First Draft: 15 Outside-the-Box Screenplays That Found Box Office Success

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1. Adaptation

Written By Charlie Kaufman

A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Why It’s Innovative: You can’t have a list of “innovative screenplays” without having Charlie Kaufman’s scripts appear on the list at least three times. He was hired to write a straight-up adaptation of The Orchid Thief. Amidst his insecurities and frustrations, he actually wrote himself into the screenplay. Within the script, his character says, “I don’t want to cram in sex or guns or car chases, you know… or characters, you know, learning profound life lessons or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end, you know.” The script ends up offering all of those things and more. Brilliantly innovative.

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