Dan Harmon and Charlie Kaufman Team Up to Kickstart a Stop-Motion Animated Film Into Reality

In a move sure to accelerate the coming of the Meta-pocalypse — in which “we” are all gonna “die,” or whatever — Charlie Kaufman is making a stop-motion animated, Kickstarter-financed film with Community creator/showmartyr Dan Harmon. It’s called Anomalisa; it’s about a depressed motivational speaker who meets a woman who inspires him to turn his life upside down. Kaufman’s writing the screenplay. Harmon, comedy writer and occasional Community actor Dino “Star-Burns” Stamatopoulos, and director Duke Johnson will executive-produce the film through Starburns Industries. That’s the animation studio behind the stop-motion Community episode “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” as well as the Adult Swim pilot Rick & Morty, Harmon’s first post-Community project that isn’t an unrepentant, bridge-nuking Tumblr post or a semi-repentant, crack-analogy-laced, Ugg-slippered Marc Maron interview.

No big surprise that Harmon and Kaufman are (presumably) fans of each other’s work. They’re both geniuses, they’re both masters of form-bending, self-interrogating, more-heartfelt-than-it-ever-gets-credit-for comedy, and they’re both churning rivers of intellect and ideas and pain who somehow wound up being network sitcom writers for a while because the world is weird. (If you’ve forgotten Kaufman’s 22-episode stint as a writer-producer on the Thomas Haden Church/Debra Messing vehicle Ned and Stacey — well, he’s probably OK with that, honestly. But it happened! The guy who put a portal in Malkovich’s head and wrote the priest’s monologue from Synecdoche, New York also penned jokes for Lowell from Wings to say!)

And it’s also pretty easy to understand why the DIY route appealed to both of them: Kaufman’s blogger-vs.-movie-director musical Frank or Francis, which would have been the first film he’s written or directed since Synecdoche in 2008, has either been postponed or abandoned due to funding issues, and Harmon — well, anyway. The Kickstarter page is here. Fifty dollars gets you a DVD of the film; $2,500 buys you a 20-minute Skype conversation with Harmon, Stamatopoulos, or Johnson. The opportunity to have a brief, awkward, inconclusive interaction with Charlie Kaufman is apparently not for sale at any price, although if Adaptation is any indication, you could get that for free by running into him on the street and giving him a compliment. And yes, there are other ways to show your support for Dan Harmon and his genius, but if you’ve been slaving away on a series of fan-art mash-ups reimagining everyone who’s ever walked the halls of Greendale as a Mass Effect character, we have some bad news for you.

Filed Under: Dan Harmon

Alex Pappademas is a staff writer for Grantland.


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