The idiosyncratic filmmaker’s latest movie skewers actors, audiences and, ahem, movie bloggers. 
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10 Oct 2011 - 10:33 AM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2012 - 12:30 AM

Moviegoers are dumb sheep who flock to idiotic movies, actors do deals with the devil in ruthless pursuit of success and the Academy Awards reward vanity, greed and political corruption.

Those bitter and twisted views of Hollywood, its practitioners and audiences will be aired in writer-director Charlie Kaufman's new film Frank or Francis.

Movie bloggers are another target in the movie which is due to begin shooting in January. Steve Carell will star as writer-actor-director Frank Arder, whose movie You, in which, Eddie Murphy-style, he impersonates a homeless man, women, children, and African-Americans, has been nominated for a record-breaking 29 Oscars.

Jack Black has been cast as Francis Deems, an online, snobbish film blogger who hates everything and everyone, especially Frank's work.

Nicolas Cage is set to play Alan Modell, a comedian who starred in the wildly popular Fat Dad movies and whose career is on the wane, despite which he's been invited to host the Oscars.

If all that sounds bizarre, the film surely takes another risk as it's being mounted as a musical, with nearly half the dialogue sung. Sample lyrics: “I may think that I'm a tough guy / A misanthrope or loner / But strictly on the level / Not a thing gives me a boner / More than being loved / By everyone, everywhere, always."

The screenplay has been circulating around Hollywood, drawing some positive comments despite its anti-Hollywood slant.

“The script is brilliant, funny, dead on, sad, depressing but — did I say brilliant? It's hard to write about it without feeling like you're trapped inside it,” said Awards Daily's Sasha Stone.

“No one comes out of this thing unscathed. He shines the cruel light of irony on the whole dog and pony show otherwise known as the Oscars, the people who pay attention to them (there is a great debate between Francis and his mom about a typical Academy best picture winner “sweeping” while a more deserving film goes unrecognized).”

This surely is a case of Kaufman biting the hands that have richly fed him during his career. He scored four Oscar nominations, three as himself and one for Adaptation shared with his alter-ego Donald Kaufman, and he took home the gold statuette for his 2005 screenplay Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

And as a film buff, Kaufman should be well aware that Hollywood satires have a high failure rate.

Still, Frank or Francis apparently uses the movie business as a metaphor for a broader – and highly cynical – view of society.

“In truth, the movie's really not about the Oscars or about Hollywood so much as it's about the gluttony, neediness and anger that fuel the entire country and course through the internet,” said The Wrap's Steve Pond.

“America is a country of over-entertained, over-fat, under-schooled ass-hats," declares one character in the film. "Can you expect the Academy to be any different?"

Kaufman made a few cryptic remarks about the film in an interview with London's Time Out, stating, “In the broadest possible sense, it's about online film criticism, but as usual, the world that I'm writing about is not necessarily the world that I'm writing about. It's just a place to set it. There's a lot in there about the internet and anger: cultural, societal and individual anger. And isolation in this particular age we live in. And competition: it's about the idea of people in this world wanting to be seen.”