Has the world just tipped on its axis? Charlie Kaufman, the Oscar-winning king of indie screenplays, master of solipsism, purveyor of the quirky and unusual, has taken a job polishing the script for Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, the follow-up to Dreamworks Animation’s hit CGI flick.
Well, how the hell did that happen? Is Kaufman branching out and going mainstream? Well, a little bit yes and a little bit now.
It seems a very strange assignment for the writer of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine… and Synecdoche, New York, but may not be as unusual as we think. Kaufman apparently did less that two weeks work on the Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom script, and therefore probably won’t be credited in the final film. It’s more than possible that he actually does a lot more of this sort of thing than we know, getting paid to tart up other people’s scripts, so that he’s able to spend the time he needs honing his unique quirky projects, which often take several years to write.
An awful lot of scripts get polished by writers who are never ever mentioned, with some people in Hollywood having virtually no on-screen credits, but making a six-figure salary just from giving a final brush-up to other people’s screenplays before they go into production. Kaufman may well do this quite a lot and be paid handsomely, with the only difference being that this time, THR got hold of the story.