Adaptation (Charlie Kaufman)

The shooting script for the film Adaptation contains a few interesting appendices — an interview with Kaufman and Spike Jonze and short responses to the film by Susan Orlean (whose book The Orchid Thief is the basis for the film) and Robert McKee (the screenwriting guru that Kaufman lampoons in the film). Otherwise, it’s just a shooting script, and as such there is really no difference between what you can read here and what you see on screen when you watch the movie. If you haven’t seen Adaptation, go see it — it’s one of the smartest, funniest, most cleverly structured metafictions out there in any form, although I prefer Kaufman’s later film Synecdoche, New York.

An odd story — I showed this film in my creative writing classes, and in the film a screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman is having trouble adapting Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief as a Hollywood film. One student thought to herself, “I wonder if that’s a real book?” She ducked out during the film to get a drink of water after having this thought, and in the hallway people were giving away old books for some reason — and they gave her a copy of The Orchid Thief.

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