Cameron Diaz Source

Being John Malkovich

Craig Schwartz is nearing the end of his string. A gifted street puppeteer, Craig nonetheless is coming up empty-cupped: New York City has little use, or tolerance, for his special talents. His ten-year marriage to Lotte, a workaholic pet store employee who literally brings her work home with her, has become habitual at best. They have no money, no passion, no escape.

With no other prospects, the nimble-fingered Craig takes a job as an entry-level filing clerk at LesterCorp., a “small” company located on the 7 1/2th floor of Manhattan’s Mertin-Flemmer office building. At his orientation, he meets the beautiful Maxine, and, for Craig, it’s obsession at first sight. To him, Maxine is an object just waiting to be affected, a woman just waiting to get loved. To Maxine, however, Craig is a no go.

Dejected and rejected, Craig retreats into his office to file. In a moment of exasperation, he slams the drawer, causing a folder to fall behind the cabinet. Upon moving the cabinet, a small boarded-up door is revealed. Prying open the door, Craig uncovers a passageway. Cautiously, he climbs in — and is suddenly sucked through a dark, wet tunnel. There is a flash of bright light, and then, all at once, Craig realizes that he has discovered a portal that is an all-access pass to the unique experience that is John Malkovich! He is being John Malkovich…and this is just the beginning.

Director: Spike Jonze
Writers: Charlie Kaufman
Producers: Steve Golin, Vincent Landay, Sandy Stern, Michael Stipe

Cast: Cameron Diaz (Lotte Schwartz), John Cusack (Craig Schwartz), Catherine Keener (Maxine Lund), John Malkovich (John Horatio Malkovich), Orson Bean (Dr. Lester), Mary Kay Place (Floris), Ned Bellamy (Derek Mantini). Click here for full cast & crew
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Fantasy Budget: $13 million
Runtime: 113 minutes Box office (worldwide): $22,863,596
MPAA rating: Rated R for language, sex, and some violence.
Filming dates:
Filming locations: Los Angeles, California/Jersey City, New Jersey
World premiere: 2 September, 1999 (Venice Film Festival)
US release: 29 October, 1999 (limited)

Related Photos

More photos at our Being John Malkovich gallery!

Movie Trivia

  • Spike Jonze, Catherine Keener and Charlie Kaufman were each nominated for an Academy Award. The movie itself, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and Charlie Kaufman all recieved a Golden Globe-nomination as well.
  • 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.
  • John Malkovich’s real middle name is Gavin – in the movie, his character’s middle name is Horatio.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Writer / 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”.

Movie Quotes

Lotte Schwartz: I think it’s kinda sexy that John Malkovich has a portal, y’know, sort of like, it’s like, like he has a vagina. It’s sort of vaginal, y’know, like he has a, he has a penis AND a vagina. I mean, it’s sort of like… Malkovich’s… feminine side. I like that.

Lotte Schwartz: Don’t stand in the way of my actualization as a man.

Craig Schwartz: You were him, weren’t you?
Lotte Schwartz: Yeah.
Craig Schwartz: And he was with her!
Lotte Schwartz: We love her, Craig.
Craig Schwartz: We?
Lotte Schwartz: John and me.

Lotte Schwartz: Suck my dick!

Cast and Crew Quotes

“It’s been said that in Hollywood there are only 14 different scripts. Well, this is number 15.” (Cameron Diaz on the movie’s script)

“I was laughing within the first three pages.. by the tenth page, I wondered, ‘What is going to happen? This is so bizarre!'” (Cameron Diaz on when she first read the script)

“I had heard all these things about Spike, how cool and talented he was. Then I met him, and he wasn’t anything like I thought he would be. I walked into the Pacific Dining Car, a few minutes late for our meeting, and was escorted to the table. There was Spike, in one of those big, high-backed chairs, nodding off. All I could think was, ‘Gosh, who is this guy?’ Then I realized he looked like Robert De Niro. That’s another of his hidden talents, one of his endearing qualities: he can look like anybody. Sometimes he can look like Matthew McConaughey, and, every once in a while, he looks like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That really impressed me.” (Cameron Diaz on first meeting director Spike Jonze)

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