Charlie Kaufman rails against ‘garbage’ studio system

Charlie Kaufman
Share this Article:

The screenwriter and director Charlie Kaufman warns that we are sleepwalking into a future where AI films are the next natural step.

Charlie Kaufman is a renowned creator for well, being creative. Whether as a screenwriter or a director, Kaufman’s films hum with originality and creativity. However, Kaufman has expressed concern that the kind of interesting and thought-provoking art that he has spent decades producing is slowly being eradicated from the filmmaking business.

Speaking at a recent writing masterclass at the Sarajevo Film Festival, the director of I’m Thinking of Ending Things didn’t mince his words when discussing the current state of cinema, arguing that, “at this point, the only thing that makes money is garbage. It’s just fascinating. It makes a fortune, and that’s the bottom line. It’s very seductive to the studios but also to the people who engage and become the makers of that garbage, especially if they’re lauded for the garbage because they don’t have to look inward or think long about what they’re doing”.

Kaufman is the screenwriter behind some truly original films such as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation but he warns that the system has become accustomed to uninspiring, risk-averse fare for so long that eventually, it destroys the possibility of finding and nurturing cinema that takes risks and surprises and challenges audiences.

He argues that by deprioritising creativity and relying on staid formulas, studios and audiences are training themselves for a future in which they conceivably could exist on a diet of turgid, uninspiring ‘cinema’, perhaps even created by artificial intelligence. “As long as they are in that arena making that (‘poo’ – Ed), then you might as well have A.I. do it. Once you give that up and allow the studios to use A.I. to write their screenplay, there’s no going back”.

Kaufman’s stark warning comes at the same time that Shazam! star Zachary Levi has also denounced the quality of Hollywood films. Meanwhile, Francis Ford Coppola, a central figure in the creatively fertile New Hollywood movement of the 1970s has argued the opposite, stating that we’re on the verge of a new era of original filmmaking. Somebody is going to be on the wrong side of this debate. The question though, is who?


Image: BigStock

Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:

Follow Film Stories on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

Buy our Film Stories and Film Junior print magazines here.

Become a Patron here.

Share this Article:

Related Stories

More like this