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Encyclopedia > Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich movie poster
Directed by Spike Jonze
Produced by Steve Golin
Vincent Landay
Sandy Stern
Michael Stipe
Written by Charlie Kaufman
Starring John Cusack
Cameron Diaz
Catherine Keener
John Malkovich
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Lance Acord
Editing by Eric Zumbrunnen
Distributed by Flag of United States USA Films (1999-2002)
Flag of Earth Universal Pictures (non-USA only 1999-2002, worldwide since 2002)
Release date(s) USA September 2, 1999
Australia December 26, 1999
UK March 17, 2000
New Zealand May 18, 2000
Running time 112 min
Language English
Budget $13,000,000 (estimated)
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Being John Malkovich is a 1999 film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (680x966, 223 KB)Movie poster of Being John Malkovich (1999) This is a copyrighted poster. ... Spike Jonze (born Adam Spiegel on October 22, 1969), is an American director of offbeat music videos and commercials, and an Academy Award-nominated director and producer in film and television, most notably the 1999 black comedy film Being John Malkovich and the 2002 film Adaptation. ... Steve Golin is founder and CEO of Anonymous Content LLP, a multimedia development, production and talent management company based in Culver City, California. ... John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960 in Decatur, Georgia) is the lead singer of the American rock band R.E.M. Stipe has become well-known (and occasionally parodied) for the mumbling style of his early career and for his complex, surreal lyrics, as well as his social and... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... John Paul Cusack (born June 28, 1966) is an American film actor and writer, born in Evanston, Illinois to a liberal Irish-Catholic family. ... Cameron Michelle Diaz (born August 30, 1972) is a Golden Globe Award-nominated American actress and former fashion model. ... Catherine Ann Keener (born March 26, 1960 in Miami, Florida) is an Academy Award-nominated American actress. ... John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor, producer and director. ... Carter Burwell (born November 18, 1955, in New York) is a composer of film soundtracks. ... After studying photography and filmmaking at the San Francisco Arts Institute, Northern California native Lance Acord began his career with photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_States. ... Focus Features (formerly known as USA Films and, in the beginning, Gramercy Pictures) is the speciality films division of Universal Pictures, a division of NBC Universal, the U.S.-based film, television and recreation entity of General Electric. ... Download high resolution version (1085x724, 102 KB)Earth flag created solely from public domain sources and released into the public domain by Derrick Coetzee. ... Universal Pictures is the main motion picture production/distribution arm of Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_States. ... September 2 is the 245th day of the year (246th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... // April 17 - Star Wars fans begin lining up at movie theaters in Westwood and Hollywood to buy tickets for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Australia. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... // April 17 - Star Wars fans begin lining up at movie theaters in Westwood and Hollywood to buy tickets for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... March 17 is the 76th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (77th in leap years). ... This is a list of film-related events in 2000. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_New_Zealand. ... May 18 is the 138th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (139th in leap years). ... This is a list of film-related events in 2000. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Spike Jonze (born Adam Spiegel on October 22, 1969), is an American director of offbeat music videos and commercials, and an Academy Award-nominated director and producer in film and television, most notably the 1999 black comedy film Being John Malkovich and the 2002 film Adaptation. ...


The film was widely praised for its originality, both in terms of the script and Jonze's direction. Kaufman's blending of fact and outrageous fiction was a theme continued in his next film with Jonze, Adaptation. Malkovich's performance as himself attracted considerable attention, as did Cameron Diaz's role as the dowdy Lotte, in which she was almost unrecognizable. Adaptation. ...


Taglines:

  • Ever Wanted To Be Someone Else?
  • Be All That Someone Else Can Be.

Contents

Cast list

John Paul Cusack (born June 28, 1966) is an American film actor and writer, born in Evanston, Illinois to a liberal Irish-Catholic family. ... Cameron Michelle Diaz (born August 30, 1972) is a Golden Globe Award-nominated American actress and former fashion model. ... Catherine Ann Keener (born March 26, 1960 in Miami, Florida) is an Academy Award-nominated American actress. ... John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor, producer and director. ... Orson Bean, born Dallas Frederick Burroughs (July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont), is an American film and stage actor. ... Mary Kay Place as The West Wings Surgeon General Millicent Griffith Mary Kay Place (b. ... Charles Irwin Sheen (born Carlos Irwin Estévez on September 3, 1965) is a Golden Globe Award-winning and Emmy-nominated American actor. ...

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The film centres on Craig Schwartz, an unsuccessful puppeteer involved in a forlorn marriage with his pet-obsessed and secretly bisexual wife Lotte. In human sexuality, bisexuality describes a man or woman having a sexual orientation to persons of either or both sexes (a man or woman who sexually likes both sexes; people who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to both males and females). ...


On the orders of his wife, Schwartz begins to look for work and gets a job as a filing clerk for LesterCorp at their offices on floor 7½ in the Mertin Flemmer building in Manhattan. He gets to this floor when a woman uses the emergency stop on the elevator and pries the door open with a crowbar. The entire floor is a rather cramped space, and Craig is forced to bend over as he walks around the office. A brake is a device for slowing or stopping the motion of a machine, and to keep it from starting to move. ...


One day, after moving a filing cabinet to look for an errant folder, Schwartz discovers a mysterious portal which transports him into the consciousness of John Malkovich - allowing him to observe the world through the eyes of his host for about 15 minutes before being unceremoniously dropped into a ditch by the side of the New Jersey Turnpike near the edge of the city. A portal in fiction is a magical or technological doorway that connects two distant locations. ... The New Jersey Turnpike (sometimes called The Jersey Turnpike) is a toll road in New Jersey and is one of the most heavily traveled highways in the United States. ...


The puppeteer reveals his discovery to the beautiful Maxine (who has become the object of Schwartz's unrequited desire). After some initial skepticism, she proposes the two form a business called JM, Inc., selling the experience of being John Malkovich for $200 a pop.


Schwartz tells Lotte about the portal and she tries it, entering Malkovich's consciousness as he takes a shower. She is aroused by the sensation and becomes obsessed with the portal, wanting to return to her host's body immediately. The next time she enters Malkovich he is reading from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard when Maxine calls to arrange a meeting with Malkovich at 8:00pm that night. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: IPA: ) was a Russian physician, short story writer, and playwright. ... Bust of Anton Chekhov at Badenweiler, Germany The Cherry Orchard (Вишнёвый сад or Vishniovy sad in Russian) is Russian playwright Anton Chekhovs last play. ...


Lotte returns to the portal at 8:00 that night and finds herself deeply attracted to Maxine, who later claims to have sensed that Lotte was inside Malkovich during the pair's meeting.


Lotte cannot stop thinking about Maxine and invites her to dinner. After eating Lasagna and smoking a joint, both Schwartz and Lotte attempt to kiss Maxine, who refuses both of their advances and reveals that she is not remotely interested in Schwartz but is attracted to Lotte (but only when she is inside Malkovich). The pair arrange a liaison when Lotte is inside Malkovich's body and Maxine makes love to Malkovich as soon as she realizes that Lotte is incumbent in his consciousness. // Look up Cannabis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Schwartz and Lotte visit the house of Lester, Schwartz's boss. When Lotte tries to get to the bathroom, she opens a door to a room with a timeline of John Malkovich hung onto the walls.


Schwartz realises the only way he will be able to get Maxine is by pretending to be Lotte in Malkovich's body and forces his wife at gun point to call Maxine and arrange another meeting as Malkovich before tying her in a cage with her pet chimpanzee which Lotte is convinced is suffering from an ulcer due to a traumatic childhood memory. Type species Simia troglodytes Blumenbach, 1775 distribution of Species Pan troglodytes Pan paniscus Chimpanzee, often shortened to chimp, is the common name for the two extant species in the genus Pan. ...


Maxine seduces Malkovich again, thinking that Lotte is in his mind, but actually it is Schwartz who manages to manipulate Malkovich's body..


Malkovich becomes paranoid that he is being controlled by a supernatural force and, after consulting his friend Charlie, comes to believe that Maxine is a witch. He follows her to the Mertin Flemmer Building where he discovers JM, Inc.—the company Schwartz and Maxine set up to sell the experience of being Malkovich. He enters his own portal, which manifests itself as a world where everyone (male or female) has his head and can only say the word “Malkovich.” He is then dumped at the turnpike. Schwartz meets the severely frightened Malkovich there and Malkovich orders him to close the portal. Schwartz ignores the request and again forces Lotte to arrange a meeting between Maxine and Malkovich. Charles Irwin Sheen (born Carlos Irwin Estévez on September 3, 1965) is a Golden Globe Award-winning and Emmy-nominated American actor. ...


After Schwartz leaves to enter Malkovich, Lotte's chimp is inspired to untie her, recalling a childhood memory when he and his parents were captured from the jungle and he tried in vain to untie his father. After the escape, she is then able to call Maxine and inform her of Schwartz's deceit. Surprisingly, Maxine tells Lotte that she was also aroused by Schwartz and that she will still be going to meet Malkovich with Schwartz, who is inside him.


This time when Maxine arrives at Malkovich’s apartment Schwartz is able to take total control of his body and the pair make love before deciding that Schwartz will remain inside Malkovich permanently. Schwartz begins to control Malkovich and, as the story jumps forward eight months, we find that he has reinvented himself as the most successful puppeteer the world has ever seen. It is disclosed that he has become married to Maxine, but that the two are becoming increasingly distant and that this distance has been growing as Maxine's now 8 month pregnancy has progressed.


Lotte goes to see Lester, Schwartz's boss, who confesses to her that he has known about the portal for many years and has in fact used it on several occasions in order to live forever in the body of hosts like Malkovich. He has been monitoring Malkovich from a young age and plans to enter his body when it becomes ripe at age 44, along with several of his close friends, and then, they will be able to control it in the way Schwartz has been controlling it. Lester also explains to Lotte that after midnight on the day the host becomes ripe, the portal will move to the next host candidate and that anyone entering after midnight will become trapped in the new host, whose very young subconscious will be powerful enough to overpower whoever has entered the portal. Lotte explains that Schwartz is controlling Malkovich and Lester believes he will be too powerful to remove, so a plan is hatched to force him out of Malkovich.


Lester and his cohorts capture Maxine, then call Malkovich to tell Schwartz they will kill her if he does not leave. Schwartz reluctantly leaves Malkovich and Lester and his friends are able to enter his body in time to take it over. Maxine and Lotte fall in love when Maxine reveals that she has had feelings for her since she and Malkovich first had sex, and that she is carrying the baby of Malkovich from when Lotte was inside him.


Schwartz becomes distraught when he finds this out and rushes back to the portal to attempt to re-enter Malkovich, but it is now after midnight. In a cruel twist ending, we see that he is trapped in the body of the next host, who happens to be Maxine's daughter Emily, conceived by Lotte when she was in Malkovich. Suppressed by the host’s subconscious he is unable to do anything but watch Maxine and Lotte live happily ever after through the eyes of their child. A twist ending or surprise ending is an unexpected conclusion or climax to a work of fiction, which may contain an irony, or cause the audience to reevaluate the rest of the story. ...


Trivia

Maxine (Keener) and Craig (Cusack) meet on the 7 1/2 floor
Maxine (Keener) and Craig (Cusack) meet on the 7 1/2 floor
  • In the first draft of the script (which circulated on the Internet), Lester and his friends weren't using Malkovich's portal as a means for extending their lives, but in a plot to take over the world in the name of Satan. Satan was the mysterious 'Flemmer' that the Mertin Flemmer building was half named after, and was behind the concept of inhabiting others' brains.
  • In the original script, the closing credits were going to play "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" by They Might Be Giants.
  • Craig discovers that LesterCorp is on the 7 1/2 floor of the Mertin Flemmer building by seeing a "7 1/2" on a building directory in the lobby. This moment occurs at the 7 1/2-minute point of the film.
  • After the script was written, Kaufman was surprised to learn that 7 1/2 was the actual apartment number of John Malkovich's apartment. He recalls, "it was kind of cool because I thought I might have tapped into something."
  • The play that Malkovich is reading into a tape recorder is Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. The line beginning "I'm as hungry as the winter..." is at the end of Act Two, where Trofimov is speaking to Anya, pontificating on his rejection of materialism.
  • The play that John Malkovich is rehearsing on stage is Shakespeare's Richard III. The lines "Was ever a woman in this humour woo'd? / Was ever a woman in this humour won?" are I.ii.239-240, where Richard is gloating over his use of power, lies and crime to obtain the woman he desires, Queen Anne. This rehearsal scene is immediately followed by the first time that Craig has sex with Maxine via Malkovich.
  • At the beginning of the film when Craig is trying to guess Maxine's name, one of the names he mumbles is "Emily," the name of the child that Maxine gives birth to at the end of the film. The other names Craig mumbles are an allusion to Dr. Lester and his group of friends that can exist within other souls.
  • The 1990 Steppenwolf Theatre building in Chicago (Malkovich was one of the first members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and remains one today) includes a half-floor used for storage.
  • Charlie Kaufman sent the screenplay to Francis Ford Coppola after he wrote it. Coppola liked it very much and showed it to his daughter's husband, Spike Jonze. Jonze liked the screenplay so much that he approached Kaufman about directing the movie.
  • In the scene in the Mertin Flemmer building lobby, when Craig browses the floor listings to find LesterCorp, the camera scrolls past the listing "Eric Zumbrunnen, CPA." Eric Zumbrunnen is the film's editor.
  • Spike Jonze makes a cameo appearance as Derek Mantini's assistant. Brad Pitt also has a half-second-long cameo, as a miffed star in the documentary on Malkovich's career. He seems to be on the verge of saying something before the shot ends.
  • The play that Craig was performing on a street corner with his puppets (when he gets punched by an angry parent) is based on the letters of Abelard and Heloise, written between 1115 and 1117 AD, which were found, copied and abridged by Johannes de Vepria, a 15th century Cistercian monk, into "Ex Epistolis duorum amantium" ("From the Letters of Two Lovers"). This became a classic document of early tragic romance, used by many artists in their work, including William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. In addition, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's later project, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), took its title and no small amount of inspiration from Alexander Pope's Eloisa to Abelard.
  • A fictional behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of this movie appears in screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's subsequent movie, Adaptation. (2002).
  • Orson Bean, who played Dr. Lester, had a role in the film Innerspace (1987), which is also about a man taking control of another man's body.
  • The scene when John Malkovich is hit in the head by a can thrown by a passenger in a passing car was originally not meant to be in the film, because the director thought it would be too hard to do. When John Malkovich asked the director to keep it in the movie, he asked the crew if they thought they could make the shot; half the crew put their hands up, and it was completed in the first take. Apparently, Malkovich was so happy with the shot that he bought all the crew members a beer.
  • Craig's Dance of Despair and Disillusionment is choregraphed to the second movement of Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta.
  • John Malkovich's middle name in the film is Horatio, while his real middle name is Gavin.

Image File history File links Publicity still of Catherine Keener and John Cusack in Being John Malkovich (1999) This is a copyrighted image that has been released by a company or organization to promote their work in the media. ... Image File history File links Publicity still of Catherine Keener and John Cusack in Being John Malkovich (1999) This is a copyrighted image that has been released by a company or organization to promote their work in the media. ... For other uses, see Satan (disambiguation). ... They Might Be Giants (commonly abbreviated to TMBG) is an American alternative rock duo consisting of John Linnell and John Flansburgh that formed in 1982. ... Bust of Anton Chekhov at Badenweiler, Germany The Cherry Orchard (Вишнёвый сад or Vishniovy sad in Russian) is Russian playwright Anton Chekhovs last play. ... Frontispage of the First Quarto Richard The Third. ... Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theatre company in Chicago, Illinois. ... Francis Ford Coppola (born April 7, 1939) is a five time Academy Award winning American film director, producer, and screenwriter. ... Sofia Coppola Sofia Carmina Coppola (born May 14, 1971) is an American director, actress, producer, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. ... Spike Jonze (born Adam Spiegel on October 22, 1969), is an American director of offbeat music videos and commercials, and an Academy Award-nominated director and producer in film and television, most notably the 1999 black comedy film Being John Malkovich and the 2002 film Adaptation. ... Martin Scorsese appears briefly in an uncredited role in this scene from his feature film Taxi Driver. ... William Bradley Brad Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. ... Abaelardus and Heloïse in a manuscript of Roman de la Rose (14. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an Academy Award-winning 2004 romance film by Michel Gondry that uses a science fiction element to explore the nature of memory and love. ... Alexander Pope, an English poet best known for his Essay on Criticism and Rape of the Lock Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) is generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the early eighteenth century, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. ... Eloisa to Abelard In these deep solitudes and awful cells, Where heavnly-pensive contemplation dwells, And ever-musing melancholy reigns; What means this tumult in a vestals veins? Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat? Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat? Yet, yet I love... Adaptation. ... Orson Bean, born Dallas Frederick Burroughs (July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont), is an American film and stage actor. ... Innerspace is a 1987 science fiction comedy film directed by Joe Dante and produced by Steven Spielberg. ... B la Bart k (March 25, 1881 – September 26, 1945) was a composer, pianist and collector of East European folk music. ... Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is a piece of classical music by Béla Bartók. ...

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