Adaptation

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"I am old. I am fat. I am bald. My toenails have turned strange. I am repulsive. How repulsive? I don't know for I suffer from a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I am fat, but am I as fat as I think? My therapist says no, but people lie. I believe others call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also believe this is simply my own perverted form of self-aggrandizement, that no one really talks about me at all. Why would they? What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone? I am repulsive. I have never lived. I blame myself." - Charlie Kaufman (screenplay, 2nd draft)

Release: 6 December 2002

The Pitch: Oh man, where to begin? Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is given the assignment of adapting Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief, which tells the true story of a plant dealer named John Laroche and three Seminole Indians who conspired to clone rare orchids and sell them at exorbitant rates to plant collectors. But Charlie has no idea how to write a straight adaptation of the book, he's missing deadlines, and he's becoming attracted to Orlean. In desperation he decides to write the overlapping tales of Orlean, Laroche, and his own struggle to complete the screenplay. Add to the mix Charlie's identical twin brother Donald - ace screenwriter of cliché thrillers - an alligator attack, drug-snorting and car chases, and you have the film Adaptation: thoughtful meditation on the art of adaptation, crazy mix of fact and fiction, with a good-sized dose of typically offbeat humour. Whoa, my head hurts.

Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Nicolas Cage (Charlie/Donald Kaufman), Meryl Streep (Susan Orlean), Chris Cooper (John Laroche), Brian Cox (Robert McKee)

Two drafts of the screenplay are available for download via the Scripts/Writing section of this website.

 

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