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Paramount Picks up Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Anomalisa’

Stop-motion animated R-rated feature co-directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson was produced by ‘Robot Chicken’ producer Rosa Tran.

Paramount Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Anomalisa, the stop-motion film from directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, according to a report by Deadline.

The purchase follows screenings at film festivals in Telluride, Toronto and Venice, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. Domestically, the R-rated film will be released on December 30, 2015 in New York and Los Angeles, making it eligible for awards consideration.

As the screenplay writer of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Anomalisa marks Kaufman’s first foray into stop-motion animation. Co-director Johnson is perhaps best known for overseeing the 2010 animated Christmas episode of NBC’s Community. Robot Chicken producer Rosa Tran is producing.

Centered on an inspirational speaker who checks into a bizarre hotel, Anomalisa tells the story of a man who “struggles with his inability to connect with other people.” With a voice cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis, the film is produced by Starburns Industries and Snoot Entertainment. It was partially funded by a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign launched in 2012 that raised $406,237 from 5,770 backers.

“The film is a spectacular achievement of artistry, one that we are incredibly pleased to be a part of,” Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey reportedly said. “Charlie is a filmmaker of immense vision and craft and he and Duke have created a film that stands alone as one of the year’s best.”

Anomalisa has been a three-year labor of love and we are thrilled the film has now found a home at Paramount with people who are passionate about the film and are committed to sharing it with the world,” the filmmakers said in a statement.

Here’s the synopsis:

Michael Stone, husband, father and respected author of “How May I Help You Help Them?” is a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, where he’s scheduled to speak at a convention of customer service professionals, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. There, he is amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa, who may or may not be the love of his life.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.