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Friday, 3 September, 1999, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Inside the mind of Malkovich
Th stars of Being John Malkovich
Can I interest you in being me, Cameron?
Stanley Kubrick's final movie Eyes Wide Shut may have opened the Venice Film Festival, but it is a surreal feature about seeing the world through the eyes of actor John Malkovich which has tongues wagging.

Being John Malkovich sees just about everyone, including Cameron Diaz and John Cusack, get inside the mind of the Dangerous Liaisons and Empire of the Sun star.

"When I first looked at the script, the title seemed like a one-line joke but it turned out to be a 110-page joke," said the actor himself.

"I was desperately hoping it wouldn't get made or even circulated," the 45-year-old tolds reporter at Venice.

Cameron Diaz
What's it like inside Malkovich's mind? "Muddy," says Diaz.
Co-star Cameron Diaz was more enthusiastic about the project. "Can you imagine what it's like being pulled through Malkovich's subconscious? It's very muddy."

The decidedly weird concept was filmed by the cult music video director Spike Jonze.

"It's about New York, a puppeteer, a tragic marriage, a chimp, another woman, an actor, the New Jersey Turnpike and a plate of lasagne," explained Jonze.

Cusack plays a budding puppeteer who finds his office is a portal into Malkovich's mind. He decides to share his discovery with the world to impress a colleague played by Catherine Keener.

Things take an even stranger turn when Cusack's wife, Cameron Diaz, becomes addicted to being John Malkovich, falling in love with Keener in the process.

Malkovich himself wants to make it clear that the film is not an accurate depiction of his real life.

Spike Jonze at Venice
The film is about lasagne, according to director Spike Jonze
Being the real John Malkovich "is less fun than you might imagine," he said.

The film is being shown as part of the Venice Festival's Dreams and Visions section, one of several showcases for new talent.

Although Being John Malkovich is Spike Jonze first feature film his work is already familiar to millions.

The director, whose real name is Adam Spiegel, has made a string of award-winning music promos and advertisements.

Jonze was the brains behind the Beastie Boys' video Sabotage - an acclaimed spoof of 1970s cop shows. He has also worked with the likes of Bjork, REM, Daft Punk and Puff Daddy.

Most recently Jonze was seen leading the troupe of amateur dancers in the video for Fatboy Slim's hit Praise You.

Being John Malkovich was produced by Single Cell Films, the film company owned by REM star Michael Stipe.

See also:

02 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Sex sells at Venice
02 Sep 99 | Entertainment
All eyes open at Venice
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