Adaptation. is a 2002 American comedy-drama metafilm directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. It is based on Susan Orlean‘s non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, with numerous self-referential events added, and stars Nicolas Cage as Kaufman and his fictional twin brother Donald, Meryl Streep as Orlean, and Chris Cooper as John Laroche, with Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Tilda Swinton, Ron Livingston, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in supporting roles.
Adaptation had been in development as far back as 1994. Jonathan Demme brought the project to Columbia Pictures with Kaufman writing the script. Kaufman experienced writer’s block and did not know what to think of The Orchid Thief; he ultimately wrote a script based on his experience of adapting the book into a screenplay. Jonze signed to direct, and filming was finished in June 2001. Although it is billed as an adaptation of The Orchid Thief, its primary narrative focus is Charlie Kaufman’s struggle to adapt the book into a film, while dramatizing its events in parallel. Adaptation also adds a number of fictitious elements, including Kaufman’s twin brother (also credited as a writer for the film) and a romance between Orlean and Laroche, and culminates in completely invented events including fictional versions of Orlean and Laroche three years after the events related in The Orchid Thief.
Adaptation received awards at the 75th Academy Awards, 60th Golden Globe Awards, and 56th British Academy Film Awards, with Cooper winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Kaufman winning the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was ranked in a British Film Institute poll as one of the thirty best films of the 2000s.