Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Adaptation - Adapting Yourself In Your Story

I hope you suffer from WRITER'S BLOCK !!
Well this is the worst curse that you can give to any one of us, at least to me you can. Ever imagined what happens when a person who makes his living out of words is not able to write?

Adaptation released in 2002 was one great movie depicting all the kinds of hardship a screenwriter can face. The film was directed by Spike Jonze. It was written by Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman has written something which I think no one can even attempt or even if anyone does, it sure as hell won't be up to these movie's standards. I think many of you must have seen it and I doubt if there is anyone who didn't like it.

This time I won't be telling you about the plot, instead I would like to describe the conditions under which it was written and then its execution.

Susan Orlean, a  famous American journalist had written a book "The Orchid Thief" on her investigation of John Laroche's arrest in 1994. The book was then tried to adapt into a movie with Charlie Kaufman hired to write a screenplay based on it. A book based on flowers had a little scope of turning into a fine successful movie. Kaufman realized it soon but he could not complain. He tried hard but a good acceptable draft never came out. He soon drowned into depression and the dreaded writer's block hit him. Things got worse then ever. It was in these frustration that he got a novel idea and started to work on it. Now this was the most stupid thing anyone could do but he went ahead and wrote the script keeping himself as a "character trying to attempt to convert the book into screenplay." He wrote his heavily fictionalized character which was also named Charlie Kaufman, he gave himself a fictional twin brother, Donald Kaufman.

Nicolas Cage playing Charlie and Donald Kaufman.
Charlie Kaufman fictionalized the lives of Susan Orlean and John Laroche and brought them into his script as the antagonists. Thus a script was formed which showed "Charlie Kaufman trying to adapt Susan Orlean's book into a screenplay.." In the story to help him write, he created the character of Donald Kaufman, who is his twin brother and helps him to adapt the book into a screenplay.

Now a film needs a plot, a story rather then just showing a writer trying to write a screenplay, there has to be something more. Then Susan Orlean and John Laroche's characters had to be turned bad. They are shown involved in making drugs from plants. Thus it is up to Charlie and his brother that while writing the script, they have to stop and expose them.

An awesome movie with an incredible plot. And to stick to the story,  the film makers even credited Donald Kaufman (in spite of being a fictional character) as the co-writer with Charlie Kaufman. And the fictional character also was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Awards. My personal favorite and something which never bores you when you watch it.

22 comments:

  1. I was just thinking to write about this wonderful movie. Ur review has done justice to the film. Nicolas Cage turns in one of the best performances.

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    1. Thank you, Arun.
      Yes, it was one of Cage's best performances. :)

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  2. oh my never heard of this movie even... hmmm seems to be a good movie will add to my list of rentals :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Thanks for dropping by...Yes, it is quite good. :)

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  3. This is a mind blowing movie. Have you seen Shattered Glass, I like the plot of it and its treatment. Thanks for the review...

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    1. Yes, it is.
      Shattered Glass was good too...I saw it just recently after Arun had posted a good review about it.
      Shattered Glass - A Cautionary Tale

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  4. This is a great movie. Speacially because it involves the story of the adaptation. Very creative.

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    1. You are right..Its a very creative attempt by Kaufman. :)

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  5. A friend told me about it but never got a chance to watch it.

    This review is different from the usual reviews. It shows your incredible knowledge.

    You are a super reviewer. No doubt!!.. :) :)

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  6. i shall include it in my list of movies to watch ..thanks a lot .

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  7. Writer's block. Sigh. Must watch.

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  8. Wow Vinay!! You really , relentlessly review movies so well! You are just soo patient..that is just amazing! and I'll watch this one for sure :)

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. :) :)

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  9. wow! u really go deep into the history of a movie. real good

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  10. Ah good one! One of Cage's best films and performances. Good review

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