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Susan Orlean
regarding: Adaptation
 
NEWS FOR DECEMBER 2002:
    Dec 30 02. Slow :: Sorry for the lack of updates. With the holidays and everything, news concerning Adaptation has been kinda slow. Hopefully it will pick up again in a couple of weeks as it opens wider and more award nominations are announced.
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    Dec 23 02. More reviews :: Here's a review of Adaptation from Steve Rhodes, a frequent contributor of links to regarding: Adaptation. I found this on the Movie Review Query Engine site, which has more than 90 reviews of Adaptation. Have fun sifting through them all.

(Correction: The Steve Rhodes wrote the review and the Steve Rhodes who frequently contributes links to this site are two different people. My apologies.)

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    Dec 22 02. Adding to the pile :: A few more reviews, articles, and interviews from recent days. Because of all the buzz the film is getting, there's just too many to keep up with individually.

Adaptation Forum (The Onion)
Free-spirited minds turn adaptations into originals (Boston Globe)
Adapting Spike and Charlie (Jamie Berger)
The truth about Charlie Kaufman (SF Chronicle)
In Praise of Confusion (Writers Guild of America)
Cage, Cooper, and Streep on Charlie Rose (Charlie Rose audio archive in Real Media format)

(Thx Jamie, BCK, and Steve.)

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    Dec 20 02. Imagine me and you :: The Turtles' song "Happy Together" features prominently in Adaptation. Sweater band Weezer did a cover of the song for inclusion in the movie and on the soundtrack, but it was eventually decided the original would work better:

"Spike really liked the Weezer version and worked hard to find the right way to include it, but in the end realized that the original song fit the film better."

(via Weezer news)

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    Dec 19 02. Toronto film critics :: Adaptation is the best film of the year according to the Toronto Film Critics Association. Also winning awards were Cage as best actor, Cooper as best supporting actor, and the Kaufmans for the best screenplay. I'm not sure about the other awards, but Cooper seems like the front-runner for the best supporting actor Oscar.
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    Dec 19 02. Golden Globe nominations :: Adaptation snagged a bunch of Golden Globe nominations today, including best musical/comedy, best actor (Cage), best supporting actress (Streep), best supporting actor (Chris Cooper), best director (Jonze), and best screenplay (the Kaufman brothers). Not sure how they got Streep in there as a supporting actress, but wow, that's a lot of nominations.
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    Dec 19 02. Spoof? :: I've seen several reviews of Adaptation describe the film as a spoof or a parody or some sort of comment on moviemaking. Those reviewers seemed to have missed the point of the film (for example, this Salon piece). In this interview at IMDB, Kaufman explains:

"But I will say that it was important not to parody anything. It was very important that there be continuity in the seriousness with which we took the characters, no matter what portion of the movie they were in. Our interest is always to sort of create a conversation in a movie, rather than give you any kind of conclusion."

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    Dec 18 02. Best adapted screenplay? :: Susan says that, contrary to earlier reports, the screenplay for Adaptation will be considered for the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, not for best original screenplay. A bit disappointing, considering that the original screenplay award is more prestigious (and perhaps more appropriate in this case).
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    Dec 18 02. Ebert on top films of the year :: During an appearance on Live With Regis and Kelly, Roger Ebert has narrowed down his choice for his favorite film of the year to Minority Report (?) or Adaptation. I tried to find an Ebert review of the film, but he hasn't done a formal one yet. Must be waiting for an end-of-the-year roundup or the wider release date.

Ok, here's Ebert's review after all. (via BCK)

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    Dec 16 02. More awards :: Awards season is in full swing. The American Film Institute announced their 10 best list today and Adaptation is on it. The New York Film Critics Circle Awards did not include a best picture nod for Adaptation, but we'll forgive them because Kaufman racked up another screenwriting award.
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    Dec 15 02. Special effects? What special effects? :: The LA Times has an article on the seemless special effects in Adaptation. There's a great bit about a CGI bee at the end of the article:

"Initially, Marshall says, the bee was 'acting too much.' In fact, when Jonze saw early footage of the bee he told Marshall to make the insect 'dumber.' 'Our initial bee had too much character and was too conscious of what it was doing,' says Marshall. 'Once we realized bees were clumsy and we made it less deliberate, it came alive.'"

A few months before the movie came out, I saw a documentary on orchids featuring the bee-like ones in the film. The film version of the bee/flower rendezvous is pretty accurate. (via BCK)

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    Dec 15 02. LA Film Critics awards :: The LA Film Critics have made their choices for the top films and actors of 2002. Chris Cooper was pegged as the best supporting actor and Charlie Kaufman was runner-up in the screenwriting category.
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    Dec 10 02. Obsessed with transformation :: Vogue has an interview online with Meryl Streep about her two new movies. In it, she calls Adaptation "about the best screenplay I've ever read". The full interview is in the December 2002 issue of Vogue. (Thx Greg.)
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    Dec 09 02. Your fair name :: (Warning, spoliers in the article!) Susan is called a "gun-toting floozy" by none other than the New York Times. Well, her on-screen persona is called that at least. A nice interview with her about her odd new celebrity:

"Ms. Orlean said, 'I am starting to feel a teeny-tiny bit of self-consciousness.' Now, she said, when she makes calls as a reporter and says, 'Hi, I'm Susan Orlean, a writer with The New Yorker,' she wonders, "Does it sound like I'm making it up?'"

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    Dec 08 02. Opening weekend numbers :: According to Variety, Adaptation grossed $400,000 at 7 theatres in its first weekend in North America, a per screen average of $57,143 (compared to $3900 for the #1 movie, Die Another Day). I just got back from a showing in Times Square. The theatre was pretty packed and people seemed to like the movie, although I think a few folks were a bit taken aback by the last 15 minutes of it.
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    Dec 06 02. Review central :: Since Adaptation is opening today, there are tons of reviews in the newspapers and magazines. Rather than try to list them all, I'll direct you to the Movie Review Query Engine and Metacritic...they both have a bunch of them. Metacritic, which issues an aggregated rating between 1 and 100 based on the collection of reviews, has Adaptation in the low 90s, one of the highest scores of the year.
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    Dec 06 02. It's official :: The official site for the movie has been spruced up in time for the NY/LA openings (today!) and includes a link to this very Web site.
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    Dec 06 02. LA book signings :: Susan will be in LA signing books this weekend: Friday @ Barnes and Noble at The Grove at 7:30pm and on Sunday at Book Soup on Sunset Blvd. at 6pm.
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    Dec 06 02. Pushing hard :: Adaptation is the subject of an experimental online ad campaign at nytimes.com. The site is serving up interstitial ads in certain sections of the site until the end of the year. It's only the second time the Times has run such ads. Sony seems to be putting a lot into the promotion of the film...it'll be interesting to see if it pays off for them.
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    Dec 04 02. NBR picks Adaptation as one of top films :: The National Board of Review has chosen its top films for 2002 and Adaptation is #5 on the list. Chris Cooper got the award for best supporting actor and Charlie Kaufman, who must be hating all this attention, got the "Screenwriter of the Year" award. The NBR is the first organization to release its list of awards, and they're a pretty discerning group.
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    Dec 04 02. Premiere photos :: Yahoo has some photos from the Adaptation premiere last night, featuring Cage, Susan, Spike, Sophia Coppola, Jodie Foster, Chris Cooper, and others.
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    Dec 03 02. Mo betta meta :: The Village Voice has a four-pack of Adaptation stories as part of its newest issue with a lead of "Critic-Proof Movie Inspires Sprawling 'Village Voice' Shit" (oh, there's a review as well). Ed Park's musings on Kaufman's next New Yorker-based screenplay are a fun read. (Thanks Anil.)
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    Dec 03 02. Cage, Kaufman, and Jonze, oh my! :: Here's an article written by one of Harry's minions over at Ain't It Cool; it's a recap of the Q&A session with Cage, Jonze, and Kaufman after a recent screening. Here's a bit about Cage following in Haley Mills' footsteps:

"Despite having achieved this state of complete acting comfort, initially Cage did nevertheless experience some trying moments on set. Because many of the films scenes consisted of the Kaufman brothers talking to one and other, Cage spent many days armed with an ear piece, so that he could hear either Donald's or Charlie's lines, acting with a tennis ball while having to be conscious of not invading the space of someone who was not there. Although he eventually settled into the process, Cage did admit that "switching back and forth was very confusing and at times very frustrating." Overwhelmed by the task, Cage recalls breaking down one day and screaming at the top of his lungs in utter irritation."

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    Dec 03 02. New Yorker review :: David Denby writes a mostly positive review of Adaptation (he doesn't like the ending) in the newest issue of the New Yorker. Some spoilers near the end, so watch out. Also included in the sidebar of the article is a link to Orchid Fever, the original article on John Laroche that became The Orchid Thief. (Thx Marcus.)
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    Dec 03 02. Curing writer's block :: Nice article in the NY Times about Charlie Kaufman and how Adaptation came about. Stephen Schiff, a screenwriter himself, has a piece from the same edition of the Times about adaptations (of books into films). (Thx M and BCK.)
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WELCOME
regarding: Adaptation is a frequently updated collection of links, news, and happenings about Adaptation, a motion picture by Spike Jonze & Charlie Kaufman and starring Nicolas Cage & Meryl Streep. This weblog is written by Jason Kottke. I designed Susan's site earlier this year and she was kind enough to let me take over this little bit of it. Unless specifically noted otherwise, all text and opinions expressed on the weblog are mine, not Susan's. Welcome!
 
THE BOOK
Adaptation is based on The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean...and that's only the half of it. If you're interested in reading the pulp version of the film, you can buy The Orchid Thief at Amazon.
 
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RELATED LINKS
Offical Adaptation site @ Sony
IMDB listing
 
NY Times review of The Orchid Thief
Interview with Susan about The Orchid Thief
Buy The Orchid Thief @ Amazon
 
Being Charlie Kaufman
Being John Malkovich site
Buy Being John Malkovich on DVD
 
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