Charlie Kaufman On Metaphysical McGuffins

by John Holbo on January 4, 2011

No, he doesn’t call them that. But here’s what he says:

I think you can be as outlandish as you want or as surreal as you want, as long as the characters are based in something real. You can put them in any situation or any reality as long as their reactions have something to do with humans beings and you’re focused on that element of it. I’m not interested in necessarily doing realistic things, obviously. I like fanciful stuff. But it can’t be just fanciful without people in it. Then it’s of no real interest. If you decide that people are turning into carrots or something as your story idea, then I think that I would have to figure out why that’s important to me as a person and why that story resonates in some way. Otherwise there’s no story. It’s just a gimmick. (10)

Quoted in Charlie Kaufman: Confessions of an Original Mind [amazon], by Doreen Alexander Child. (No, I don’t know whether it’s good. Just started.)

This isn’t the most incandescently brilliant theoretical formulation I’ve ever encountered, but … [click to continue…]