The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Cage Match Round 2: Adaptation

And in this corner of Cage Match Round 2, Nicolas Cage’s Academy Award nominated performance as twin brothers Charlie & Donald Kaufman in Spike Jonze’s Adaptation...

Cynical screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Cage) is experiencing writer’s block while attempting to adapt Susan Orlean’s nonfiction novel, “The Orchid Thief” into a film. Unable to find a proper way to honor the book’s prosaic writing style, Charlie reaches out to Susan Orlean herself (Meryl Streep) for her thoughts on his highly conceptual take on the material. Meanwhile, Charlie’s twin brother Donald (also Cage) moves in with Charlie, and follows in his footsteps to write a screenplay of his own.

Nicolas Cage’s dual roles as Charlie and Donald Kaufman are one of the film’s many surreal elements that have made it an enduring work of 21st century metafiction, and a signature performance of Cage’s entire career.

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“Adaptation is a profound natural process by which living things unconsciously mutate over time in order to achieve greater concordance with their surroundings. Adaptation can also be a prosaic mechanical process through which a pre-existing thing is consciously remade in order to fulfill some other purpose – i.e., adapting a novel for the screen. It’s with thoughts such as these that the movie Adaptation begins – and ends.” – Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

“You know, it’s funny, when I see this picture in the audience, I do laugh, and I don’t know why I’m laughing sometimes. And I also get emotional, so I have a hard time saying it’s a comedy. I don’t really know what it is. It seems like one of those movies that raises more questions than it answers, and has a life of its own.” – Nicolas Cage, 2002

“There’s a lot of real people in the movie and a lot of real events in the movie and also fiction in the movie. . . . And it’s not for us to spell out where it is, what’s real and what’s not real. It’s just about having the experience of watching the movie with those questions and not ruining it.” – Spike Jonze, 2002