Charlie Kaufman "Just Stopped Caring" About Directing After 'Anomalisa's' Disappointing Box Office

For a while now, especially during the promotion of the upcoming film, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” filmmaker Charlie Kaufman has consistently discussed the idea that he might be done with directing. While the idea of him not directing features anymore is a bit worrisome for film fans, Kaufman explained in a recent interview with UPROXX why it is the issues that go along with releasing a film that has led him to this point of just not caring if he makes another or not.

It appears the filmmaker first became disillusioned with the business side of filmmaking after the release of his previous directorial effort, “Anomalisa.” And from there, he’s just lost the desire to stress about making films all the time.

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“You know what happened? We’ve hit ‘Anomalisa,’” explained Kaufman. “We made it ourselves. We made it in the middle of nothing in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t know what we had. We finished it. We started sending it to Telluride and Venice and Toronto [film festivals], and these people went crazy for it. And it won! And everybody was bidding on it to buy it, because we didn’t have distribution. And we won the Silver Lion at Venice. And I thought, holy cow.”

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He continued, “And then … nothing happened. The movie didn’t do any business. And I really felt weird about that, because this is the second time that’s happened to me. And it’s like, I just stopped caring. And this thing with Netflix is … It doesn’t matter. There’s no box office. The movie will play on Netflix forever – and it won’t disappear in a week because the box office isn’t doing well. And that’s fine with me. And so, that sort of pushed me in the direction of not caring I think. Not that I don’t want to work or not be interested. It just means that it’s outside of my control.”

Of course, his newest film, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” is debuting on Netflix, and as he said, that means there’s less concern about the post-release business side of the industry. That being said, his proclamation about not taking more directorial jobs has less to do with his creativity and more to do with all the extra stuff that goes with being the filmmaker behind a feature. And so, he just doesn’t feel like its necessary for him to direct in the future.

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“I don’t like thinking about box office,” he said. “I don’t like thinking about commercial viability. All those things that get put into your head, that turn you into some kind of numbskull and unable to do the thing that’s important. I want to be rid of it. I’m done with it. It’s not important to me. I understand that now. And the fact that I don’t care anymore, it makes it easier because I can do the work if I get the work. When I said that this was going to be my last movie, that was basically what I was saying. I mean, I wasn’t making a public pronouncement. I was saying, ‘I don’t care how this is perceived. I’m going to make the movie I want to make.’”

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is set to debut on Netflix on September 4.