Part 9: The Interview, Writing, and So Forth

Jason interviewed Charlie on August 13. The bad news: We were wrong about the edit suite scene; he wasn't actually doing anything for Jason to observe. But he did invite Jason to join him at the Toronto Film Festival in early September. This was after the magazine's story deadline, but the opportunity to get more access to Kaufman was too good to pass up, so Jason started working on a draft, leaving spaces to fill with Toronto reporting after more time with Charlie.

The good news: They had a great three-hour interview; we should be posting the full audio within the next day or two, so any Kaufman obsessives can hear for themselves. That, combined with some phone interviews, gave him enough material to start writing the rough. Jason spent about a week writing the draft, mostly in two-hour-or-so chunks. ("Any longer and the energy of the prose really started waning.") He worked from home on August 26 so he could concentrate on writing, without getting sidetracked by any other editorial duties. In the afternoon, he emailed Nancy for a little guidance.

from Jason Tanz <Jason_Tanz@wired.com> to Nancy Miller <Nancy_Miller@wiredmag.com>
date Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 3:00 PM
subject: Quick question
Can you think of a director whose name became an adjective in the 80s? I'm trying to find a precursor to "Lynchian" (and, yes, "Kaufmanesque"). --
On 8/26/08 3:05 PM, "Nancy Miller" <Nancy_Miller@wiredmag.com> wrote:
In the 80's...not before, like Fellinesque or Bergmanesque? In the late 70's-80's, I guess I think Allen-esque (Woodian? Hah), Cameronian (I think that's a small african country)...Lucastastic. Ok, ok, I'm thinking...
On 8/26/08 3:08 PM, "Jason Tanz" <Jason_Tanz@wired.com> wrote:
80s works best, so I can say that every decade has its own adjectivized auteur. 80s were TK, 90s were Lynchian, Aughts are Kaufmanesque.

But you're right, Felliniesque is a great one. Maybe that makes more sense than stretching it to fit my stupid rhetorical premise.

Only other thought: Kubrickian? Did people ever really say that?
On 8/26/08 3:55 PM, "Nancy Miller" <Nancy_Miller@wiredmag.com> wrote:
Ah, I see. I don't know if this helps, but maybe more than an era, having an "ian" or "esque" as a tacked on suffix spells out enormous creative cache/influence, a kind of conversational shorthand usually reserved for a handful of auteurs: Fellini, Lynch and now, Kaufman. Which is saying something for a screenwriter only now making his debut as "auteur:"
On 8/26/08 3:58 PM, "Jason Tanz" <Jason_Tanz@wired.com> wrote:Yes, well said. And actually, now that I think about it, it's often the vaguely surrealist types that get suffixes, isn't it? Kaufman is pretty regularly compared to Fellini and Lynch. And of course Lucas, for instance, is more influential to mainstream filmmakers, but you never hear anyone referred to as Lucassian.

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