The decision to use stop-motion puppets for Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa was as deliberate as the production had to be with every movement.
“We think that it allows people to focus and pay attention to things that are mundane in a way that they might not be able to in live action. You know that everything that you see has been calculated and choreographed, that there’s no accident, that if he drums his fingers against his thigh, that was a choice that we made as filmmakers, and it becomes kind of fascinating because of that,” Kaufman tells NPR’s Fresh Air.
To realistically portray the puppets, and convey the emotional depth of the story properly, Kaufman and Johnson spent a year and a half painstakingly making the film. “Movement and physics: These are the fundamentals of animation,” Johnson tells Vulture “You don’t notice that stuff if it’s done well, but if fabric or liquid or hair moves weird, your brain is like, Wait, that’s not real.”