From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Adaptation (rendered as Adaptation.) is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief through self-referential events. The film stars Nicolas Cage as Charlie and Donald Kaufman, Meryl Streep as Susan, with Chris Cooper, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Tilda Swinton, Ron Livingston and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film tells the story of Charlie Kaufman's difficult struggle to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film. In addition, Orlean romances with John Laroche while Charlie enlists the help of his twin brother Donald.
The film had been in development as far back as 1994. Jonathan Demme brought the project to Columbia Pictures with Kaufman writing the script. Kaufman went through writer's block and did not know what to think of The Orchid Thief. In turn Kaufman wrote a script about his experience adapting The Orchid Thief into a screenplay. Tom Hanks was at one point set for the role of Charlie Kaufman while John Turturro was approached to portray Laroche. Jonze signed to direct and filming finished in June 2001. Adaptation. received positive reviews and critical acclaim, as well as outstanding success at the 75th Academy Awards, 60th Golden Globe Awards and 56th British Academy Film Awards. It has since developed a strong cult following, which almost all of Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's works have developed.