larry"

1993

Staff writer on the FOX variety series, "The Edge"

1991

Wrote episodes of the FOX sitcom, "Get a Life!"

Moved from NYC to Southern California

Bonus Trivia

.

"I want to create situations that give people something to think about. I hate a movie that will end by telling you that the first thing you should do is learn to love yourself. That is so insulting and condescending, and so meaningless. My characters don't learn to love each other or themselves" - Kaufman to Michael Sragow at Salon.com, Nov. 11, 1999

.

"It's exactly the same with television; the batting average for these networks is just atrocious with doing the safe stuff, so why not make part of your shows as insane and different as you possibly can and see what sticks? They're not winning this way. But there is the mentality that if you pick something safe, as an executive, and it fails, you're not blamed, because you can justify it. Am I digging my own grave here by saying all this stuff?" - Kaufman to Anthony Kaufman of IndieWIRE.com, Oct. 27, 1999

.

"I had a long, long struggle to get into the business at all. And it certainly looked like it was never going to happen," he says. "And people ask me, 'Tell me the story of your struggle.' And there's some kind of relief at the end of the story for the listener because, it worked out and all that trouble was worth it. But when you're going through it, it can just as easily not work out. It could have just as easily not worked out, and for all kinds of reasons." - Kaufman quoted to CNN.com, Dec. 15, 2004

.

In 2004, Kaufman is included in Time magazines' "The Worlds Most Influential People"

.

"I don't know what the hell a third act is. It's not a concern of mine," says Kaufman, a former sitcom writer, adding, "I have a tendency to hire people who tend to be unattractive to the studios. Maybe this is a bad idea." - Kaufman in Time magazine, April 18, 2004

.

"[Directing] was a big learning experience for me because I had to deal with every aspect of everything. All this constant decision making with people asking you questions at every moment, and you have to have answers for them all. And you know, the hours are not great." - Kaufman to Interview magazine, November 2008

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