It’s been seven long years since the last time we were given a glimpse inside the morbidly clever mind of writer-director Charlie Kaufman — and as the first trailer for his latest film Anomalisa suggests, he has not lost his edge in the interim.
This first peek at Kaufman and co-director Duke Johnson’s moody stop-motion animation movie, follows a depressed motivational speaker (voiced by Naked‘s David Thewlis) experiencing an existential crisis as he mopes around a Cleveland hotel. “What is it to be human?” the narration asks. “What is it to ache? What is it to be alive?” After wandering around and having an encounter with an angry ex-girlfriend, he begins to bond with a mousy woman (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh).”I think you’re extraordinary,” he says to her. “I don’t know [why] yet, it’s just obvious to me that you are.”
While the clip says little about the storyline, it does highlight the film’s surreal animation and human-like puppets (composed of silicone bodies and 3D-printed faces). Based on a play that Kaufman wrote for a triptych project in 2005 and starring Thewlis, Leigh and actor Tom Noonan — who provides voices for every character on screen except the two leads — the project was the subject of a highly publicized 2012 Kickstarter campaign. After premiering at the Venice Film Festival this year, Paramount picked up the movie shortly after the movie’s screenings at the Toronto Film Festival. It opens in theaters on December 30th.