Acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman makes his directorial debut with “Synecdoche, New York.” It opens in San Francisco tomorrow Friday, Nov. 7. Kaufman’s previous works “Being John Malkovich” (1999), “Adapation” (2002) and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) have asked audiences to let the hand of existentialism come out of the big screen and massage their brains relentlessly. This time, Kaufman reaches even further into the absurdist abyss with character Caden Cotard in his new script, “Synecdoche, New York.” Cotard, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, is a tired American playwright, frustrated with plumbing bills and paranoid of terminal illnesses. His contentious wife, Adele, played by Catherine Keener bruises Caden’s mental state with her outright detached life philosophy. Adele, who understands romantic love to be mere projection feels that the more you know someone in this way, the more disappointing they become. The brutal estrangement of his wife only elevates Caden’s spiraling state as he attempts to finally execute a biographic play — the play that might save him from a life of meaninglessness.
“Synecdoche, New York” was written and directed by Charlie Kaufman and produced by Spike Jonze, Anthony Bregman and Sidney Kimmel. It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Dianne West and Tom Noonan.
Mr. Charlie Kaufman talks with Sky Madden about scriptwriting theory and his experience with making “Synecdoche” for Foghorn Scene Podcasts. Please visit the San Francisco Foghorn Podcast iTunes store page for the free episode.