Academy Award winner Charlie Kaufman’s latest film, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” hit Netflix in September and has already picked up a screenplay win with the Boston Society of Film Critics, along with nominations from several other regional groups. You can now get inside Kaufman’s unique mind and read the script here.
Kaufman, who was also honored with Variety’s Creative Impact in Screenwriting Award at this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival, adapted the script from Iain Reid’s 2016 novel about a young woman (played in the film by Jessie Buckley and literally called “Young Woman” in the screenplay) accompanying her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) home to meet his parents.
Kaufman won an Academy Award for his script for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and is regarded as one of the most original voices in filmmaking today. His work is heralded for it’s willingness to go unexpected places – the term that many people use when describing his works is “mindf—.” In an interview with Variety in August, Kaufman addressed his feelings about this term. “I have heard that description of things I’ve done, but I don’t set out to do that,” he said. “But I think the way to approach one’s work is to put it out in the world and let it do what it does. So if people want to call it a mindf— or say I’m weird, that’s their prerogative. But it’s not my intent.”
The script is a must-read for anyone curious about Kaufman’s process. If you’ve ever wondered how he describes scenes such as the film’s pivotal dream ballet, your answers are now within reach. In the film, Buckley and Plemons are replaced by dance doubles, which Kaufman details thusly: “A Second Young Woman, dressed identically to the Young Woman, emerges from another classroom doorway and stands behind her. A Young Man dressed as Jake emerges and stands behind Jake. The real Jake and Young Woman back away leaving only their replacements. Eerie, burbling orchestral music begins, vague and poorly remembered. The two replacements wave and hurry toward each other in a balletic run. They meet in the middle of the hall and embrace. “Jake” spins “Young Woman” around, lifts her, and the two perform a pas de deux expressing their love. The real Jake watches, profoundly moved, and the real Young Woman looks perplexed and anxious.”
Download a PDF of the full script here