“Anomalisa” – Behind the Scenes

Anomalisa was included in my Best Feature Films of 2015 last month, but I’d originally intended to devote a separate blog post to the film. In preparation for that piece — which I didn’t write — I accumulated a variety of material that I think might be interesting to anyone who has either seen Anomalisa, or intends to. Below is the opening paragraph of what was to have been the longer piece.


Anomalisa-posterEarlier this month (December 2015), we attended a screening of Anomalisa, a stop-motion animated feature written by Charlie Kaufman and co-directed with Duke Johnson. Like previous films written by Kaufman – Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation(2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) — Anomalisa reflects an extremely original sensibility, a way of seeing the world that seems to drift up from the unconscious — childlike, weirdly magical, and oddly disturbing. Recent films using stop-motion include Aardman Animations’ Chicken Run (2000) and the great Wallace and Gromit series (1990-2005), The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009), and Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009). These films and others like them depict cartoon characters in cartoon worlds. Anomalisa is something else entirely. This is the first stop-motion film I can think of that concerns ostensibly real people set in the real world. The effect is somewhat dislocating.


Here is a selection of video and print interviews, clips on the making of the film, reviews, and photographs.

Two videos about the making of Anomalisa:

A video interview with Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, and David Thewlis at the BFI London Film Festival:

A video interview with Tom Noonan at the Film Society of Lincoln Center following the screening we saw last December. Noonan has been in many films, but I remember him most vividly as the serial killer in Michael Mann’s terrific Manhunter (1986).

Click on the links to access the following:

A Film Comment interview with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson

A Film Comment review of Anomalisa

A Variety review from last year’s Telluride Film Festival

A New York Times article discussing the making of Anomalisa

Charlie Kaufman discusses Anomalisa in a New York Times article


The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, currently has an exhibit called “The World of Anomalisa.” On display through March 27 are two sets used in the making of the film — a hotel room and a Cleveland city street. Per the exhibit description: “Photography took nearly two years, from May 2013 to December 2014, in a studio in Burbank, California. Much of the film takes place in a hotel room. Eight identical hotel room sets were built, so that filming of different scenes could take place simultaneously during the long production period. The Cleveland street set was used for just one scene in the film, and was on screen for about 30 seconds.”

Below are photographs I took of the sets. There’s something fascinating about things in miniature, and these are amazing.

Hotel room3Hotel room4Street scene5Street scene2______________________________________________________

Release dates for video discs and streaming have yet to be announced. Anomalisa is currently showing in theaters in limited release. — Ted Hicks

Anomalisa-Michael running in hall

About Ted Hicks

Iowa farm boy; have lived in NYC for 40 years; worked in motion picture labs, film/video distribution, subtitling, media-awards program; obsessive film-goer all my life.
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1 Response to “Anomalisa” – Behind the Scenes

  1. This looks incredible. I just watched the trailer and found myself getting emotional! From the trailer!!

    Thanks for posting this overview. The detail, the work, the hours that went into this is staggering. Can’t wait to see it!

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