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Adaptation. (2002)

Trailer
2:28 | Trailer
A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director:

Spike Jonze

Writers:

Susan Orlean (book), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,408 ( 172)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 64 wins & 100 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Charlie Kaufman / Donald Kaufman
Tilda Swinton ... Valerie Thomas
Meryl Streep ... Susan Orlean
Chris Cooper ... John Laroche
Jay Tavare ... Matthew Osceola
Litefoot ... Russell (as G. Paul Davis)
Roger Willie ... Randy
Jim Beaver ... Ranger Tony
Cara Seymour ... Amelia Kavan
Doug Jones ... Augustus Margary
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Ranger Steve Neely (scenes deleted)
Gary Farmer ... Buster Baxley
Peter Jason ... Defense Attorney
Gregory Itzin ... Prosecutor
Curtis Hanson ... Orlean's Husband
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Storyline

While his latest movie Being John Malkovich (1999) is in production, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired by Valerie Thomas to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" for the screen. Thomas bought the movie rights before Orlean wrote the book, when it was only an article in The New Yorker. The book details the story of rare orchid hunter John Laroche, whose passion for orchids and horticulture made Orlean discover passion and beauty for the first time in her life. Charlie wants to be faithful to the book in his adaptation, but despite Laroche himself being an interesting character in his own right, Charlie is having difficulty finding enough material in Laroche to fill a movie, while equally not having enough to say cinematically about the beauty of orchids. At the same time, Charlie is going through other issues in his life. His insecurity as a person doesn't allow him to act upon his feelings for Amelia Kavan, who is interested in him as a man. And Charlie's twin ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Charlie Kaufman writes the way he lives... With Great Difficulty. His Twin Brother Donald Lives the way he writes... with foolish abandon. Susan writes about life... But can't live it. John's life is a book... Waiting to be adapted. One story... Four Lives... A million ways it can end. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charlie Kaufman never actually met Susan Orleans while writing the screenplay for the film. The first time he encountered her in person was over a year into production when Orleans visited the set during filming, and Nicholas Cage introduced her to Kaufman. The first thing she said was "you have no idea how embarrassed I am right now," to which Kaufman responded with "not as embarrassed as me" before running off set. The two did not meet for another year after that. See more »

Goofs

At the café, Charlie's arms/hands jump from the table to his lap between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charlie Kaufman: [voiceover] Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would ...
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Crazy Credits

The screenplay is credited as being written by both Charlie Kaufman and his fictional brother Donald. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Together
(uncredited)
Written by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon
Performed by Nicolas Cage
See more »

User Reviews

 
Subverting the rules for creating a roadmap, is often the very path of affirmation of such rules. For in the end everything is just a process of adaptation.
16 June 2017 | by guedesninoSee all my reviews

The kaleidoscope of metalanguage presented in the film, are presented and used with mastery, either at the beginning of "Adaptation" which is linked to the term "Being John Malkovich", both directed by the distinguished Spike Jonze. Still on metalanguage, which is about an adaptation of a book to a cinematographic script, which is created simultaneously with the film itself, ie a film about itself, as a joyfully self-referential exercise of self-deconstruction. But it is also, more profoundly, a film about its own non-existence - a narrative that confronts both the impossibility and the desperate need to tell stories provokes our expectations of coherence, plausibility and fidelity to the reality lived.

There are variety of games presented in the film are dominated by the restlessness of knowing what is real what imaginary, what in fact thinks Charlie Kaufman, movie roter and what in fact thinks or thought Susan Orlean, when writing the book "The Orchid Thief "that inspired the film. What script rules are actually followed, ignored, and subverted? And that in the film are presented and worked through the figure of the writing twins Charlie Kaufman / Donald Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) and scriptwriter Robert McKee (Brian Cox).

So well adapted to this story are the actors, who in addition to acting are guides who invite us and lead us to organize the fragmentary data of the film. If in the figure of the twins writers we have two sides of the same man, and that in "Adaptation" is referenced like the opposites of the same figure of a policeman and a bandit, where both are complementary. If the script uses these two men to present the diversity of the same man, we have in Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) the perfect adaptation of the divergences that fit in a single person, of how human and fragile and volatile and how the process Of adaptation of a person is not necessarily followed by completely philosophical or psychological questions, are in the measure, impulses of an immediate action. The character Susan surprises with her abrupt change in the end and unpredictability of her attitudes, though consistent, without script or construction failures.

The use of the pace in "Adaptation" is undoubtedly an important and necessary point to tell this story, Jonze with his experience in clips and series for MTV, was able to absorb the freshness of a stormy pace that assists in the complexity of moments lived by Charlie and Susan or in moments of lull and mockery of Donald's life as well as in the great final Match Point, a frenetic, accelerated jab of actions and images, but which unfortunately comes out too much, unnecessary, in trying to present solutions that lead to an outcome.

At first, Charlie's overly self-conscious and pseudo-intellectual crises are fun as we recognize the same tendencies in ourselves. So we also feel his yearning when he is so touched by a book that it looks like it could be the catalyst to kick him out of his narcissistic lifestyle. That is, until Kaufman reveals his great epiphany - that even after enlightenment, life is still cheap and dirty. What is not true or absolute lie, but turn into two hours of a film, where director and screenwriter apparently dialogues with each other and the public is the passive stance to accompany their discussions.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

14 February 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Orchid Thief See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$384,478, 8 December 2002

Gross USA:

$22,498,520

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,801,173
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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