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 • Best of 2002
by gangstabobangsta
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Release Date: December 6th, 2002 (LA/NY); December 20th, 2002 (100 theaters in select cities); January 10th, 2003 (560 theaters); February 14th, 2003 (672 theaters)

Release Date Note: (7/19/02) This was originally announced as a possible fall, 2001 release.

Video Release Date: May 20th, 2003

Title Note: (4/10/00) When it was first announced, some sources listed the title as 'The Orchid Thief', which is the name of the book upon which this movie is based. See below for details about why the title is 'Adaptation.'

Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Cooper) (75th Annual Academy Awards); Best Screenplay (2002 New York Film Critics Circle); Best Supporting Actor (Cooper) (2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Association); Best Screenplay (2002 Boston Society of Film Critics); #5 Film of the Year, Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Screenplay (tie) (2002 National Board of Review); Best Film, Best Actor (Cage), Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Screenplay (2002 Toronto Film Critics Association); Best Supporting Actor (Cooper) (2002 San Francisco Film Critics Circle); Best Adapted Screenplay (2002 Online Film Critics Society); Best Supporting Actress (Streep), Best Screenplay (2002 Chicago Film Critics Association); Best Adapted Screenplay (2002 Golden Satellites); Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Streep) (2003 Golden Globes); Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Screenwriter (tie) (2003 Critics Choice Awards); Grand Prize Silver Berlin Bear (2003 Berlin International Film Festival); Best Adapted Screenplay (2003 British Academy Film Awards)

Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Cage), Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Streep) (75th Annual Academy Awards)

MPAA Rating: R (for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images)

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Production Company: Clinica Estetica (Beloved, Ulee's Gold, Philadelphia, Monument Ave.), Intermedia Films (Welcome to Mooseport, Oliver Stone's Alexander the Great)

Cast: Nicolas Cage (Charlie Kaufman); Meryl Streep (Susan Orlean), Chris Cooper (John Laroche), Brian Cox (Robert McKee), John Cusack (cameo as himself), Judy Greer (Alice), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Caroline), Curtis Hanson (Susan's Husband), Spike Jonze (cameo as himself), Catherine Keener (cameo as herself), Ron Livingston (Marty), Cara Seymour (Amelia), Tilda Swinton (Valerie), Jim Beaver (Ranger Tony), Gary Farmer (Buster Baxley), Peter Jason (Alan Lerner), Fred Lerner (Aristotle), Laura Love (Diane), David O. Russell (cameo as himself), Robert J. Stephenson (Peter), Jay Tavare (Matthew Osceola), Roger Willie (Randy), Bob Yerkes (Darwin)

Old Cast in Talks Notes: According to Michael Fleming of Variety (4/13/00), Columbia is talking to Tom Hanks about possibly starring in this movie. (8/23/00) Nicolas Cage is now in talks for the lead, and Meryl Streep is reportedly "interested" in the role of Susan Orlean, but talks haven't started. (Variety, 8/23/00) (9/20/00) Streep is confirmed as being in talks, and John Turturro is also in talks to costar, as John Laroche. (9/28/00) Variety confirms that Cage and Streep are aboard, as is Chris Cooper; Turturro isn't. (10/28/02) According to David Poland, Jane Adams and Stephen Tobolowsky, who had been reported as being cast, aren't in the final cut. It's also possible, other than having their roles edited out, that they may have just dropped out, and been replaced by someone else.

Director: Spike Jonze

Director Notes: Following a long and well-publicized career of directing music videos, Spike Jonze made his debut in 1999 with Being John Malkovich, which this being his second film. (10/30/03) There's a chance his next film after this might be Where the Wild Things Are.

Screenwriter: Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; next up is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Screenwriter Note: (4/10/00) The screenplay is also credited to Charlie's brother, Donald. However... Donald is a fictional character in the script, not Kaufman's real brother.

Based Upon: The nonfiction novel, The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean, which is itself based upon a true story. The movie is also, oddly enough, based upon Charlie Kaufman's attempts to adapt the novel. (see below) That this book in particular is the object of Kaufman's adaptation may not be coincidental, as the novel is described as Susan Orlean's own journey to tell John Laroche's story. So, this movie is an adaptation (by Jonze) of a writer's (Kaufman's) adaptation, of a novel (by Orlean), which was based upon a true story (Laroche). Thank goodness Laroche didn't hear the story from someone else. (8/23/00) Variety reports that Nicolas Cage is in talks to star as Kaufman (or his equivalent), but the premise news is that the story includes the involvement of Donald Kaufman, the imaginary twin brother of Charlie, which means... yep, Cage would be playing dual roles.

Premise: Set in South Florida (and probably the first movie to deal with a phenomenon known as orchidodelirium), this is the true story of a plant dealer and three Seminole Indians who conspired to clone rare orchids and sell them at exorbitant rates to plant collectors. However... that's just what The Orchid Thief is about. There's another half to this movie, and that's where the title Adaptation comes in. This movie is the tale of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's (Cage) attempt to adapt The Orchid Thief to the big screen. That's right... this is a movie about its writer adapting a book, but it's also the adaptation itself. Whoa. In his attempt to overcome his writer's block, Kaufman seeks the help of his (fictional) brother, Donald. Meanwhile, we see the action of the Orchid Thief, as writer Susan Orlean (Streep) meets John Laroche (Cooper)... (Swinton plays the studio exec who hires Cage's character)

Filming: Production started in late March, 2001 in Los Angeles, on a budget of $18-19 million. (6/18/01) Filming has wrapped.

Genre: Comedy

Interviews with the Author: Random House, Powell's

Script Reviews: (Jeffrey Wells raves, and he does so at length), IGN Filmforce (Admittedly, the premise I've written above gives a great deal of detail, but "Stax" goes even farther, so the "spoiler shy" will want to read with one eye closed, the other eye ready; regardless, both reviews are recommended.)

Watch the Trailer and Clips: Yahoo! Movies

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Input about Greg's Previews of upcoming Movies, or any movie covered here, is encouraged. Just e-mail Greg Dean Schmitz using our feedback form. Please note that all release dates are subject to change.

Greg's Previews Main Page

Recent Updates to This Page:
10/30/03 - Director Notes
3/29/03 - Video Release Date
3/23/03 - Awards

Greg's Preview Thoughts:
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9/18/02 - The trailer is now online at the official site, and it's fantastic. As quirky as the premise of this movie sounds, the trailer somehow makes it seem so logical and credible. Rather than going for the off-kilter Being John Malkovich vibe, we're presented the film as a sympathetic tale of a schlub of a writer, coping with writer's block and the frustrations of life, trying to "adapt" reality to the expectations of a Hollywood film (which is indeed the challenge of making this film). It looks... fantastic.

3/29/02 - Sony has confirmed that they're now aiming for a release in the fall of 2002.

8/17/01 - Sony has confirmed that this is no longer being considered for a fall, 2001 release, though there is no word in 2002 it might be. I think it's possible it may premiere at Cannes, before a release in the summer or fall.

8/13/01 - AICN has posted a rumor that John Cusack and Spike Jonze may also appear in the film, as themselves, with Keener, on the set of Being John Malkovich.

6/11/01 - Variety reports that Jane Adams and Ron Livingston are also costarring.

3/08/01 - Filming starts later this month, and so, casting continues. Tilda Swinton is the latest to sign on, as the studio exec who hires Cage's character (source: THR).

9/20/00 - Jeffrey Wells of recently confirmed that Meryl Streep is in talks to play Susan Orlean, and that John Turturro is in talks to costar as John Laroche. The budget is only around $18-19 million, so they would all most likely be taking salary cuts (well, maybe not Turturro). (9/28/00) Okay, well, John Turturro is out, as Variety reports that Chris Cooper will play John Laroche, also confirming that Streep and Cage have signed on.

8/23/00 - Scratch out Tom Hanks (who will be busy with Road to Perdition and The Polar Express), and pencil in Nicolas Cage, in what will be a dual role as Charlie and his imaginary twin brother Donald. Meryl Streep is also "interested" in starring as Susan Orlean, but no talks have started. (source: Variety, 8/23/00)

4/13/00 - Just a few days after posting this preview, Variety reports that megastar Tom Hanks is in talks to possibly star. It's unknown which role he might play, but the charismatic John Laroche seems like Tom's sort of role.

4/10/00 - Okay, so you're Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman, whose collaboration on Being John Malkovich has been hailed far and wide as one of the most creative movies of the year/decade/century/etc. What do you do next? The fear of sophomore slump rears its ugly head, but you've got to do something else, right? And so, Charlie Kaufman began adapting the offbeat nonfiction novel, The Orchid Thief, about a Florida man who schemes to clone the "ghost orchid", Polyrrhiza Lindenii, and sell it to people the world over struck with orchidelirium, the obsession with collecting rare orchids at any price. Sounds pretty original, right? A sure thing, right? Leave it to Kaufman to throw yet another angle on this film, hence Adaptation. This is actually the story of Charlie Kaufman's attempts to adapt The Orchid Thief to film, and the adventures he goes through in the process, aided by a (fictional) brother, but at the same time... it really is an adaptation of that orchid book too. Just like Being John Malkovich, this movie promises to be layers upon layers upon layers... it sounds fascinating.

There's no word yet about who may be cast in the film (Charlie Kaufman sounds like a possibility to play himself), but with filming scheduled for this summer, we should start hearing more about it soon. When Being John Malkovich was filmed, it was done in relative obscurity, but I have a feeling that this movie will be noticed by many more... the follow-up to a popular and critical favorite is often like that. So, hopefully, casting details and the like will hopefully be announced soon... stay tuned.

Page Created: 4/10/00

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