#168 | Adaptation 2: Ideation

Writing is hard. Having foolishly committed ourselves to pumping out a sequel a week for the entire lifespan of this podcast, we understand this better than most. For Charlie Kauffman, the pressure to produce a follow-up to the Oscar nominated Being John Malkovich induced a full-blown existential crisis, but ultimately inspired him to push the narrative needle even further. The result – Adaptation.

Initially intended as a fairly straightforward screen version of Susan Orleans acclaimed book The Orchid Thief, Adaptation ultimately follows Kauffman himself – played by Nicholas Cage – as the struggle to turn a beloved work of literature into a compelling cinema screenplay drives him to distraction.

He isn’t helped by the presence of his laid-back brother Donald, also portrayed by Cage, who acts as a mirror image of his neurotic sibling; effortlessly successful and seemingly entirely free from self doubt.

As an actor, Nick Cage is often the butt of the joke for his larger than life performance style – sometimes unfairly. But the dual role he plays here gives him a rare opportunity to show a more subtle side to his talents. It’s one of his greatest achievements, and he was deservedly Oscar nominated – as were his co-stars Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper.

Cooper and Streep occupy the ‘movie within a movie’ (sort of), as a New York journalist on assignment finds herself drawn to an eccentric, self-aggrandising orchid thief with no front teeth and a tragic past. Eventually the two narratives combine in a riotously unexpected conclusion that somehow manages to work in a nude ambush, illegal drug trafficking and crocodiles. Whoever said a writer’s life was boring?

On this week’s podcast, we take a deep dive into meta-moments, Nick Cage’s manly rug, Judy Greer’s Arrested Development moment and much more. We’ve also got all our favourite regular features including drinking games, listener submissions and a particularly challenging round of fantasy sequel pitches!

If you enjoy this week’s episode, please hit subscribe to receive a new episode direct to your podcast inbox every Monday morning. Reviews are also hugely appreciated as they really help us to reach new listeners, and our Patreon page offers a wide range of incentives including extended episodes, a weekly bonus show, regular promo opportunities and more.

Next week, we’re kicking off a new season inspired by the repetitive tedium of lockdown… wait! Come back! We promise, the actual movies are all bangers. Until then, happy listening and remember – a little creative licence never hurt anybody…