Kaufman based Adaptation
on his struggles to adapt Orlean's 1998 nonfiction book The Orchid Thief
while suffering from writer's block
. It involves elements adapted from the book, plus fictitious elements, including Kaufman's twin brother (also credited as a writer for the film) and a romance between Orlean and Laroche. It culminates in completely invented elements, including versions of Orlean and Laroche three years after the events of The Orchid Thief
Charlie, who rejects formulaic scriptwriting, wants to ensure that his script is a faithful adaptation of The Orchid Thief
but comes to feel that the book does not have a usable narrative and is impossible to turn into a film, which leaves him with a serious case of writer's block
. Already well past his deadline with Columbia Pictures
and despairing of writing his script with self-reference
, Charlie travels to New York City
to discuss the screenplay with Orlean directly. Too shy and socially awkward to speak with her upon arriving at her office and after he received the surprising news that Donald's spec script
for a clichéd psychological thriller, The 3
, is selling for six or seven figures, Charlie resorts to attending McKee's seminar in New York and asks him for advice. Charlie ends up asking Donald to join him in New York to assist with the story structure.
Donald, who is confident socially, pretends to be Charlie and interviews Orlean but finds her responses suspicious. He and Charlie follow Orlean to Florida, where she meets John Laroche
, the orchid-stealing protagonist of her book and her secret lover. It is revealed that the Seminole
wanted the ghost orchid
to manufacture a mind-altering drug that causes fascination. Laroche introduces the drug to Orlean. After Laroche and Orlean catch Charlie observing them taking the drug and having sex, Orlean decides that Charlie must be killed to prevent him from exposing her adultery and drug use.
Orlean forces Charlie to drive to the swamp at gunpoint, intending to kill him. Charlie and Donald escape and hide in the swamp, where they resolve their differences. Laroche accidentally shoots Donald. Charlie and Donald drive off but collide head-on with a ranger's truck. Donald is ejected through the windshield and dies moments later, but Charlie is saved by the airbag
and runs into the swamp to hide. There he is spotted by Laroche, who is killed by an alligator before he can kill Charlie.
Orlean is arrested. Charlie reconciles with his mother as he calls to inform her of Donald's death. He later tells his former love interest, Amelia, that he loves her. She responds that she loves him too. Charlie finishes the script, which ends with him announcing in a voice-over
that the script is finished and that for the first time, he is filled with hope.
was originally set for the double role of Charlie and Donald Kaufman. Cage took the role for a $5 million salary,
and wore a fatsuit
The emotions that Charlie is going through [in the film] are real and they reflect what I was going through when I was trying to write the script. Of course there are specific things that have been exaggerated or changed for cinematic purposes. Part of the experience of watching this movie is the experience of seeing that Donald Kaufman is credited as the co-screenwriter. It's part of the movie, it's part of the story.
—Charlie Kaufman on writing the script
The idea to do a film adaptation of Susan Orlean
's The Orchid Thief
dates back to 1994.Fox 2000
purchased the film rights in 1997,
eventually selling them to Jonathan Demme
, who set the project at Columbia Pictures
. Charlie Kaufman
was hired to write the script, but struggled with the adaptation and writer's block
Kaufman eventually created a script of his experience in adaptation, exaggerating events and creating a fictional twin brother. He put Donald Kaufman's name on the script and dedicated the film to him.
By September 1999, Kaufman had written two drafts of the script;
he turned in a third draft in November 2000.
Kaufman said, "The idea of how to write the film didn't come to me until quite late. It was the only idea I had, I liked it, and I knew there was no way it would be approved if I pitched it. So I just wrote it and never told the people I was writing it for. I only told Spike Jonze
, as we were making Being John Malkovich
and he saw how frustrated I was. Had he said I was crazy, I don't know what I would have done".
He also said, "I really thought I was ending my career by turning that in!"
went on fast track in April 2000, with Kaufman making some revisions.
Scott Brake of IGN
gave the script a positive review in June 2000,
as did Drew McWeeny of Ain't It Cool News
Columbia Pictures committed to North America distribution only after Intermedia
came aboard to finance the film in exchange for international distribution rights.
Filming started in late March 2001 in Los Angeles and finished by June.
The "evolution" fantasy sequence was created by Digital Domain
, while Skywalker Sound
handled audio post production
services. The makeup effects (the Nicolas Cage double, Chris Cooper's teeth, and the alligator attack) are by makeup effects designer Tony Gardner
and his effects company Alterian, Inc.
at one point announced a late 2001 theatrical release date,
opened on December 6, 2002, in the United States for a limited release
. The film was released nationwide on February 14, 2003, earning $1,130,480 in its opening weekend in 672 theaters. It went on to gross $22.5 million in North America and $10.3 million in foreign countries, for a total of $32.8 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes
, the film has an approval rating of 91% based on 211 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered Adaptation
is both funny and thought-provoking."
, the film has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."
Audiences polled by CinemaScore
gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.
of the Chicago Sun-Times
gave the film four out of four stars, writing that it "leaves you breathless with curiosity, as it teases itself with the directions it might take. To watch the film is to be actively involved in the challenge of its creation."
He later added the film to his "Great Movies" collection.
At the end of 2009, Ebert named the film one of the best of the decade. Peter Travers
of Rolling Stone
also gave the film a four-star rating, writing, "Screenwriting this smart, inventive, passionate and rip-roaringly funny is a rare species. So all praise to Charlie Kaufman, working with director Spike Jonze to create the most original and outrageous film comedy since the two first teamed on Being John Malkovich
, in 1999." Wesley Morris
of The Boston Globe
wrote, "This is epic, funny, tragic, demanding, strange, original, boldly sincere filmmaking. And the climax, the portion that either sinks the entire movie or self-critically explains how so many others derail, is bananas." David Ansen
wrote that Meryl Streep
had not "been this much fun to watch in years",
while Mike Clark of USA Today
gave a largely negative review, mainly criticizing the ending: "Too smart to ignore but a little too smugly superior to like, this could be a movie that ends up slapping its target audience in the face by shooting itself in the foot."
Response from Susan Orlean
Having been submitted the screenplay for approval, Susan Orlean was strongly opposed to the making of the film; she ended up reluctantly approving its production, and was ultimately very impressed with the final result. In 2012, she said, "[reading the screenplay] was a complete shock. My first reaction was 'Absolutely not!' They had to get my permission and I just said: 'No! Are you kidding? This is going to ruin my career!' Very wisely, they didn't really pressure me. They told me that everybody else had agreed and I somehow got emboldened. It was certainly scary to see the movie for the first time. It took a while for me to get over the idea that I had been insane to agree to it, but I love the movie now."
Orlean called Streep's portrayal of her "one of my favorite performances by her" and appreciated that her version of the character was based not on the real Orlean but on how Streep imagined Orlean based on The Orchid Thief
. Despite the film's fictional parts, Orlean praised its fidelity to the book's spirit: "What I admire the most is that it's very true to the book's themes of life and obsession, and there are also insights into things which are much more subtle in the book about longing, and about disappointment."
Kaufman is credited as "Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman", despite Donald being a fictional character created for the film.
- ^ a b Claude Brodesser (November 10, 1999). "Scribe revisiting reality". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ a b "Adaptation. (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- ^ "Sight & Sound's films of the decade". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
- ^ a b Claude Brodesser; Charles Lyons; Dana Harris (August 23, 2000). "Cage has Adaptation. inclination". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Stax (May 3, 2001). "Hey, Fatboy!". IGN. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Claude Brodesser (September 6, 2000). "Streep eyes Adaptation.". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ a b c Greg Dean Schmitz. "Greg's Preview — Adaptation". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on May 18, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2008.
- ^ Claude Brodesser; Jill Tiernan; Geoffrey Berkshire (March 23, 2003). "Backstage notes". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- ^ Lynn Smith (November 3, 2002). "Being Robert McKee, both on screen and off". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ Spence D (December 5, 2002). "Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman Discuss Adaptation". IGN. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Bill Desowittz (August 18, 2002). "Development players make personal choices". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Oliver Jones (December 17, 1999). "Cruise in tune with Shaggs project". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Jonathan Bing (February 26, 2001). "Lit properties are still hottest tickets". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Charlie Kaufman (September 24, 1999). "Adaptation.: Second Draft" (PDF). BeingCharlieKaufman.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
- ^ Charlie Kaufman (November 21, 2000). "Adaptation.: Revised Draft" (PDF). BeingCharlieKaufman.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
- ^ Michael Fleming (November 14, 2002). "What will follow film success for Eminem?". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Stax (March 13, 2002). "Charles Kaufman Talks Shop". IGN. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Michael Fleming (April 6, 2000). "Brothers in a Conundrum; Rat Pack lives". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ Scott Brake (June 8, 2000). "Script Review of Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation". IGN. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- ^ Drew McWeeny (October 10, 2000). "Moriarty Rumbles About Adaptation, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Catch Me If You Can!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved April 17, 2008.
- ^ Charles Lyons (June 18, 2001). "Helmers let out a rebel yell". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- ^ "Adaptation (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
- ^ "Adaptation. (2002): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Adaptation" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
- ^ Roger Ebert (December 20, 2002). "Adaptation". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- ^ Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essay about Adaptation.
- ^ Peter Travers (December 6, 2002). "Adaptation". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
- ^ Wesley Morris (December 20, 2002). "A revolutionary look at the evolution of creativity". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- ^ David Ansen (December 9, 2002). "Meta-Movie Madness". Newsweek. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
- ^ Mike Clark (December 5, 2002). "Cage's Adaptation? Sorry, Charlie". USA Today. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
- ^ "BAFTA Awards: 2003". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
- ^ "Golden Globes: 2003". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
- ^ "1st Annual VES Awards". visual effects society. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- ^ Pluijgers, Jean-François (January 12, 2004). "L'UCC s'offre une cure de "Gioventu"". La Libre Belgique (in French). Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- ^ "101 Greatest Screenplays List". Writers Guild of America, West. Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
- ^ Kevin Perry. "The New Yorker's Susan Orlean on crafting a story and being played by Meryl Streep in Adaptation". GQ. 16 April 2012.
- ^ Lim, Dennis (April 29, 2003). "No Exit: Hell Is Other People". The Village Voice.
- ^ Bailey, Jason (January 4, 2012). "The Worst January Film Releases of Recent Memory". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
Last edited on 5 May 2021, at 08:24
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.