From director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, the team responsible for the highly acclaimed Being John Malkovich, comes Adaptation, a wildly unconventional comedy about a writer who, out of sheer desperation, decides to insert himself into the screenplay he’s struggling to adapt. It’s a great idea, until reality and fiction begin to overlap in the most unexpected ways.
Despite the success of his first produced script, Being John Malkovich, for which he received an Academy Award® nomination for best original screenplay, Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is plagued by insecurities, both in his career and his personal life. When he is hired to adapt The Orchid Thief, a nonfiction book about a fanatical orchid breeder, John Laroche (Chris Cooper), he is completely stumped. Though, on the surface, the book is about Laroche’s flower poaching adventures in the Florida Everglades, on another level it’s also about the desire in all of us to experience passion. This longing plagues the book’s author, Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) and, Charlie realizes, himself as well.
Charlie’s twin brother, Donald Kaufman (also played by Nicolas Cage), only makes things worse when he moves in with Charlie and announces he’s going to be a screenwriter too. As Charlie battles his severe case of writer’s block, Donald cheerily types away on a script about a serial killer with multiple-personality disorder. Donald’s script immediately sells, making him the “hot” new writer in town. As if Charlie wasn’t feeling bad enough, Donald is also getting laid regularly, while Charlie can’t even get to first base.
Then, one day, Charlie has a last ditch inspiration. He’ll use his own dilemma as a framework for the script about Laroche and Orlean. But as the words start to flow, and the story takes shape, Charlie inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events impacting on the lives of all the characters.