Marvel’s ‘Secret Invasion’ Pays Tribute to a Charlie Kaufman Classic for Empire Magazine

in Marvel, Television

Being John Malkovich

Credit: Universal Pictures

Marvel’s latest Disney+ series, Secret Invasion, will be streaming on the platform next month, which means the studio will ramp up the show’s promotional campaign in the coming weeks. This week, Empire Magazine revealed its exclusive cover for subscribers, which features Nick Fury doing his best John Malkovich impression.

nick fury in Secret Invasion
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Secret Invasion is a classic storyline from the Marvel comics, where the shapeshifting alien Skrulls embody several vital members of the Marvel universe and secretly pose as impostors for several years. On the other hand, the premise of Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich (1999) is very different, but that didn’t stop Empire Magazine from creating an incredible homage to the film using Nick Fury and some Skrull masks.

Being John Malkovich (1999) put the eccentric screenwriter on the map, earning Kaufman his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. And you couldn’t get more original than Kaufman. The movie is about a depressed puppeteer (John Cusack) who discovers a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich (self). The puppeteer enters the portal and becomes the famed actor, and is able to control his entire life. If you aren’t familiar with Kaufman’s work, we highly recommend giving his movies a watch. Kaufman was also nominated for Adaptation (2002) and won his first Oscar for his original screenplay, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). 

Being John Malkovich and Secret Invasion
Credit: Empire, Universal Pictures

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In a way, Cusack’s character is embodying and impersonating John Malkovich and living out the actor’s life as if it’s his own. In that aspect, the connection to Marvel’s Secret Invasion makes sense as the Skrulls are doing the same thing to anyone who they imitate. At one point in the film, multiple people begin to enter the mind of John Malkovich and the audience realizes that anyone can be embodying the actor at any giving time. It’s a wonderful correlation between the two projects that have nothing to do with each other. 

The Empire Magazine is a delightful wink and nod to the classic movie from the late 90s, and any fan of both Marvel and Kaufman would be excited to see it. However, for those hoping to pick this one up in stores, there is a different (and less interesting) cover for non-subscribers. The only way to get the exclusive “Being Nick Fury” cover is to be a subscriber to the magazine.

Are you fan of Charlie Kaufman’s films? Let us know in the comments. 

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