Being John Malkovich (1999)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 52 mins

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This radical fantasy drama depicts the fluctuating fortunes in the life of Craig Schwartz, an unsuccessful puppeteer, who is in a troubled marriage with animal lover and pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz. Despite not being able to earn a living solely through puppeteering, Craig loves his profession as it allows him to inhabit the skin of others. He begins to take the ability to inhabit the skin of others to the next level when he is forced to take a job as a file clerk for the off-kilter LesterCorp, located on the five-foot tall 7½ floor of a Manhattan office building. Behind one of the filing cabinets in his work area, Craig finds a hidden door which he learns is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich, the visit through the portal which lasts fifteen minutes after which the person is spit into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig is fascinated by the meaning of life associated with this finding. Lotte's trips through the portal make her evaluate her own self. And the confident Maxine Lund, one of Craig's co-workers who he tells about the portal if only because he is attracted to her, thinks that it is a money making opportunity in selling trips into Malkovich's mind after office hours for $200 a visit. Craig, Lotte and Maxine begin to understand that anyone entering the portal has the ability to control Malkovich's mind, which also alters his entire being. This experience makes Maxine fall in love with a composite. This ability to control Malkovich's mind begs the question of the ultimate psychedelic trip for Malkovich himself, who begins to feel that something is not right in the world as he knows it. Will Malkovich ever succeed in regaining control over his mind? How will Craig's future unfold?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Cameron Diaz, John Cusack

Crew: Spike Jonze (Director), Lance Acord (Director of Photography), Carter Burwell (Music Director)

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Release Dates: 03 Dec 1999 (India)

Tagline: Ever wanted to be someone else? Now you can.

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Did you know? Steve Oedekerk was sent an early draft of the script in 1989, and upon reading it, immediately arranged a meeting with Charlie Kaufman. Oedekerk told him he thought it was the most brilliant script he'd ever read, but also that he was certain it could never be made. Read More
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as Lotte Schwartz
as Craig Schwartz
as Captain Mertin
as Maxine Lund
as Charlie
as Father at Puppet Show
as Sad Man in Line
as John Horatio Malkovich
as Tiny Woman
as Cab Driver
as Daughter at Puppet Show
as Floris
as Derek Mantini
as Woman in Elevator
as Dr. Lester
as First J.M. Inc. Customer
as Guy in Restaurant

Direction

Director
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director

Distribution

Writers

Screenplay Writer
Story Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Key Grip

Music

Music Director

Sound

Foley Artist
Sound Re-recording Mixer
Boom Operator

Art

Production Designer
Art Director
Set Designer
Set Decorator
Prop Master

Casting

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

Editorial

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Special Effects Technician
Special Effects Studio

Stunts

Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Performer

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Visual Effects Studio
Digital Compositor
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital
Camera:
Moviecam Compact, Moviecam Superlight
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 (Flat), 2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
Ever wanted to be someone else? Now you can.
Ever Wanted To Be Someone Else?
Be All That Someone Else Can Be
Goofs:
Continuity
When Malkovich and Maxine are on his couch, the shoulder strap of her dress moves back and forth between resting on her shoulder or falling off her shoulder, depending on the camera angle.

Continuity
When Craig first discovers the portal, the hands of the clock on the wall (in the deep storage room) are fixed at 2:23 for several minutes.

Continuity
When Craig Schwartz first boards the elevator, the alarm stops when the stop button is released, before the door closes. But when Maxine boards the elevator to descend from floor 7-1/2, the alarm keeps ringing until the door closes.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Lotte is chasing Maxine through Malkovich's subconscious, as Maxine drops into the school bus section you can clearly see someone's hand holding her skirt so she doesn't fall into the bus.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Maxine enters Malkovich's subconscious for the gun chase, when the first smashes into the bedroom through the closet, there is a man in a green shirt on the left side by the chest of drawers. You can see his hands in one shot, then his whole body.

Errors in Geography
When Craig and Dr. Lester are in the restaurant, two orange Los Angeles MTA buses pass by.


When Craig gets spit out into a ditch for the first time, he is limping onto an on-ramp, a sign that reads "DOCK STREET NEXT RIGHT" is visible at the distance, suggesting a filming location at Terminal Island Freeway in Wilmington California.
Trivia:
In a radio interview writer Charlie Kaufman explained that while pitching John Malkovich the story Kaufman was informed, much to his surprise, that Malkovich lived at the time in a Manhattan apartment located on the 7th 1/2 floor.

John Malkovich was approached about this film several times and loved the script, but he and his production crew felt that another actor would fit the role better. Malkovich offered to help produce the film, and aid Spike Jonze in any way, but refused to star in it. Eventually after a couple of years Malkovich's will was worn down and he agreed to star in the film.

The scene when a can is thrown at John Malkovich's head is real. John Malkovich has described how Spike Jonze wanted to cut it due to running late that night expecting that no one would be able to hit him on the head with a half-full can of beer from a passing car, when about 70 or 80 sets of hands shot up on the crew saying that they would like to try. Eventually the task fell to John Cusack's writing partner and he nailed it on the first try.

Director Spike Jonze claimed in an interview that when he was shopping the screenplay around Hollywood, at least one unspecified producer asked if he could possibly rewrite the film as "Being Tom Cruise".

Willie Garson (Guy in Restaurant) improvised the scene where he encounters John Malkovich and says, "You were really great in that movie where you play that retard." According to Garson, director Spike Jonze had instructed Garson to use the word "retard" as many times as he could.

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 a 2009 Hanes commercial, Charlie Sheen is driving a car with the license plate "MASHEEN". This is reference to the scene in which Malkovich and Charlie Sheen trade affectionate nicknames: Malkovich: "Ma-sheen!"; Charlie: "Malkatraz!"

Steve Oedekerk was sent an early draft of the script in 1989, and upon reading it, immediately arranged a meeting with Charlie Kaufman. Oedekerk told him he thought it was the most brilliant script he'd ever read, but also that he was certain it could never be made.

The original script has Kevin Bacon in place of Charlie Sheen, as Malkovich's actor friend.

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 - at the 7 1/2-minute point of the film.