Susan Orlean
regarding: Adaptation
    Oct 28 02. Script published for December :: Susan let me know that Newmarket Press is publishing the screenplay for Adaptation (buy @ Amazon) and that she'll be writing the forward for it. If you can't wait for the book, you can download the second draft of the script (circa 1999) in PDF format. (Thanks to Michael for the script link.)
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    Oct 28 02. West Coast Live :: While Susan was in town for the Adaptation screening, she appeared on West Coast Live, a Bay Area-based internationally syndicated radio show. A RealAudio stream of the show is available for your listening pleasure. I didn't get a chance to listen to it (because I refuse to install any of Real's crappy software on my iBook), but I imagine there's some discussion of the movie.
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    Oct 26 02. The SFMOMA screening :: My girlfriend and I went to the Adaptation screening last night at the SFMOMA as a part of the New Yorker Nights series. They made everyone sign a waiver saying we wouldn't review the movie, so I'm not going to do that, not just because of the waiver, but also because I don't want to give much of anything away about it.

However, I will say that I did like the movie, as did the rest in attendance. I already want to see it's a dense film with more layers than I can count. David Poland might not have been far off the mark when he said that the screenplay may be the best ever written. And it's Nicolas Cage's best work in years.

I finally got to meet Susan at the reception before the film. As expected, she was quite nice. We didn't get a chance to talk as much as I would have liked because as the star of the show, her attention was needed elsewhere.

After the film, Susan, Spike, and Charlie answered some questions. Spike and Charlie looked pretty wiped out. I guess they'd been doing media interviews pretty much all day. Charlie especially looked as though he wanted to be anywhere else than up on stage. As someone who is shy and more confident when writing than when speaking, I can completely relate to that.

That's all for now because I need to get some other stuff done, but I'll post more about it later if I remember any interesting tidbits.

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    Oct 25 02. Report from the Berkeley screening last night :: Kari made it to the Adaptation screening at Berkeley last night and reports that the film was "vibrant, sly and hysterically funny" and that the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. Charlie and Spike answered questions after the screening and were funny and easy-going.
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    Oct 25 02. Unbridled enthusiasm :: He's got so many good things to say about it that David Poland nearly runs out of adjectives describing Adaptation. Some quotes from the review:

"I am almost afraid of damning this film with excess praise, but I have to say, not only is Adaptation the best American film of 2002... and I'm not sure that anything else even comes close... but this screenplay may be the best screenplay ever written... period.  All time."

"This is a small, intimate film with moments that for movie lovers will have all the impact of the great moments of the great epics of film history."

"Adaptation is a true original. A gift. We must appreciate it."

It's a positive review.

(At some point, I'm going to stop mentioning individual reviews because there will eventually be too many of them to keep up with. I'll still try and mention the big ones and reviews with unique insights.)

Oh, and thanks to Matt for the link.

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    Oct 25 02. Oscar buzz begins :: The SF Chronicle's Edward Guthmann gets the Oscar buzz for Adaptation going in his early year-end wrap-up (many more of these to come, I'm sure). Guthmann mentions a possible best actor nomination for Nicholas Cage as the Kaufmans, best actress for Meryl Streep as Susan, and Jonze for best director. Guthmann doesn't get into predictions for some of the "lesser" categories, but the real Charlie Kaufman has a great shot at best adapted screenplay.
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    Oct 24 02. Screening in Berkeley :: The Landmark Theatres East Bay FiLM Club is having a special preview screening of Adaptation tonight in Berkeley. Spike and Charlie will both be there. Thanks to Steve for the heads up.
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    Oct 24 02. Wells buzzing about Adaptation :: Jeffrey Wells takes Patrick Goldstein to task for leaving Adaptation off of his pre-pre-Oscar season writeup in the LA Times:

"But these pale in comparison to the biggest wrongo, which was Goldstein leaving Spike Jonze's ADAPTATION (which I saw yesterday morning) completely off his list, which was broken down into 'favorites,' 'contenders' and 'longshots.' Goldstein has seen this Screen Gems release also, and he's either blind or too timid to stick his neck out, perhaps because his sources haven't been hopping up and down about it. And if they haven't, they're blind too.

"Trust me when I say ADAPTATION is a brilliant, frequently hilarious hall-of-mirrors film that's not just about inside-baseball stuff (screenwriting, Hollywood, and the lonely and overweight Charlie Kaufman character's thinning thatch) but about what makes life joyous, sad, incredibly beautiful and very much worth living. The film's motto is that 'we are what we love, not what loves us.' And hail Mary to that."

I read Goldstein's list yesterday with similar confusion...even though I haven't seen the movie yet (two more days!). If you're talking about Oscar buzz, how can you leave it off the list? Streep and Cage have both won Oscars, and BJM was nominated all over the place in 2000. (Thanks to David for the link.)

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    Oct 22 02. Fatboy remixing Adaptation :: According to this article in Rolling Stone, Fatboy Slim is "working on a remix of the theme for the upcoming Spike Jonze movie Adaptation". Spike and Mr. Cook have collaborated previously on several music videos, including the lo-fi "Praise You", my personal favorite.
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    Oct 22 02. $100 million budget? That's unpossible. :: In a discussion from last February about a new DVD version of Blade Runner, an anonymous poster comments on his experience working on Adaptation:

"Also, you need to realize that things end up on the cutting room floor for a number of reasons, not just because they suck. Even on high budget movies, they are always trying to cut costs. (I worked on an effect on the new Spike Jonze movie, Adaptation, and even though it's a $100M+ budget, they still needed (or wanted) to cut out as much as possible from the cost of the effect. They need the money to pay the actors' exorbitant wages and the myriad little expenses that crop up in a production.)"

I thought $100M was a little high for the film so I did some digging. According to IMDB, the budget for Adaptation is $19 million. Streep didn't have a salary listed, but Cage's salary was $2 million, significantly less than $20 million he got for Windtalkers. Two mil is still a lot of money, but not exactly the "exorbitant wages" the Slashdot poster was talking about. Thanks to BCK for the /. link.

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    Oct 19 02. Teaser poster :: Michael of BCK writes in with news that the teaser poster for Adaptation has been released. Some nice design work.
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    Oct 19 02. Liz Smith and Mike Nichols host Adaptation screening :: The screening that Susan went to last week was arranged by the gossip queen and Nichols for Streep's benefit. Judging from her report, Smith enjoyed the film, praising the performances of Cage, Streep, and Chris Cooper, whom she calls a genuine Oscar contender and "the sexiest thing I've seen in years" (insert joke here). So far, the early buzz for the film is largely positive. (Thanks for the tip, Steve.)
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    Oct 10 02. Susan says Adapation is "amazing" :: Susan dropped me a note the other day, saying that she'd seen the final cut of the movie and loved it. She might be a little biased...I'm not getting my hopes up too much before I see it. ;) I'm assuming this is a pre-release screening of some sort (couldn't find any news about a premiere). Here's a bit of her reaction:

"it makes real sense now, as well as being insane -- what a combination. i love that the story of the book is really whole and quite intact in spite of the whole web spun around it. i realized now what a good job n. cage does -- two good jobs, in fact. i'm still really really excited and kind of giddy from it -- suddenly it's becoming very real to me.

"it was totally funny to meet ms. streep last night -- she was lovely and funny and gave me a huge hug and was just...great. what i found so funny was how many actors at the screening last night were congratulating me (huh???) on the movie. ha! like i did anything! kevin kline grabbed me and said, 'wow, i can't imagine what this is like for you!' how strange, coming from an actor."

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    Oct 09 02. Gyllenhaal breaks out of the typing pool :: Nerve has an article/interview with Adaptation star Maggie Gyllenhaal about her current movie Secretary: Spanking the Flunky. People are talking about this film being Gyllenhaal's breakthrough performance; her and the film are getting pretty good reviews.
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    Oct 06 02. This lamp has no feelings :: As part of their Unboring campaign to get people thinking about household goods in a more temporary way, Ikea pegged Spike Jonze to direct the first commercial. The spot features a discarded lamp, a new lamp, and a Swedish man. Ok, that doesn't sound very interesting. Just go watch's pretty good.

Here's a few articles about the campaign and commercial: SF Chronicle, NY Times (via IHT), Chicago Sun-Times.

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    Oct 04 02. Screening of Adaptation in SF :: The New Yorker is holding a "series of signature programs" in San Francisco on Oct 23-26 called New Yorker Nights. The third night of the festivities (Oct 25th @ 7pm to be precise) is a screening of Adaptation at the SFMOMA with Susan and Messrs. Jonze & Kaufman in attendance for a little pre-film schmoozing and Q&A afterward. Tickets are available online at TicketWeb.

Except for a couple of phone conversations and many emails concerning this here Web site, I've never met Susan, so I'm pretty excited about going. And seeing the movie. And perhaps meeting Spike and Charlie. And going to the SFMOMA, which is always nice.

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    Oct 03 02. The Adaptation weblog is a go :: Welcome to regarding: Adapation. My name is Jason Kottke and I'll be your host. Susan has been kind enough to let me take over this part of her site for a few months. I'll be posting news, gossip, interviews, sightings, and links related to Adaptation, as well as whatever inside dope I can get from Susan (she's promised us some behind-the-scenes pictures from the set...I'll post them as soon as I get them). If you've got any tips or links, please email them to
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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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