Craig Schwartz
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Craig Schwartz

Being John Malkovich

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About Him

Living… in New York City, with his pet-loving girlfriend Lotte and her chimpanzee. His place is bare and dusty; the ceiling fan is always moving and the clock is always ticking loudly amidst the silence. Craig spends most of his time in the garage, which is in even greater disarray than the apartment.

Profession… file clerk at LesterCorp, although he’s not really sure what the company is or what it does. Each day, Craig takes the elevator to floor 7 1/2 and listens to Lester and Maxine belittle him constantly.  Once he knows he’s alone, he goes to his secret Malkovich portal – which allows him to literally enter the head of actor John Malkovich, at least for 15 minutes – and the fun begins.

Interests… puppeteering. Before he got the job at LesterCorp, before he found out he could really be John Malkovich, Craig spent every waking moment working with his puppets in his garage. He’d light the stage and use his own finely sculpted puppets. He is not your average children’s birthday party puppeteer. He is a deeply serious artist who seeks to equal the emotionalism of opera with his tiny creations. It is truly where he feels most alive.

Relationship Status… in shambles. Lotte and Craig were doing fine, he thought, until his boss Maxine came along. Once they all became obsessed with being John Malkovich, things got even worse, as Lotte and Maxine develop a sexual relationship through Malkovich. Lotte enters Malkovich’s head, Maxine has sex with Malkovich (and thus Lotte), and feelings inevitably enter the picture. Craig prides himself on liking women for more than just their bodies and considers himself the new American male. Alas, that’s not working too well for him so far.

Challenge… figuring out the ramifications of his discovery. Craig’s not sure what’s actually happening when he’s in John Malkovich’s head, but he knows it could ruin his life, the lives of his loved ones, and even the famed actor’s life. As Craig puts it, “Am I inside him? Am I in his brain? Am I him? Is he me? Does he know I'm here? It raises all sorts of philosophical questions about the nature of self, about the existence of the soul. Am I me? Is Malkovich Malkovich? Was the Buddha right, is duality an illusion?” Yes, he has a lot of questions.

Personality… obsessive and introverted. When Craig finds something he’s passionate about, he becomes completely consumed by it. It’s as if he feels insufficient in his own body and constantly desires mediums for escape. He relishes the idea of being inside someone else’s skin, assuming their strengths and even their flaws for a while. Craig craves the full depth of human experience, despite barely being able to handle the shallow end of the pool. 

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