Charlie Kaufman has already given us some of the most unique and surrealistic screenplays in film, having written movies like “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” “Anomalisa” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and more. Now the acclaimed filmmaker is turning into an author, as Kaufman is preparing to release his debut novel “Antkind,” about a neurotic film critic who stumbles upon a three-month-long motion picture.
The news comes from Entertainment Weekly, which reports that Oscar-winning Charlie Kaufman landed a deal with Random House to publish “Antkind,” which deals with an extremely long movie that could be the “last great hope of civilization.” Someone ask Martin Scorsese if he thinks such a thing could be cinema. According to the book synopsis, via Random House:
“B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider—a film he’s convinced will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core. His hands on what is possibly the greatest movie ever made, a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: The film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius.”
“All that’s left of this work of art is a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the film that just might be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter. Desperate to impose order on an increasingly nonsensical existence, trapped in a self-imposed prison of aspirational victimhood and degeneratively inclusive language, B. scrambles to re-create the lost masterwork while attempting to keep pace with an ever-fracturing culture of “likes” and arbitrary denunciations that are simultaneously his bête noire and his raison d’être.”
Honestly, that sounds absolutely bonkers and fascinating. It is the greatest joy for a critic to be able to convince someone to give an underappreciated movie a chance, but what if there was no way for them to see it, and it rested on you to make sure it reaches the masses? Kaufman’s debut novel promises to be a mind-bending journey. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Ben Greenberg, VP and Executive Editor at Random House, says: “I’ve been talking to Charlie about this novel for almost eight years and watching it change and recalibrate and grow. Antkind is a hilarious, devastating, epic mindf–k. I’ve never read anything else like it.”
“Antkind” will arrive May 12, 2020. See the cover below.