A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director:

Spike Jonze

Writers:

Susan Orlean (book), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,071 ( 422)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 64 wins & 100 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Charlie Kaufman / Donald Kaufman
Tilda Swinton ... Valerie Thomas
Meryl Streep ... Susan Orlean
Chris Cooper ... John Laroche
Jay Tavare ... Matthew Osceola
Litefoot ... Russell (as G. Paul Davis)
Roger Willie ... Randy
Jim Beaver ... Ranger Tony
Cara Seymour ... Amelia Kavan
Doug Jones ... Augustus Margary
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Ranger Steve Neely (scenes deleted)
Gary Farmer ... Buster Baxley
Peter Jason ... Defense Attorney
Gregory Itzin ... Prosecutor
Curtis Hanson ... Orlean's Husband
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Storyline

While his latest movie Being John Malkovich (1999) is in production, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired by Valerie Thomas to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" for the screen. Thomas bought the movie rights before Orlean wrote the book, when it was only an article in The New Yorker. The book details the story of rare orchid hunter John Laroche, whose passion for orchids and horticulture made Orlean discover passion and beauty for the first time in her life. Charlie wants to be faithful to the book in his adaptation, but despite Laroche himself being an interesting character in his own right, Charlie is having difficulty finding enough material in Laroche to fill a movie, while equally not having enough to say cinematically about the beauty of orchids. At the same time, Charlie is going through other issues in his life. His insecurity as a person doesn't allow him to act upon his feelings for Amelia Kavan, who is interested in him as a man. And Charlie's twin ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Charlie Kaufman writes the way he lives... With Great Difficulty. His Twin Brother Donald Lives the way he writes... with foolish abandon. Susan writes about life... But can't live it. John's life is a book... Waiting to be adapted. One story... Four Lives... A million ways it can end. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chris Cooper won the Oscar for his role in this film acting alongside Meryl Streep. Meanwhile Ed Harris was nominated in the same category, also acting alongside Streep in The Hours (2002), a film that featured John C. Reilly who was also nominated in the same category that year for his performance in Chicago (2002) See more »

Goofs

When Susan Orlean and John Laroche are lost in the swamp, the light is overcast both when John is sitting and when he wades off, but Susan is standing beside him in bright sunlight. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charlie Kaufman: [voiceover] Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would ...
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Crazy Credits

The screenplay is credited as being written by both Charlie Kaufman and his fictional brother Donald. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.7 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Cat Came Back
Written by Henry S. Miller
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User Reviews

 
Cage redeemed.
27 July 2003 | by continuoSee all my reviews

A brilliant, original film, hilariously funny almost all the way through, which is why the end seems disjointed and a bit out of sync with the rest of the film...until you consider McKee's advice to Kaufman, the success of Donald's cliched script, and the pressure on Charlie Kaufman (in the film) to finish the script. So it suddenly becomes a thriller, there's drama added to a genuinely moving story and characters, and it seems to rush towards its ending unprepared. But that's the whole postmodern element of the film - is it deliberately bad and pat (like the Player - a much lesser film that doesn't stand up after repeated viewing)?

Anyway, Cage is fantastic in this - really if the Oscars were about acting, he should have got it for articulating two characters brilliantly. After the mess of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, it's some achievement.

A must see - but you need to engage your brain for this!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

14 February 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Orchid Thief See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$384,478, 8 December 2002

Gross USA:

$22,498,520

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,801,173
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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