Trail Guide: Live coverage of the first Clinton-Trump debate

James Gandolfini

For 'Anomalisa' star Tom Noonan, a Charlie Kaufman life

For 'Anomalisa' star Tom Noonan, a Charlie Kaufman life

Several years after he released “What Happened Was,” an independent film about two lonely souls, in the mid-1990s, the actor-filmmaker Tom Noonan received a letter from a fan via his website. The man writing was a young screenwriter with a darkly absurdist streak, and he was curious to talk more about how to make a movie like the one Noonan had.

That fan was Charlie Kaufman, and the letter was the beginning of a relationship that would define Noonan — and, fittingly given the Kaufman connection, take a few more turns along the way. Noonan helped inspire Kaufman to pursue his own kind of honest storytelling, Kaufman would provide acting work to Noonan, and Noonan...