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Orphan (2009) Poster

(2009)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (8)
The subtle uneasiness of the film's poster is due to the image of Esther's face: it's perfectly symmetrical. Half of her face has been mirrored to form a whole face (notice the identical twists of hair on each side).
Warner Bros. edited the movie's trailer to remove Esther's line "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own" after receiving numerous complaints from adoptive parents and foster care organizations. The line remains in the movie itself.
The seduction scene between John and Esther was originally written to be longer and more sexually graphic. Much of the content and dialogue was cut.
Esther was originally written as having fair skin, delicate features, and platinum blonde hair. Isabelle Fuhrman doesn't fit this description. However, the filmmakers were so impressed with her auditions that they cast her anyway.
The orphanage Esther is adopted from is "Saint Mariana's Home for Girls". In the Catholic faith, Saint Mariana of Quito is the patron saint for those that have been rejected by religious orders and those who have lost both parents.
Isabelle Fuhrman auditioned for the part of Esther while wearing an old-fashioned dress and ribbons around her wrists and neck.
Isabelle Fuhrman won the 2009 Fright Meter Award for Best Actress for her performance.
When Kate is writing and playing music on her piano, she is actually composing a suite for Max and Jessica. This scene was originally longer, and Vera Farmiga, herself a skilled pianist, was reportedly furious at director Jaume Collet-Serra for editing it down. She hoped the full scene would be included on the DVD (it isn't).
Director Jaume Collet-Serra allowed Isabelle Fuhrman to do the swearing scene (in which Esther informs Kate that she is aware adults have sex) in one or two takes so she would not have to swear repeatedly.
Vera Farmiga said that the film was appealing in so many ways, but largely because she got "a pay cheque, for once", and because she wanted to work with Peter Sarsgaard.
The movie was originally written to take place during the fall, and some exterior shots were filmed to establish this. Shortly before principal photography was set to begin in December 2007, the Toronto locations were hit with near-record snowfall, forcing the change of setting to winter. One of the scenes written out as a result was a Halloween carnival at Daniel and Esther's school.
The language spoken by the Saarne Institute receptionist is Estonian; this is what she says: "Saarne Instituute, kas ma saan teid aidata?" (Saarne Institute, can I help you?) "Kuidas palun?" (I'm sorry?) "Ma ei saa aru. Oota üks silmapilk." (I don't understand. Wait a moment.)
Shipped to theaters under the code name "Infant Terror".
Vera Farmiga was nominated for the 2009 Fright Meter Award for Best Actress for her performance.
In earlier drafts of the script, the song Esther sings and hums throughout is "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" by Doris Day.
David Johnson wrote the part of Sister Abigail with CCH Pounder in mind.
Isabelle Fuhrman developed an interest in knitting from watching Vera Farmiga pass time on knitting projects during breaks in filming.
The photo of the Saarne Institute is actually of Alma College in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. The building was destroyed by fire on May 28, 2008.
According to the original script, it was strongly implied that Esther enjoyed harming and torturing animals. A minor subplot with Esther killing and dismembering the Coleman family's pet hamster was written, but never filmed.
The name of the author listed on the study that Kate prints out is Isabelle Côté, the movie's graphic designer.
The scene at Max Coleman's school was filmed in Toronto, Canada. The building was Centennial College's Center for Creative Communications.
A plaque near the doorway at Daniel and Esther's school reads "R.J. Gilbert Elementary School" - a reference to production manager Ronald Gilbert.
When Kate is in the car with Danny and Max she asks if Esther hurt them. The sign Kate uses for Esther's name, known as a name sign in the Deaf community, is also the sign for 'emergency.'

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Earlier drafts of the script include more information about Esther's past and explain why she attempts to seduce her adoptive fathers:
  • She was molested by her father for years, starting when she was an infant; this sexualized her at a very young age and destroyed any future chance of her having her own children. Her father later took another lover, telling Esther that, because of her condition, she could never be a real woman. She murdered them both and was ultimately sent to Saarne, a mental institution.


-After escaping from Saarne, she worked as a prostitute in Estonia for years, mostly catering to wealthy pedophiles. When she was arrested for this, she kept up the pretense of being a child to stay out of jail and was sent to an orphanage.
  • Esther sees herself as trapped inside the body of a child, and it disgusts her. She wants to "grow up" and be a wife, a mother, and a lover (what her father considered a "real woman"), and tries to find "love" where she thought she'd had it as a child, with her new father.


In earlier drafts of the script, Kate and John go to the orphanage not to see girls for the first time, but to bring presents to Yolanda, a 7-year-old Puerto Rican girl whom they plan on taking home the next day. There, they meet Esther (this scene plays out almost exactly as it does in the actual movie). Although she impresses them, especially John, she finds out that they've already adopted Yolanda. The next morning, Sister Judith finds Yolanda hung in a closet; it's assumed that she died in a kids game gone wrong, but implied that Esther killed her. John later suggests to Kate that they adopt Esther instead.
According to the Estonian mental institute records, Esther was born on April the 20th - Hitler's birthday.
In earlier drafts of the script, Esther's attempt to kill Daniel in the hospital is successful.
According to an interview on FEARnet, Isabelle Fuhrman studied the performances of Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) to prepare for the role of Esther.
In earlier drafts of the script, Esther pins the murder of Sister Abigail on a homeless man in the park by hiding a grocery bag containing the bloody hammer and personal items from Abigail's car among the man's possessions. This was filmed, and part of it is featured as a deleted scene on the DVD.
In earlier drafts of the script, Esther doesn't stab John to death. As he discovers the black light paintings in her room, she jumps out from beneath the pile of stuffed animals on her bed, stabs him in the eye with a pair of scissors, pushes him down the stairs (breaking his leg), and strangles him with a jump rope.
In earlier drafts of the script, the climax takes place entirely inside the house. Kate kills Esther by shooting her in the chest and (after she says, "Please don't hurt me, Mommy") between the eyes.

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