Orphan (2009) Poster



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The subtle uneasiness of the film's poster is due to the image of Esther's face; it is perfectly symmetrical. Half of her face has been mirrored to form a whole face (notice the identical twists of hair on each side).
In the screenplay, Esther was described as having fair skin, delicate features, and platinum blonde hair. Although Isabelle Fuhrman (Esther) did not fit this description, the filmmakers were so impressed with her auditions that they cast her anyway.
Isabelle Fuhrman auditioned for the part of Esther while wearing an old-fashioned dress and ribbons around her wrists and neck.
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.
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.
Isabelle Fuhrman developed an interest in knitting from watching Vera Farmiga pass time on knitting projects during breaks in filming.
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. However, the line remains in the film.
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.
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 was not).
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.
Isabelle Fuhrman won the 2009 Fright Meter Award for Best Actress for her performance in this movie.
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.
Aryana Engineer, who plays Max, their mostly-deaf biological daughter in this film, is actually mostly deaf. She has Cochlear Implants which enhance her abilities to hear and speak.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist, a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
Vera Farmiga was nominated for the 2009 Fright Meter Award for Best Actress for her performance in this film.
Vera Farmiga said that the film was appealing in so many ways, but largely because she got "a paycheck, for once," and because she wanted to work with Peter Sarsgaard.
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. In the film, the song used instead is "The Glory of Love."
This film was shipped to theaters under the code name "Infant Terror."
The language spoken by the Saarne Institute receptionist is Estonian. 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.)
When the Colemans take Esther home and Sister Abigail is saying goodbye to her in the door opening of the orphanage, you can clearly see Sister Abigail crossing her fingers behind her back.
David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick wrote the part of Sister Abigail with CCH Pounder in mind.
The photo of the Saarne Institute is actually of Alma College in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. The building was destroyed by a fire on May 28, 2008.
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's school was filmed in Toronto, Canada. The building was the Centennial College's Center for Creative Communications.
A plaque near the doorway at Daniel and Esther's school reads, "R.J. Gilbert Elementary School." This is a reference to production manager Ronald Gilbert.
CCH Pounder (Sister Abigail) and Genelle Williams (Sister Judith) also appeared together on the TV show Warehouse 13 (2009).
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Esther's given sign name is the sign for "emergency" in American Sign Language.
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Second collaboration between Vera Farmiga and Karel Roden, the first one being " 15 Minutes"(2001)
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Earlier drafts of the script included 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, and 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, the 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 once 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 seven-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 finished movie). Although she impresses them, especially John, she finds out that they have already planned to adopt Yolanda. The next morning, Sister Judith finds Yolanda hanging in a closet; it is 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.
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 (Esther) 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, 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.
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."
An alternate ending for this movie appears on the DVD version. Esther does not fight Kate in the pond, but is instead up in her room putting on make-up, once again assuming the role of Esther as she greets the police.
In earlier drafts of the script, Esther does not stab John to death. Instead, 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, 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.
According to the Estonian mental institute records, Esther was born on April 20, the date of Hitler's birthday.
The movie closely resembles the real-life "Kurim Case," where a woman, Barbora Skrovlá, was born with a strange type of hormonal disease that made her look like a child. Skrovlá was in the Mauerová family with the name "Anna," and she committed several acts of cruelty. The resonance of the case was Klara Mauerová, the mother of two children, who committed acts of extreme abuse, according to Klara, under "Anna's ideas" and for protecting "her."
The climax of the movie has an uncanny similarity to the climax of The Ring Two (2005). In that film, Naomi Watts' character gets out of the well and suddenly, Samara, the antagonist, calls her "Mommy," to which Watts replies to her, saying," I am not your f***ing mommy." She then blocks the well with a boulder. In this movie, Vera Farmiga's character gets out of the water and Esther says, "Please don't kill me, Mommy," and Farmiga's character replies, "I'm not your f***ing mommy!" She then kicks Esther to fall back into the ice cold pit.
In the scene where it is panning the hallway and showing a black light flashing on and off and it the camera pans across the fish tank. You can see in the reflection what her picture looks like in the black light before its ultimately revealed.
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