BY this point, "being john malkovich" is considered one of the masterpieces of the indie-film movement. but when word started to filter down, 10 years ago, about this project by skateboard/ rock video auteur and the then-unknown screenwriter charlie kaufman, it was hard to imagine this working. a film about living inside a celebrity's brain, directed by a kooky guy who had never made a film longer than the beastie boys' "sabotage" video?
jonze -- by now also celebrated for "adaptation" -- is of course on our minds again because of his much-awaited adaptation of "where the wild things are."
a decade ago, writing for the paper New Times LA, i was intrigued by the buzz around "malkovich," and the screening made clear that this was a boldly original film. originally, i was going to meet jonze at a bar for an interview. then, at his LA apartment, which i imagined as full of skateboards. and then, i found out i had to go to new york, for the film's junket, where i would finally get a one-one-one interview.
so i flew to new york. when i got there, i was told that he insisted on having cameron diaz and catherine keener in the room with him. of course, i did not mind the company of these lovely babes (diaz seemed to have gone undercover as an english major for a liberal arts college; when she greeted me like an old friend i thought she might be a wesleyan classmate assisting on the film.) but having two stunning actresses in the room made it hard for both jonze and i to concentrate. it just got weirder from there.
in any case, here is the cover story i wrote for now-defunct new times, which is reprinted here in sister paper SF Weekly.
i welcome discussion of the new film, which opens friday, on this site.