‘Anomalisa’: Meet Michael and Lisa from Charlie Kaufman’s Stop-Motion Animated Film

     December 29, 2015


Despite being written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman, the stop-motion animated film Anomalisa might have fallen off your radar thanks to big-budget marketing flooding the feeds. Consider this a palate cleanser of sorts. Co-directed with stop-motion expert Duke JohnsonAnomalisa follows Michael Stone (David Thewlis), a deeply depressed man who might just have found the love of his life in Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh).

Stop-motion animation can be a hard sell to today’s audiences and I’m not sure if Kaufman’s particular brand of drama and dark humor makes that any easier. With that in mind, Thewlis and Leigh have provided their voices for two featurettes introducing their respective characters. It’s a great albeit brief look at the film’s tone and animation style, as well as a smart way to get audiences (hopefully) invested in these characters. (Tom Noonan also plays the role of “Everyone Else” in the film.) The Paramount Animation picture will open in limited U.S. theaters on December 30th, expanding everywhere in January.

Watch the introductory featurettes for Michael and Lisa below:

Here’s the official synopsis for Anomalisa:

From writer Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Duke Johnson (Moral Orel, Frankenhole) comes Anomalisa.


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. A beautifully tender and absurdly humorous dreamscape, from the brilliant minds of Charlie Kaufman (SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK) and Duke Johnson (“Community” episode, Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas), this stop-motion animation wonder features the vocal cast of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis and a stirring strings-based score by Carter Burwell. The darkly comedic and surreal stop-motion journey of a man’s long night of the soul, ANOMALISA confirms Charlie Kaufman’s place amongst the most important of American filmmakers, and announces Duke Johnson as a major creative force.

For more on Anomalisa, be sure to check out our recent coverage provided at the following links:


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