An angel investment is actually a term used more for the stepping-stone investments that rich persons or firms will make in start-up companies, which typically land between the thousands you might get with a start-up loan, and the millions you might get when venture capital gets involved. Real definitions aside, it’s hard not to picture Megan Ellison as some sort of Hollywood angel, flying around with her billions and investing in all of the right projects. Paul Thomas Anderson became the first prestige director to have projects saved by her golden light, and now Charlie Kaufman will get another collaboration with Spike Jonze off the ground thanks to the billionairess’ dollars.
It has no title, but the first of Kaufman’s scripts to benefit from the (still under-negotiations) deal will be a story about a satirical Illuminati council made up of world leaders, taking place as they all meet to determine major world events that will shape history. At first I misread and thought they were determining earthquakes and natural disasters along with determining wars and fixing oil prices or whatever. I frankly got a little too excited about my own misunderstood interpretation (that admittedly sounds perfectly reasonable in a Charlie Kaufman script) but upon closer inspection there’s no actual indication they’ll be controlling natural events. This is still incredibly exciting though, as the script would be helmed by Spike Jonze, whose previous collaborations with Kaufman have netted us Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. While Kaufman’s other collaborations since those films have been fruitful, it’s time the original pair get back together for another round.
While it’s kind of vague whether or not Megan Ellison is involved, Kaufman also has a tentatively living project at Sony, which he plans to direct. This one has a title, Frank or Francis, and revolves around a conflict between a film director and an online critic/blogger. One has to wonder what late night internet-scouring post-Synecdoche, New York led to this script… In any event, the name Meryl Streep is haphazardly thrown around, though not in regards to any specific role, so that likely means very little at this point.
I’m glad to hear Kaufman is on the move- he’s been a part of some of the most interesting films made in the last decade-and-a-half, and we need voices like his to poke interesting holes into the increasingly sequel/blockbuster filled landscape of American film.
I’m also glad that Megan Ellison’s billions run deep, because if she continues to give her attention to the most interesting, underfunded filmmakers around, she’ll quickly become a legendary, saint-level figure of worship in the film geek crowds. The Coens, Andrew Dominik, John Hillcoat, Nick Cave, Paul Thomas Anderson, and now Charlie Kaufman make up quite a stable of talent to be associated with. Keep it up Megan, please.
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