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Adaptation (2002)

aka Adaptation

"From the creator of Being John Malkovich, comes the story about the creator of Being John Malkovich."

Directed By: 
Details: 114 mins · English, Latin · R (USA)


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Small Charlie/Donald Kaufman
Small Susan Orlean
Small John Laroche
Small Valerie Thomas
Small Amelia Kavan
Small Marty Bowen
Small Robert McKee
Small Caroline Cunningham
No_movie_poster Matthew Osceola
Small Ranger Tony
Small Augustus Margary
Small Buster Baxley
Small Russell
Small Alice the Waitress
Small Robert McKee


No_movie_poster Casey Storm Costume Design
Small Charlie Kaufman Screenplay
No_movie_poster Edward Saxon Producer
No_movie_poster Eric Zumbrunnen Editor
No_movie_poster Eric Zumbrunnen Editing
No_movie_poster Gene Serdena Set Decoration
Small Jonathan Demme Producer
No_movie_poster Justine Baddeley Casting
No_movie_poster K.K. Barrett Production Design
No_movie_poster Lance Acord Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Peter Andrus Art Direction
Small Spike Jonze Director
No_movie_poster Susan Orlean Author
No_movie_poster Susan Orlean Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Vincent Landay Producer


"From the creator of Being John Malkovich, comes the story about the creator of Being John Malkovich."


The self-loathing Charlie Kaufman is hired to write the screenplay for The Orchid Thief. Kaufman is going through depression and is not happy that his twin brother Donald has moved into his house and is mooching from him. Donald decides to become a screenwriter like Charlie and attends one of Robert McKee's famous seminars.

Charlie, who rejects formulaic script writing, wants to ensure that his script is a faithful adaptation of The Orchid Thief. However, he comes to realize that the book does not have a usable narrative and that it is impossible to turn into a film, leaving him with a serious case of writer's block.

Meanwhile, Donald's spec script for a clichéd psychological thriller, called The 3, sells for six or seven figures. Kaufman accidentally starts writing his script with self-reference. Already well over his deadline with Columbia Pictures, he visits Orlean in New York for advice on the screenplay. Unable to face her, Kaufman visits McKee's seminar in New York and asks him for advice. He brings his brother Donald to New York to assist with the story structure.

Donald pretends to be Charlie and interviews Orlean, but is suspicious of her account of the events of her book because it seems like too perfect a story line. He and his brother Charlie follow Orlean to Florida where she meets Laroche, the orchid-stealing protagonist of Orlean's book and her secret lover. It is revealed that the Seminole wanted the Ghost Orchid in order to manufacture a drug that causes fascination; Laroche introduces this drug to Orlean. After Laroche and Orlean catch Charlie observing them taking the drug and having sex, she decides that Charlie must die.

She forces Kaufman at gunpoint to drive to the swamp, where she intends to kill him. Charlie and Donald escape and hide in the swamp where they resolve their differences and Charlie's problems with women. Laroche accidentally shoots Donald. Fleeing, Charlie and Donald drive off but crash into a ranger's truck; Donald dies in the accident. Charlie runs off into the swamp to hide but is spotted by Laroche. However, Laroche is killed by an alligator before being able to kill Charlie.

Orlean is arrested. Charlie makes up with his mother, tells his former love interest Amelia that he is still in love with her, and finishes the script. It ends with Charlie in a voice-over announcing the script is finished and that he wants Gérard Depardieu to portray him in the film.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2003-01-10 : United States of America

DVD : 2003-05-20