Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Frank or Francis’ Adds Elizabeth Banks and Paul Reubens


Frank or Francis castingIt is now simply too good to be true, over the past couple of days news has surfaced that Charlie Kaufman‘s blistering Hollywood satire (and musical), Frank or Francis, has gained four new names and things just couldn’t be getting any better.

If you’ll remember, back in October 2011, I posted a script review of Frank or Francis, which is billed as a “satire of Hollywood set to music” as it “chronicles the back-and-forth between a movie director and an online blogger who berates him.” As soon as word on the film was out there so was the script and I quickly thumbed through all 152-pages of it, loving every minute of it.

Before today, the cast included Jack Black, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carell, Kevin Kline, Catherine Keener and Kate Winslet, the latter two having only been attached yesterday.

Today, The Hollywood Reporter adds Elizabeth Banks to that list and Variety has just reported Paul Reubens has joined the cast as well.

As far as the character breakdown goes, Carell will play 40-year-old celebrated screenwriter Frank Arder who finds himself in an online war with Francis (Jack Black), a blogger who trolls online movie forums slamming most everything he comes across and/or is popular, citing films that “did it better” 40-50 years ago. Frank is married to an actress named Sally (whom I’m assuming will be played by Keener) and meanwhile he’s having an affair with an actress named Teri (Banks).

The film begins at the Oscars where Cage will play Oscar host Alan Modell who is something of an Eddie Murphy type, having recently starred in Fat Dad and his next film is Fat Dad 2: Skinny Dad. It’s here Frank wins an Oscar for his latest screenplay Praxis while The Wind and the Rain is the night’s big winner taking home 27 awards.

Additionally, Kevin Kline plays Richard Waller, brother to a Michael Bay-esque filmmaker named Jonathan. Richard has created an animatronic head (referred to in the script as “Richard’s Head”), which has been engineered to create a perfect film that will appeal to everyone in the world.

Variety‘s Jeff Sneider reports Reubens will play a snooty film critic in the film, but not the second lead role, which, as I mentioned will be played by Jack Black.

As for Winslet, I could be wrong and she could be playing Frank’s wife and Keener could be playing Francis’ mother. It would, however, be interesting to see a 40-Year-Old Virgin reunion with Carell and Keener once again playing an onscreen couple. Sneider from Variety, however, remains unconvinced Winslet is actually in the film, telling me on Twitter her involvement remains unconfirmed.

Either way, my expectations for this film are through the roof. If you haven’t yet read my review of the script, I did my very best not to spoil the film, delving only into the first 39 pages or so of the 152-page script, which I assume Kaufman will be trimming down to a more manageable size before production begins. A start date, though, has yet to be announced.

As for these fresh additions to the cast, you can see Banks in theaters this weekend in Man on a Ledge (though I suggest you don’t) and she’ll also be seen in The Hunger Games in March. And Winslet is in limited theaters now in Roman Polanski’s Carnage (which I suggest you see).