Susan Orlean
regarding: Adaptation
    Nov 29 02. The weirdest little group of personalities :: The Toronto Star has an interview with Meryl Streep about her two upcoming films. In preparing for Adaptation, she chose not to meet with Susan because she "didn't want to be diverted by the truth." In turn, Susan has been in exactly one other film in her life, The Deer Hunter starring Meryl Streep. "It somehow seemed like karma that she was going to play me."
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    Nov 29 02. An Evening with Chris Cooper :: Chris Cooper, who plays orchid thief John Laroche, will be on hand for a discussion of Adaptation on Dec 12th. Details (from this page):

"You are invited to join Back Stage West for a discussion with actor Chris Cooper following a special screening of his new film, Adaptation, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, at the DGA Theatre at 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. The event is free, but reservations are required; you may RSVP for yourself and one guest to (310) 244-3909."

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    Nov 27 02. Soundtrack is out :: The Adaptation soundtrack is indeed out...just saw it at the Virgin Megastore here in Paris. Track #1 is a remix of the Adaptation theme song by Fatboy Slim, as mentioned previously on this site.
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    Nov 27 02. Clips from the movie :: Sony has some new clips from the movie up on their site. View "We Think You're Great" in Windows Media (low) or in Real Media (low).
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    Nov 26 02. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and how it relates to reporting :: The NY Daily News has an interview with Susan, who seems to be getting the lion's share of the press accompanying the movie (which is understandable because she has a fairly unique role in it all). In yet another of the many parallels between the movie and the book, Susan says:

"The notion that objectivity exists is, in and of itself, a flimsy construct. The kind of reporting I do is affected by the fact that it's being reported. And you do develop a connection with people that you write about."

How could Kaufman not write himself into the movie?

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    Nov 25 02. Official world premiere :: Adaptation will officially premiere on December 3rd in LA at an undisclosed location. I would imagine that most/all of the film's stars will be there. Susan will be in LA at that time, doing signings at Book Soup and Borders. This lowly reporter wishes he could be there to record all the goings-on.

The NY/LA release date is December 6th. In a piece on holiday movies for The Boston Globe, the release date listed for Adaptation is December 20th. Perhaps that's the national release date? I hope not. That's a busy weekend with Two Towers, About Schmidt, and Gangs of New York opening as well...Adaptation could get lost in the shuffle.

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    Nov 25 02. Orchid fever strikes PBS :: PBS is capitalizing on the release of Adaptation by airing Orchid Hunter. The Nova program, which begins airing on US PBS stations November 26th (check your local listings), chronicles the great lengths to which people have gone (and will go) to attain orchids. Susan has written an article for the site on the orchid's "clever and unplantlike determination to survive" that is very much worth a read. The more I read about orchids and think back to the book (where Susan essential inserts herself into Laroche's story), the less self-indulgent Kaufman's decision to insert himself into the movie becomes. (Thx to Steve for the link.)
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    Nov 24 02. Soundtrack :: The Adaptation soundtrack has a listing at Amazon. The release date shown as Nov 26th. (Thx BCK.)
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    Nov 24 02. We all oughta be in pictures :: The NY Times has an article on me-focused entertainment, from The Osbournes to Eminem in 8 Mile. Of Charlie Kaufman, the writer says: "These days you don't just write what you know, I guess. You write yourself into it, too."
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    Nov 24 02. New hardcovers :: Random House has ordered the printing of 2500 new hardcover copies of The Orchid Thief to coincide with the release of Adaptation. Exact details of distribution to follow.
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    Nov 22 02. Adaptation 2: The Reckoning :: Just when you think this thing couldn't get any weirder, part 2... Don't know how much credence to lend this one, but I heard from a reliable source that there are rumors of an Adaptation sequel being made. (Really. I'm not making this up.) I'm speculating that the movie will be entirely about the process of making and promoting the first movie. Casting will be a nightmare...who are they going to get to play Cage playing Charlie Kaufman? Andy Kaufman? Heck, maybe I'll even get to be a character: the obsessive Web dork who becomes involved in a three-way love tryst with Roger Ebert and that cute actress that played the woman from the publishing company.

I wonder how Spike and Charlie will be involved, if at all. I can't imagine them doing the sequel (Hollywood tends to give sequels to, shall we say, less gifted folks), but I can't imagine the sequel if it isn't written by Kaufman and directed by Jonze. I can't even think of who would be a low-rent Spike Jonze...maybe that McG idiot who directed Charlie's Angels?

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    Nov 22 02. Best original screenplay? :: Susan just got back from a screening hosted by Newmarket Press, the folks publishing the screenplay for Adaptation (forward by Susan, critical commentary by Robert McKee...who also happens to be a character in the movie). At some point, the publisher mentioned that the Screenwriters Guild had decided that the Adaptation script will be considered an original screenplay and not an adapted screenplay for the purposes of Oscar voting. Just when you think this thing can't get any weirder...
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    Nov 22 02. Adapting in Seattle :: Cage, Jonze, and Kaufman were recently in Seattle to test Adaptation and talk to some journalists. Kaufman in particular seems to be playing up the whole reality/unreality angle when talking to people: "I wanted to talk to as many journalists as possible and make sure people know what's real and not real in the movie." He said almost the opposite thing in SF last month.

There's another curious sentence at the end of the article. The writer calls Adaptation "the most talked-about film of the holiday season". I hope that's not just hyperbole on his part. Two Towers is obviously going to dominate the holiday season, but Adaptation's two week headstart might give it a bit of time to generate some buzz of its own before the Army of Middle Earth descends upon moviegoers.

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    Nov 20 02. Buzzing :: The press around Adaptation is really gearing up. There have been recent articles in People, Entertainment Weekly, and Esquire with more to come in The NY Post, the NY Daily News, and Newsweek. Not to mention the inclusion of Adaptation in many "year end" and "best of" features from newspapers and magazines large and small.
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    Nov 19 02. The Orchid Thief Re-imagined :: Susan wrote to tell me about a new version of the Orchid Thief she's doing with artist Jane Kent:

"it's called the orchid thief re-imagined, and it will be a limited edition of 35, handmade artist books with sections of text lifted from the orchid thief, coupled with her amazing pictures. the books are expensive -- $2500.00 -- but they are for print and book collectors (and art collectors). anyone interested can contact me via email. they'll be ready in january i believe."

Collectors of film memorabilia might be interested in such a thing as well.

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    Nov 14 02. Behind the scenes pictures :: At last, the long awaited pictures that Susan took while on the set of Adaptation. (I think this is a first batch...Susan might have more to send me.) These particular shots show Susan in a scene with Nicolas Cage as Charlie, a scene that eventually got cut from the movie.
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    Nov 14 02. Local girl makes good :: In an interview with Susan for The Oregonian, Tim Appelo asks her if she was surprised that such a difficult book to adapt like The Orchid Thief was purchased by Hollywood. Susan responds:

"I'm always wrong in guessing what Hollywood would be interested in. There are things I wrote that I thought were more cinematic, like the story about the lady in New Jersey who has 27 tigers. I think Hollywood's interested because those people are in a bubble, starved for real life. That must account for it. They're not hanging around a beach on Maui or tromping through the swamp."

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    Nov 12 02. Photos and interview :: Two bits of news from the folks at Being Charlie Kaufman. Some new photos from the film have been released and are available here. The December 2002 issue of Esquire, dedicated to "introducing a few dozen people who are changing our world", contains an interview with Charlie. It's not online yet, so you'll have to make due with purchasing the magazine. I'm not having any luck doing that here in Paris, but I would assume this is easily done in the US.
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    Nov 10 02. Artist renderings :: Pretty good article in the San Bernadino County Sun on Artists Renderings about some films coming out this winter that deal with the nature of artistic creativity. I've been listening to (and liking) a song from 8 Mile called "Lose Yourself" and Bob Strauss makes a connection between that movie and Adaptation. Both films are about the energy that the creative process generates and how to direct that energy in meaningful directions.

A similar film Strauss failed to mention is PT Anderson's Punch Drunk Love. Anderson's films all deal with characters that have energy (usually in the form of love) but don't quite know where to put it. I'm looking forward to seeing Adaptation again so I can pick up on this theme some more.

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    Nov 10 02. Another Adaptation screening :: American Cinematheque is holding a retrospective of Nicolas Cage's films at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles. As part of that, they're having a special screening of Adaptation on Saturday November 23rd. Nicolas Cage and Spike Jonze will be in attendance, schedules permitting. Seems you have to be a member of the Cinematheque to attend. Thanks to Michael for the info.
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    Nov 09 02. Deleted scenes :: You'll have to wait for the DVD to see them (perhaps), but Susan wrote in the other day with some information about some deleted and never-to-be scenes:

"...i had a cameo in the movie, but it didn't make it into the final cut (dammit!) and my husband had a cameo, playing the editor of the new yorker, but that got cut, too. i was actually supposed to first have a part as the waitress who charlie flirts with in the diner (the girl they ended up casting actually has red hair and bears a vague resemblence to me, but much cuter) and then i was supposed to be a person walking my dog down the street past charlie (the dog wrangler showed up with a little fluffy white dog, which disturbed me, since i am not a fluffy little white dog sort of person) and then i was actually filmed in a scene as a person in a store shopping with a friend laughing (she and i are chatting and laughing) as charlie walks by, and he's paranoid that we're laughing at him. i think i was very, very good."

Now that I mentioned the DVD, I'm wondering if there's going to be some kind of "screenwriter's cut" where Charlie adapts the movie for yet another medium. "I've written myself into the DVD of the movie I wrote myself into. That's kinda weird, isn't it?"

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    Nov 06 02. Demme on Adaptation :: Jonathan Demme, who won one of those Academy Awards for Silence of the Lambs, had some good things to say about Adaptation in a recent interview:

"Another movie! I'm glad I mentioned Sony. Another movie that I'm actually one of the producers of, that's now finished... and is absolutely BRILLIANT is Spike Jonze's 'Adaptation' ... Unbelievable! Nicolas Cage should win TWO Oscars for that movie! This movie is PHENOMENAL. Spike Jonze is one of a kind anyway... but I guess it's a Hollywood movie. It's Sony Pictures and financed by Sony Corporation... but it's the most independant-minded movie you could ever hope to see.

"It's extraordinary! I'm so glad I remembered that.... for a variety of reasons."

I hope he's not just saying all that because he produced it. (Thanks to Brian for the tip.)

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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!
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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