Adaptation: Narrative Structure


Adaptation: Narrative Techniques
Underline = Titles
Bold = Orlean story line
VO = Voice-Over
IM = Interior Monologue ( a type of VO)
OT = The Orchid Thief
Italics = Quotation from the dialogue or Voice-over
Double Space = Time Shift between 1998 & 1995
(C.1-28 ) = DVD Chapters

  1. Credits on a blank screen. Charlie Kaufman's IM. (C. 1)
  2. On the Set of Being John Malkovich--Summer 1998. Malkovich. Charlie Kaufman. (C. 2)
  3. Hollywood CA; Four Billion and Forty Years Earlier. IM. [Mind Flash] ? Visual fantasy sequence.
  4. Restaurant. CK and Valerie discuss adapting The Orchid Thief. IM. CK: . . . I don't want to cram in sex or guns or car chases. . . .Or characters learning profound life lessons. Or growing, or coming to like each other, or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. (C. 3)

  5. New Yorker Magazine, Three Years Earlier (1995). Orlean VO--simulation of what she is writing. (C. 4)
  6. State Road 29, Florida, Two Years Earlier (1993). The visual enactment of what Orlean wrote about the event in her New Yorker article: "The Orchid Fever."

  7. CK's House: CK and Donald discuss Screenwriting. (C. 5)
  8. Apartment: CK and Amelia at a party. IM. (C. 6)
  9. CK in bedroom: Beginning script of Adaptation. IM.

  10. Orlean's Apartment in NY (1995) : VO simulating her writing. Orinoco River, Venezuela, One Hundred Years Earlier (1895). A visual enactment of what she is writing. Kinabalu, Borneo; Xishuangbanna, China.
  11. State Road 29 (1993): Continuation of events in #6. Stealing the Orchids. Orlean VO from The Orchid Thief (1998): Laroche loved orchids, but I came to believe he loved the difficulty and fatality of getting them almost as much as he loved the orchids themselves. (OT-p. 55)
  12. Miami, Florida, Six Months Later (1993) The Courtroom.
  13. Outside the Courthouse: Orlean meets Larouche.

  14. CK's Bedroom. VO: Simulating writing scene #6. IM.
  15. CK's Car: CK with Amelia. IM.

  16. Florida, Three Years Earlier (1995). In Larouche's van. Orlean interviewing Laroche. (C. 7)

  17. CK's Dining Room. CK and DK. O's VO--simulation of CK reading.

  18. Orlean at Seminoles' Nursery (1995). Orlean and Matthew.
  19. Orchid Show (Later in 1995). Orlean and Larouche. L's VO + Visuals illustrating what he's saying to her. (C. 8)

  20. Orlean's Apartment in NY (Later in 1995). Dinner party. Orlean in bed. O's VO (IM ?): I wanted to want something as much as people wanted. . . these plants. But it isn't part of my constitution. I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion . . . I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately. (OT--1998-p. 41) (C. 9)
  21. New Yorker Office (Later 1995). Orlean VO: Simulates reading in a book on Orchids. VO: Simulates writing OT (pp. 39-41) What I wanted was to see this thing . . . that people were drawn to in such a singular and powerful way. + Visuals which show the Ghost Orchid--illustrating the writing.

  22. Dissolve to CK "reading" the Orlean VO of the previous scene and looking at OT cover-flap. (C. 10 )

  23. In Larouche's van (1995). Orlean interviewing JL. Continuation of #16. Orlean VO (OT--1998, p. 245) as transition to next scene.

  24. L.A. Pasta Place. CK "reading" Orlean's VO from previous scene. Meets Alice. (C. 11)
  25. Orchid Show. CK with Alice. [Mind Flash].
  26. CK's Bedroom. CK masterbating. DK's entrance.
  27. L.A. Pasta Place. CK with Alice.
  28. Santa Barbara Orchid Show. Orlean VO: from OT. + Visuals illustrating her words. Simulation of CK "thinking" her words. Turns into CK's IM. (C. 12 )

  29. Orlean's Apartment in NY (1995). Reaction shot. O. looking at husband.
  30. Orlean in Larouche's Van (1995). Continuation of #23 but later that night? Discussion of mutation.

  31. Being John Malkovich 7 1/2 Floor Set. CK and DK.
  32. CK's Living Room. DK and CK.
  33. Party. CK, DK and Amelia.
  34. CK's Bedroom. Looking at Darwin book. CK's IM. [Mind Flash] Simulates him thinking about Evolution and Adaptation. England, One Hundred and Thirty Nine Years Earlier. Darwin's VO simulating what he's writing. Visuals illustrate what he's writing. Then shifts to CK reading what we've just heard.
  35. CK in car. CK's IM+ [ Mind Flash]-- a montage of Darwin/CK/JL/O and the Ghost Orchid.
  36. CK's bedroom. Fantasy sequence ends. He begins recording his ideas.
  37. CK's Living Room. CK listens to his recording from previous scene--ideas for #3 & 4. DK enters.

  38. Laroche's living room and Orlean's Apartment in NY (1995). Phone conversation. Laroche tells about the accident. (C. 13 )
  39. Laroche telling--Flashback +VO. North Miami, Nine Years Earlier (1984).
  40. Orlean/Laroche on phone.
  41. Laroche's 2nd Flashback + VO about Hurricane Andrew (1992).
  42. Orlean/Laroche on phone. L. tells of working for Seminoles.
  43. NY Restaurant (Later in 1995). Orlean and Valerie. Valerie reads the New Yorker"Orchid Fever." The lines JL just spoke to Orlean in previous scene: I was going to give them something amazing. Valerie wants to option Orlean's book. O: "Random House has asked me to expand it into a book, so I'm going to be doing that."

  44. CK's Bedroom. Answering machine call from Marty his agent.
  45. Valerie's Apartment. Valerie and CK. [Mind Flash]--CK's fantasy.
  46. CK's Bedroom. CK masterbating. VO simulates CK's reading script in typewriter--#10.
  47. [Mind Flash]--Montage of JL/flowers/Indians/Orlean/the trial. Accelerated images +sound of typewriter+VO. Simulates a frantic writing of his script.
  48. CK's Bedroom. Wakes from the nightmare. DK and Caroline.
  49. Agent's Office. Marty and CK. Reads NY Times Book Review of OT. There's not. . . nearly enough of him to fill a book, so Orlean. . . digresses in long passages. . . . No narrative really unites these passages. CK: The book has no story. There's no story! (C. 14 )
  50. CK's House. DK and CK. McKee's Ten Commandments.

  51. Orlean in hotel room in Florida (later in 1995). Orlean and JL on the phone. O. wants him to take her to see the Ghost Orchid.

  52. CK bedroom. CK reads OT. Orlean's VO simulation of his reading the book. There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. (OT-p.245) [Mind Flash]--CK talks to Orlean. She talks to him. They make love. O's VO to him. (C. 15 )
  53. CK's Kitchen. CK dictates #20 with her VO over image of her husband and her in bed. DK and Caroline.
  54. L.A Restaurant. CK runs into Valerie who's meeting with Orlean. CK runs.
  55. CK's car. CK's IM. It's like the only thing I'm actually qualified to write about is myself.
  56. CK's Bedroom. Dictating scene #1 of the film--his opening IM.Dictating a revision and idea for the jerk-off scene with SO--#52. DK enters. I suck. (C. 16 )

  57. Orlean in JL's van on the way to the swamp (1995). Discuss the film. . . .I've gotta write the book first, John. Then, you know, they get somebody to write the screenplay. (C. 17 )
  58. Swamp. O's VO (from OT--1998) : Most people yearn for something exceptional, something so inspiring that they'd want to risk everything for that passion. But few would act on it. It was very powerful. And it's intoxicating to be around someone so alive. (Reworking of OT-p. 273.)
  59. Swamp. O's VO (OT--1998). Life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid. Wonderful to imagine and...easy to fall in love with, but a little fantastic...and fleeting...and out of reach. (OT-p. 41)

  60. CK on airplane. Three Years Later (1998) . Reading same passage from OT. VO from last scene is transition to him reading.
  61. New Yorker Building. In elevator with Orlean.
  62. Hotel in NY. Agent calls. [ Mind Flash]--CK' Memory of DK.
  63. McKee's Seminar. CK's IM juxtaposed to McKee's lecture. ...and God help you if you use voice over in your work, my friends. ...It's flaccid, sloppy writing! Any idiot can write voice over narration to explain the thoughts of the character. (C. 18 )
  64. CK on the street.
  65. McKee's Seminar. Next Morning. CK asks question. McKee's ridicule.
  66. On the street. CK meets McKee.
  67. CK and McKee at a bar. CK reads end of OT: . . . but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. (OT-p. 41) McKee's advice: The last act makes the film. Wow them in the end and you got a hit. . . .Find an ending. . . .Your characters must change. (C. 19 )
  68. CK's Hotel room. Looking at McKee's charts. Calls DK and asks him to come to NY.
  69. CK's Hotel room. DK going to fix the script. Go see Orlean. (C. 20 )
  70. Orlean's Office. Donald pretends to be CK. (C. 21 )
  71. CK's Hotel room. DK's plan to spy on Orlean.
  72. Office building across from O's apartment. DK watches her book a flight. (C. 22 )
  73. CK's Hotel room. CK reading Story and DK OT. O's photo on JL's website.
  74. Orlean's Apartment. (1998) In bed with husband. VO (IM ?): What I came to understand is that change is not a choice. Not for a species of plant, and not for me. It happens, and you are different. (Not from OT)

  75. Fakahatchee Three Years Earlier (1995). Continuation of #57-59. VO "But something happened in the swamp that day." The VO is from 1998 over the sequence of 1995. Orlean sees the Ghost Orchid. Just a flower.
  76. In the van (1995). JL tells O about the Indians snorting orchid dust.
  77. JL's VO+Flashback of the Indians getting high.
  78. In the van.
  79. Orlean in Hotel room. Continuation of events with JL in 1995. She gets stoned on Orchid dust. Talks to JL on the phone. (C. 23 )
  80. In the van. They make love.
  81. JL's Backyard. Orlean and the ant.

  82. Florida, Three Years Later. (1998). CK and DK watching JL getting Orlean at the airport.
  83. At JL's house. CK gets caught. Orlean decides to kill him. ( C. 24 )
  84. In the Car. CK and Orlean on the way to the swamp. (C. 25 )
  85. CK and DK escape into the swamp. O and JL hunt for them. CK and DK have intimate moment. DK: You are what you love, not what loves you.
  86. Swamp. CK and DK attempt an escape. DK wounded. Car crash. DK dies. (C. 26 )
  87. CK chased by JL and O into the swamp. Alligator kills JL. Orlean: I want to be a baby again. I want to be new. (C. 27 )
  88. Swamp. CK calls his mom.
  89. CK's rooms in L.A. Typing from recorder the scene with DK about love--#85.
  90. Sunset Five Plaza. CK meets Amelia. Tells her he loves her. (C. 28 )
  91. Parking Garage. CK's IM. Knows how to finish script. So...Kaufman drives off from his encounter with Amelia, filled for the first time with hope. I like this. This is good.
  92. CK enacts the previous IM. Drives off. Time-lapse images and the flowers bloom.