This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker. Tony clears his throat into the radio. whispers into his C. his lips. Mosquitoes land on his neck. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford. Indians do not go on swamp walks. skinny as a stick.MID-MORNING Tony. a ranger. No response. pale-eyed. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat. TONY Barry. delicate and blond. He pulls over down the road. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty.pg. his nose.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. 7 INT. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board. in the swamp. Nothing. It's Susan Orlean: pale.O. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. and come to rest on a woman typing. . It was after reading a small article about a white man and three Seminole men arrested with rare orchids they'd stolen out of a place called. Tony glowers. 8 INT. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. Nothing. Tony waits for a response.S. TONY We got Seminoles. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.B. He straightens his cap. they are in there for a reason.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. Indians in the swamp. watches the vehicles through binoculars. ORLEAN (V. If there are Indians in the swamp. gets out of the truck.. OFFICE . RANGER'S TRUCK . He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead..
Uncomfortable silence. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. L. He blanches. her hair.. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. I appreciate that. She thinks I'm old. She looks at her salad. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. her breasts. We are. KAUFMAN That's. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. sits with Valerie. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. She looks up at him. Boy. 4 9 INT. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. That's nice to hear. it's no fun.MIDDAY Kaufman. Valerie watches it.. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. (CONTINUED) .A. wow. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. Kaufman sees her watching it. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. He quickly swabs. She sees him seeing her watching it. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . thanks. They pick at salads. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it.pg. She thinks I'm fat. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. They are. Thank you. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. looks down. KAUFMAN Oh. it is. She -VALERIE We think you're great.
what you're saying.pg. I'd want to remain true to that. and also not force it into a typical movie form. Plus her musings on Florida. let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. sprawling New Yorker stuff. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means.. isn't he? Kaufman nods. Like. That sounds interesting. I like to let my work evolve.. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. His brow is dripping again.. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. I'm intrigued. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. KAUFMAN First. KAUFMAN Absolutely. stalling. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. I think it's a great book. I mean. VALERIE Oh. flips through the book. pretends not to notice. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character... (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . So. VALERIE Okay. an orchid heist movie or something. too. Great. great. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. orchid poaching. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just.. Well. KAUFMAN Oh. Indians. great. In one motion. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of.
unpack boxes.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. Valerie is quiet.pg. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. I don't want to cram in sex. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. It wouldn't happen. but we can't make out the words. I mean. Y'know? The book isn't like that. Margaret. a soulful development executive. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. Audubon posters. lots of books. CALIFORNIA. OFFICE .. Definitely. or guns. It just isn't. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. Kaufman appears in the open doorway. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. KAUFMAN Knock knock. fake. but to me -.. Margaret turns. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Life isn't like that. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. Or characters learning profound life lessons. it didn't happen. 10 INT.DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD. I feel very strongly about this. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. or car chases.
Margie! MARGARET Well. Mostly crap. such an awful picture. just wanted to say hello. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. KAUFMAN (smiles. God. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. at the closeness. congratulate you on the promotion. MARGARET Anyway. covers by talking. Kaufman laughs. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. So what's with you? man.. KAUFMAN You looked great. thanks. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. It's all so stupid. There's one you might like. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. Come in.. about flowers. with Robert? Oooh. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. Very very cool. MARGARET Oh. Take a load off. Kaufman enters. nods) So. Margaret sits down next to him. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . Pretty fancy office.pg. KAUFMAN It's great. sits on the couch.
I dunno. Robert. (looking up. MARGARET I don't care. Jesus.. . Thanks. yelling) I don't care. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. MARGARET You should definitely do it. Cool. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. MARGARET Susan Orlean. About orchids. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. (hangs up.pg. he's scored. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. MARGARET I'll read it. somebody needs to save us all. And it sounds exciting. man. it would be you. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. (presses button on phone) Andy.. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. sex and drug deals and violence. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. You're all the recommendation I need. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret.
Soon there are millions of them. That I can't speak to. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. Although. closer. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. begins sawing through the tree. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. 13 (CONTINUED) . dirty. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. 13 INT. RESTAURANT . LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. closer.pg. Russell. The Indians ignore him. you can teach me. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff. Russell pulls out a hacksaw. miserable. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. He points out a turtle on a rock. His eyes widen in reverent awe. 11 EXT. Then. He stops. They trudge. A ghost. tenderly caresses the petals. Laroche spots something else. 12 EXT. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water.MORNING Hot. maybe you fellas specifically. Laroche stares at a single beautiful. until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. MURKY POOL OF WATER . business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. SWAMP . KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. circles the tree.
BOY Any animal at all. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. girl's hair as she talks to the boy.. He turns to his frumpy mother. But I'm ready to challenge myself. ma? She nods sweetly. anemic-looking little girl. studying the inhabitants. As Blake said. The boy returns to his search. My stuff tends to be weird. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI.pg. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. who is sitting with a frail. show people heaven in a wildflower. KAUFMAN Thanks. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. listless. KAUFMAN Yeah. BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. PET STORE (1972) . 14 INT. It's like. This one.plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . That's nice to hear. I don't want to get by on quirkiness. I want to think differently. at a small turtle in an aquarium.. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .
The book is just amazing. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. KAUFMAN God. I think David. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . thrilled. Randy. All I do is tell him how great you are. too. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. SWAMP .MORNING As Laroche supervises. He probably hates you already. I'm just so pleased you liked it. this guy I'm seeing. clicks glasses. 16 INT. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. (CONTINUED) * * * . They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. Russell. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. Kaufman. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. of course.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. He's a naturalist. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. Margaret raises a glass. (He takes a breath) Hey. Sure. man.pg. would enjoy it.
.. in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. He can no longer look up at Margaret. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good. I mean. long time ago. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct. 16 Oh. You've read that. The entrees arrive. Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. right? KAUFMAN Um. KAUFMAN He sounds great.... A bit. (to Kaufman) . MARGARET So I was lying there. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know. anyway. MARGARET Well.. Uh-huh. MARGARET You'll like him.. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business. (to waiter) Thanks. MARGARET (cont'd) .. KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . so... He's just honest and smart. Y'know. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true... David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. I'm sure you know. okay.. kind of post-coital dreamy.pg. a long time ago.
Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. the body language. TROPICAL RIVER . the way she looks at him. The radio crackles. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm.. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 . 21 EXT..) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. he studies their interaction. who haul the pillowcases. OCEAN . recoil.DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. 20 INT. building upon itself. nature. As she rings him up. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . Her eyes. Tony tenses. 18 INT. 17 EXT. ORLEAN (V. So whereas human history spirals forward. 19 EXT. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. BARNES AND NOBLE .NIGHT Orlean types. but rather cyclically.MORNING Tony waits. her lips. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over..DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . carries them to the register. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover. and hover. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. She pulls down her sleeve.O.pg. With every fiber of his being. sweaty and mosquito bitten.. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . that nature doesn't exist historically. she expresses no interest in him. small blind jellyfish collide. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio.DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH.
.) (cont'd) . ORLEAN (V.O. 22 EXT. ORLEAN (V.DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff. you absolutely may. ORLEAN (V. steals his boat. The murderer sails down river. docks his boat. Laroche smiles warmly. 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. 25 EXT.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. clutching a flower.) (cont'd) Laroche loved orchids but I came to believe he loved the difficulty and fatality of getting them almost as much as he loved the orchids themselves. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river. ORLEAN (V. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. CLIFF .. 23 24 OMITTED EXT. pleurisy. sir. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . RIVER .pg..O. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes. and dysentery.) Schroeder fell to his death. stabs him. ORLEAN (V. limping.O. Someone steps from behind a bush.) Augustus Margary survived toothache.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck.O. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo..DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated.O. (CONTINUED) . rheumatism.
Well. Billie. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians... (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. Did I mention that? You're familiar. Tony nods. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. that's exactly the issue. James E. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. nine orchid varieties. one peperomia. what. even though he has no idea. Okay then! Let's see. LAROCHE Oh. Every one of them.pg. one of. sir. This is a state preserve. TONY You're aware that it's illegal to remove plants or animals from state owned land? LAROCHE And don't forget these plants are all endangered. TONY Exactly. TONY Okay. I'm asking then. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. (afterthought) Oh. it is. I'm sure. LAROCHE Yes. Florida v. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. They give it. sir. with the State of 25 Tony's confused.
Barry. Chickee huts. but I don't. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot.. Yeah.. Yeah. At the same time. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation. That's exactly what we use them for..pg. Tony looks at the Indians.. I believe. which. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V.O. the wilderness disappears before your eyes.O.) (cont'd) .. they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. (into radio) Hey. Orlean drives past endless swampland. RENTAL CAR . RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah.. Just hold on while I. everything is always growing or expanding. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT. I can't let you fellas go yet. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks. RUSSELL He's right.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. * 26 * .O.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. Yeah... 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds. ORLEAN (V.
30 INT. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. the plants grow. continues down the hall." The girls giggle. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. EMPTY HOUSE . KAUFMAN (V. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. DONALD (cont'd) Hey.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. and climbs the stairs. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. In a time lapse sequence. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence. die.pg. regards himself glumly. his identical twin brother. then starts to weep inconsolably.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed. KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. Two teenage girls walk by. * (CONTINUED) . Orlean finishes organizing her stuff. RIVER'S EDGE . Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. whither. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE .) I am fat. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald.O. 17 27 INT. 29 EXT. I am repulsive.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. HOTEL ROOM . Charles. my own reflection. you'll be glad. 28 EXT. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely.
Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. I forgot.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan. Charles. don't say "industry. clipped from a trade paper. EMPTY BEDROOM . (CONTINUED) * . DONALD (O. I'll pay you back. paper back under his pillow. enters his bedroom.S. DONALD Yeah. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry.) In theory I agree with you. buddy. People come from all over to study his method. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. KAUFMAN Donald. from under his pillow.S." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. this guy knows screenwriting. okay.pg. But I'm doing it right this time. He gets lost in the picture. DONALD (cont'd) Okay. DONALD (O. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll.
Donald. and has through all remembered time. not building a model airplane.. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . and anybody who says there are. Sorry. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. Okay. I apologize. KAUFMAN Look. is just -DONALD Not rules. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. (lies down. okay. Getting no response. Kaufman waits.pg. I never saw it. Donald stares at the ceiling. it's about flowers. And a writer should always have that goal. fuming. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. go ahead. principle says. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. There was a book -DONALD Oh. Writing is a journey into the unknown. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. this works. there're no guidelines. principles. There's definitely a flower in that. Sorry.. my point is. Hey. Go. So. keep going. McKee writes: "A rule says. Okay. you must do it this way. And it's not a movie. stares at ceiling) Okay." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting.
DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. puffs out her cheeks. uniformed people. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls. bored and smoking.. A guy sprinkles water on them.pg.) (CONT'D) Each being is.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. a conditional and conditioning.. LIBRARY . They seem to be enjoying Donald. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth. He says good-bye and walks happily away.. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 . The Indians lean against their car. LAROCHE .. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. is . Are you a former Fulbright scholar. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry. 32 INT. my friend.. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window.LATE MORNING Ranger. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar. SWAMP .. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch. The pillowcases have been emptied. Kaufman's head is spinning. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V. sheriff. 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. He puts the book down.O. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. because posited. and what we have here. 32A INT. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. GIRL Bye. an opposited. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers... Lots of sweating.
21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. I do. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. Two Catopsi Floribunda. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii.pg. 35A INT. KAUFMAN Yeah. Laroche. A very good haul. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay. Bug spray. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. let's see. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. you really know your plants. LAROCHE Yeah. So.S. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. the ghost orchid. I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. KAUFMAN Hi. (CONTINUED) . EMPTY KITCHEN . except in your swamp. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. What I really came for. KAUFMAN I can do that. y'know.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. Tem-pen-sis. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. Mr. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful. I'm one of the world's foremost experts.
buzzing. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. Okay.pg. Donald lies on the floor. thighhigh water. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . looks over at Donald. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. So a strong boot. gray could. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee.. ancient family of perennial plants with. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. Long sleeves.) The most memorable. And the water's black. Kaufman. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. With Deet. something they won't easily bite through. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. Donald. You'll be trudging through acidic. DONALD (V. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. so you won't be able to see the snakes. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. EMPTY DINING ROOM . heavy pants. Heavy.O.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room.. Mosquito netting. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. bored.
. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V. and.O. ORLEAN (V. Anyway. They go back to their books. I'm really gonna write this. 37 INT. Anyway. Rather than hopscotching through time..) Do not proliferate characters. Well. telling of my story to her.pg.O.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. Charles. I hear she's really good with structure. DONALD (V.. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world. past prefab housing...." KAUFMAN Hey. ancient family of perennial plants with. do not multiply locations. he's Charlie's twin.. 37 * * * * * .. mom's paying for the seminar." DONALD Sorry. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29... RENTAL CAR . 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. maybe you and mom could collaborate. And. And you'll see.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation.O. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah. DONALD You think you're so superior. she loved my. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch.) The Orchidaceae is a large. space. and people. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way. okay? The two glare at each other. you suck.
I'm a published author. Orlean hurries in.O. the tribe's lawyer. Mr. questions him.pg. I have extensive experience with orchids. thinks. . KAUFMAN (V. is on the stand. (stops. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. 39 INT. This is John Laroche. both in magazine and book form. This is laboratory work. Alan Lerner. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. Laroche. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. Thank you.) We open on State Road 29.DAY The proceedings are in progress. I'm a professional plant lecturer. COURT ROOM . in a Miami Hurricanes cap. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay. and a Hawaiian shirt. He turns to his typewriter. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. not at all like your nursery work. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style. (stops. 24 38 INT. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. EMPTY BEDROOM . and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. sits in the back. Laroche. LERNER Finally. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. types) A white van appears from around a curve.
So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. like. Even though he's never even met her. there's this serial killer. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. 41 DONALD Look.NIGHT Kaufman. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. She catches him and smiles with red. you wanna hear my pitch. pierced lips. looks up at the closed door. sits up. stares at the ceiling. Kaufman squints at his brother. And he's taunting the cop. (flicks on light. in bed masturbating. What?! The door opens. KAUFMAN God damn it. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. he's being hunted by a cop. She becomes. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . 25 40 INT. the unattainable. man. wait.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. EMPTY BEDROOM . wet. like the Holy Grail. then in pitch mode:) Okay. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. and in the process he falls in love with her. thanks a lot. See. 41 INT. Cool. lies down.pg. waits. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. DONALD (CONT'D) No. DONALD (lost) Y'know. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. I'm just trying to do something. right -Kaufman groans. or what? Go away. BARNES AND NOBLE . He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows.
Donald waits blankly. KAUFMAN The other thing is. What exactly would the.. Kaufman dresses and exits. but there's a twist. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. Kaufman gives up. DONALD (calling after) Cool. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder. I dunno.) That's not how it's pronounced. until the third act denouement. Dressed to Kill. (CONTINUED) * . 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay.S. what I'm asking is. KAUFMAN (O. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. Very taut. gets out of bed. right?. there's no way to write this. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut. I really liked Dressed to Kill.pg.. if there's only one character. See. Listen closely. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. Okay? How could you. how could you have someone held prisoner in a basement and working in a police station at the same time? DONALD Trick photography? KAUFMAN Okay.... that's not what I'm asking.. Did you consider that? I mean.. in the reality of this movie. proud.... he's really also the cop and the girl. is multiple personality. Sybil meets. Okay? See..
Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. LERNER Buster. I handled it. Laroche scowls. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . smokes furiously. for crying out loud. yes. Vinson. Vinson shrugs. Lerner walks off. apologetic for the intrusion. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. follows Buster. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. 42 * 41 Oh. stubs his cigarette. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. The New Yorker. They're all smoking intently. Laroche cracks his neck.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. we'll deal with all this at trial. walks away. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. COURTHOUSE . ORLEAN Mr. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. and Buster Baxley. Orlean tries some more. Right? ORLEAN Right.pg. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. EXT. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. Laroche? Orlean smiles. I swear to God. 42 Okay. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. the New Yorker.
42 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I'm right, and I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court. That judge can screw herself. Orlean scribbles on her pad. Laroche twists his head to see that she's writing "Judge can screw herself." LAROCHE (cont'd) That for real would go in? ORLEAN Absolutely. Laroche smiles his toothless smile at Orlean. LAROCHE I'll have to speak to my advisors. 43 EXT. FIELD - MORNING MUSIC: lush, profound orchestral piece. A glorious orange, large-petalled orchid blooms in dramatic time-lapse. We slowly, lovingly circle the flower. SENSUOUS FEMALE NARRATOR The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient family of perennial plants with one fertile stamen and a three petalled flower. In most orchid species, one petal is enlarged into a lip and is the most conspicuous part of the flower. 44 INT. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN - DAY Kaufman, in a booth, reads The Orchid Thief, takes notes. KAUFMAN (V.O.) The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient... He's bored, looks up, watches a waitress with glorious, orange hair, pouty lips, soulful eyes, and a voluptuous form, turning slowly around, scanning her station. She sees Kaufman, approaches, and smiles warmly down at him. Her badge reads: Alice, Arcadia, CA. Kaufman sweats. ALICE So what looks good today? KAUFMAN Um, hi. The key lime pie, please. A small slice. I'm watching my... And a coffee, please. Skim milk. Please. (CONTINUED) * 44 * 43 * * * * * 42
44 CONTINUED: ALICE (sees book) Orchids! I absolutely love orchids. Kaufman goes blank. Cool! KAUFMAN A small awkward pause. * 44
He flinches at his lameness.
ALICE So, I'll be right back with your pie. She smiles warmly again and leaves. 45 EXT. ORCHID SHOW - DAY Alice, in her CPK uniform, and Kaufman walk hand-in-hand, inspecting sexy orchids together. She smiles warmly at him. ALICE I think these flowers are so sexy. Alice stands very close to Kaufman. Her bare arm touches his. Kaufman looks at the touching arms. Alice continues to study the flower but intertwines her fingers in Kaufman's. ALICE (cont'd) Let's see what's around back. She leads Kaufman behind the display to a quiet, wooded area. She unbuttons her uniform. It falls to the ground, leaving her naked, dappled in sunlight, her beautiful red hair glowing. Kaufman drops to his knees in front of her and kisses her thighs, caresses her ass. Alice glides Kaufman's head to her crotch. 46 INT. EMPTY ROOM - NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. 47 INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON, OHIO, FORTY-THREE YEARS EARLIER He lies lonely in the dark. 47 * 46 * * Kaufman is humiliated. 45
* * * *
It's dark. A lonely, little girl in a nightgown lies on her bed, holds a flashlight in one hand and writes in her diary with the other.
47 CONTINUED: LITTLE GIRL (V.O.) Today I played with Mary. We had fun. We played Mommy and Daddy. I got to be the Mommy. It was very fun. Footsteps in the hall. The little girl flicks off the flashlight, closes her eyes. The door opens. A middle-aged woman walks in, bumps tipsily into the dresser, sits on the edge of the bed, looks at her daughter and cries quietly. 48 EXT. HOTEL PARKING LOT - MORNING Orlean leans against a car and smokes. A tiny, lost figure. There's a honk. Orlean snaps out of her reverie to see Laroche screeching to a stop in his banged-up van. ORLEAN (V.O.) A few days after the hearing, Laroche took me to an orchid show in Miami. She opens the passenger door. Hi. ORLEAN (cont'd) Thanks for picking -48 47
* * * * *
LAROCHE I want you to know this van is a piece of shit. When I hit the jackpot, I'll buy myself an awesome car. What are you driving? An Aurora. Awesome. ORLEAN It's my father's. He lives --
LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.
Orlean nods, climbs in, and tries to rearrange some of the junk on the front seat so she'll have a place to sit. LAROCHE (cont'd) Sit on top of that. You won't hurt it. She situates herself on the edge of the seat, rests her feet on an open bag of potting soil. Laroche lurches off. 49 INT. VAN - DAY Laroche drives manically. Orlean watches the road and holds one hand against the dashboard. 49 *
yeah. And that's the ghost. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. sell 'em. Orlean smiles back. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. I researched it. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. posture of al dente spaghetti. She's writing: "skinny as a stick. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. As long as I don't touch the plants. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change. LAROCHE The plan was. that he might want to watch the road. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab.pg. Laroche clams up." Laroche looks over and smiles. steers with knees as he lights another. with a small jerk of the head. pulls out a notebook." * (CONTINUED) . Orlean tries to figure a way in. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. He doesn't take the hint. Orlean writes. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette." Uh-huh. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. Florida can't touch us. Uh-huh. Collectors covet what is not available.
49 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE (cont'd) And I stop future poaching by making the flowers readily available in stores. Then I give a big speech at the trial about how the legislature should get rid of loopholes smart people like me can find. I'm a hero. The flowers are saved. Laroche and nature win. Orlean writes: "guy is priceless." LAROCHE (cont'd) Did you get that last part? ORLEAN Yes, of course. 50-52 OMITTED 52A INT. 7 1/2 FLOOR SET - MORNING 50-52 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They nod * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) 49
The set from Being John Malkovich. Crew people bustle about, bending down as they enter the squat set. No one pays any attention to Kaufman, who stands by himself to the side. Donald is at the craft service table, picking at food. Caroline, a pretty, young make-up woman, stops by the table. Kaufman watches nervously as Donald eyes her. Finally Donald says something to her. She looks over, says something back. It's too far away to hear the conversation. Donald says something else and Caroline laughs. The conversation warms up. Kaufman can't believe his eyes. The assistant director appears in the hall. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Scene 23 up next! All keys to set! Catherine Keener and John Cusack pass Kaufman. perfunctorily. Hey. KAUFMAN
Cusack enters the hallway set. I'm fat. KAUFMAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) I'm old --
Keener sees Caroline, who's still chatting with Donald. KEENER (playfully) Caroline, c'mon, jeez. movie here. Let's go!
We're shooting a Let's go!
52A CONTINUED: Kenner grabs Caroline pulls her down the hall. CAROLINE (laughing) You're insane, Keener! Kaufman watches. 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD
KAUFMAN Please don't hit on crew members, Donald. DONALD No, Caroline's a really nice girl. KAUFMAN Just don't embarrass me. Okay? to work with these people. I have
DONALD I won't. Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don't worry! For my script! Ha ha! KAUFMAN I really don't write that kind of stuff. DONALD Oh, man, please. You're the genius. Kaufman stares at Donald, rubs his eyes, sighs. KAUFMAN Here you go. The killer's a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks of his victims' bodies until they die. He calls him "The Deconstructionist." DONALD That's kinda good. I like that.
KAUFMAN See, I was kidding, Donald. DONALD Oh, okay. Sorry. You got me! Ha-ha. Do you mind if I use it, though?
INT. BOY'S BEDROOM (1972) - NIGHT There are now many turtles in aquariums. Many turtle books and posters. The boy, in a turtle T-shirt, looks out the window into the darkness. His eyes are troubled. MOTHER (O.S.) (praying softly) For certain is death for the born/And certain is birth for the dead
INT. LIVING ROOM (1972) - CONTINUOUS The boy comes downstairs. His father, in a backbrace, watches TV; his sister lies on the couch, semi-conscious, more pale than before. His mother pats the girl's head with a damp cloth. There's a little Hindu altar with candles. MOTHER Therefore over the inevitable/Thou shouldst not grieve. (beat) Sweet, sweet Diane. The boy surveys the sad scene. His mother looks up, smiles.
MOTHER (CONT'D) A slice of pie for my turtle expert? The boy beams with pride, then gets solemn. BOY Mom, there's something I feel I have to do. I don't know how to do this, but I feel in my stomach that I have to. MOTHER What do you have to do, honey? BOY Collect one of every turtle in the world. (beat) It's a long list, ma. Cuora galbinifrons, Graptemys versa, Callagur borneoensis, all the Galapagos species, people think there's only one, but that's not true. Cycloderma frenatum, Cuora pani... (sighs) I don't think my life is worth living if I can't do this. The boy and his mother look at each other. (CONTINUED)
baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. The tape recorder is on between them. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. her sad eyes wet and glistening. we'd better get started. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. Collected the shit out of 'em. She underlines it. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. Perhaps you read about us.DAY Laroche drives. I lost interest right after that. Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere.pg. Orlean studies him for a moment. * * * ORLEAN I guess I'd like to know how you can just detach from something when you've invested so much of your soul -LAROCHE Ditched fossils for resilvering old mirrors. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well.. They drive in silence.. that's some story. ORLEAN So. solemnly nodding his head. 55 INT. huh. ORLEAN Wow. VAN . Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. Oh. Orlean watches a flying heron.
THERAPIST'S OFFICE . You name it. not a lot a lot. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean.pg. fuck fish. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. * * (CONTINUED) . I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. that's how much fuck fish. Different woman. Then one day I say. Holacanthus ciliaris. profoundly in love with tropical fish. Chaetodon capistratus. THERAPIST Uh-huh.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. Kaufman nods. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. I once fell deeply. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. The new girl I'm obsessed with. 56 57 OMITTED INT. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. THERAPIST Red hair. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. (beat) No. I renounce fish. Anisotremus virginicus.
Orlean approaches. He gently reaches out and touches it. Oy.. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to. Hi.. A few Indians are hauling plants. He's handsome. SEMINOLE NURSERY .pg.. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. VINSON I can see your sadness. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her.. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. His eyes are gentle... 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT..DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. VINSON John's not here today. I'm using a new conditioner and.. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi.. Oh. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. ORLEAN Susan Orlean. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. so.. Anyway. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair. Hi. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche.. His longblack hair is braided.. Thank you. Yes. is how I know. She's taken. right? I saw you at the courthouse. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. ORLEAN Oh. heart holds yours. My * * * * * * . I washed it this morning.
yeah. grows right on a tree branch. He tenses as she comes up to him. I'm just a sweetie. watching Alice. It's not personal. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. completely present. hair combed. He touches her hand and heads back to work. ain't I. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. muscles straining against his shirt. It's the Indian way.pg. Preferred customer. reading about orchids. He's so in love. That sounds great. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN .DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. She winks at him. ALICE Well. She just stands there. She smiles warmly. in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. sits nervously in a booth. 58 INT. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. It cuts right through her. She watches him haul potted plants. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. I am. immersed in the activity. Still * Thank you. KAUFMAN Yes. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . Just like that. Vinson smiles. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. I hope.
58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. Awkward pause. well -I'm sorry.pg. (CONTINUED) . that's a lot. Alice turns back. anyway. KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world.. Epiphytes grow on trees. huh? Yeah. ALICE Oh. um. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. so. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. I was also wondering. Her warmth dissipates. ALICE Wow. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. She smiles and turns to leave. KAUFMAN I apologize. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. I'm impressed. KAUFMAN That's great. He beams. I'm just learning.. I'm sorry. ALICE Well. still smiling. but they're not parasites.
Fuck the pie. obligingly eats.. some in subtle clothing.O.. all glowing. He nods. KAUFMAN (V. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) . One species looks like a German shepherd.) (cont'd) .O. who pay him no mind.) I am fat. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. colors.. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then. He is sick with adoration for the women. like a school teacher. at her desk. ORLEAN (V. 60 EXT. I have to get out of here right now. NEW YORKER . He forces himself to look. I am old.O..) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species. one looks like a gymnast. one looks like an octopus. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen.) . 59 INT.. copies something from her notebook onto the computer. One looks.O. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. One has eyes that dance.pg. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . The other waitress brings his pie. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. some in garish clothing. He tries to study the flowers. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. The other waitress looks over at him. He sweats.MORNING Orlean..DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts.. one looks like an onion.. personalities. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. They are dull. One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin.
a shared look. He quickly shifts back to her face. 63 INT. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. war. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. smiling at customers. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. * 63 * * * . commerce. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. I don't need to know what their jobs is. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. admiring a view. religion. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. eating meat. We see old age and birth. He does it fast and unintentionally. I don't need to know them at all. A million women walking down the street. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. We see murder and procreation. an arm slipped through an arm. We see the history of architecture. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see Alice serving food.pg. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. The entire sequence takes two minutes. love them madly. Those love them.O. The way I like them.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist.
He finds The Portable Darwin. 66 . It's all I think about. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. Noisy chatter and calliope music.) Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin.NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. Uh-huh. plastic clowns. 66 INT. You'll see. EMPTY BEDROOM . and a booth that looks like a circus big top. 65 INT.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. into which life was first breathed. fish. BOOK-LINED STUDY . SHOW HALL . ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. Kaufman paces and reads.pg. LAROCHE Once you get the sickness.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers.O. Look at me. mirror resilvering. 42 64 INT. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. Hegel. DARWIN (V. fondles its petals. it takes over your life. etc. ORLEAN I don't know. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel.
This isn't a pissing contest. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal. like a lover. And this attraction.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along.O.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. MEADOW . Suddenly.proboscis means nose.NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. Crowds. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. All is silent. SHOW HALL . LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. Silence. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. The flower insists. KAUFMAN We start before life. sure enough. this passion. It finds an orchid which it resembles.O. Think about it. 43 67 INT.DAY Blasting music. is so much larger than either of them.. thinking. 67 * 68 68 EXT.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. EMPTY BEDROOM . Neither understands the significance of this interaction. LAROCHE (V. Everyone thought he was a loon. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 .and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means. But because of it. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. Then. 69 EXT.pg. the world lives.. LAROCHE (V. by the way -.
not too educated. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. You're supposed to. stare deep into nectaries.O. No front teeth. 70 INT.) (cont'd) The insect. (CONTINUED) . SHOW HALL . carries it off. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. One of those trailer guys. Right. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. HUSBAND He's a great character. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. Once you learn anything about orchids. FEMALE GUEST Oh. Orlean looks at Laroche.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. covered with pollen. buzzing around flowers. carry boxes of plants. She is detached here as well. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. Orlean nods.pg. covered in pollen. It's unexpected. that's a great detail. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT. flies away. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. You have to. jabber passionately. APARTMENT .orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that.
Orlean cries and types. Susie gets to do a natural history thing. 72 INT. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V.O. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM .. ORLEAN (V.EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk. NEW YORKER OFFICES . but it isn't part of my constitution.. who get obsessed with these.) . They smile at each other.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. He's a sweaty mess..O.pg. ORLEAN (V. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom. but his voice goes under. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking.O.. As the words appear on her screen. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking. ORLEAN (V.. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen.O. 74 INT.) What is it about people who collect. we hear them in voice-over..S. which she loves. 73 INT. BATHROOM . but there's a terrible distance between them.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) . HUSBAND (O.
lust. Donald waits for a response. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . Then. See. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. hunting. after the history of life on the planet. war. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. Charles. heaving with excitement. No response from Kaufman. so we must find our originality within that genre. It breaks every rule. Yearning. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. And the movie begins. All is silent. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in." As he listens. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. evolved. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . This is amazing! The taped voice continues. then. religion. He rewinds the recorder. presses "play. This has never been attempted in a movie before. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. just like you! But he says. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. into the night. in the last seconds of the montage.pg. we have to realize we all write in a genre. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. farming. too.. You'd love him. He's all for originality. adapted. Kaufman stares despondently out the window..
We opened a nursery.) People started coming out of the woodwork. LAROCHE (V. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. to admire me. Through an open door. browse. LAROCHE (V. Laura was such a class act. to ask me stuff. to admire my plants. NURSERY . what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. Say. too. John. CUSTOMER #1 John. stare into space. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . She was beautiful.O.O. From Peru. then types. ORLEAN'S STUDY .) I got married. my wife. One guy pulls Laroche aside. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. 47 76 INT.pg.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. sits sadly for a moment. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John.
89 INT. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. Kaufman looks at Marty. I should've just stuck with my own stuff. his full head of hair. For a person. VAN . Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. AGENT'S OFFICE . it's easier for plants. (CONTINUED) . She waves back. Orlean looks out at the dark night. they have no memory. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. Marty smiles at him. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty.pg. People can't sometimes. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. ORLEAN Well. maybe I can help. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. Hey. 88 INT. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes.NIGHT Laroche drives. It's like running away. it's almost shameful to adapt. keeps walking. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. Orlean looks at him. They just move on to what's next. Adaptation is a profound process. After a long silence. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass.
The book's a jumping off point. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers. He's funny. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know. I can't structure this." Blah blah blah.. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass..pg. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. "No narrative really unites these passages.. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit. Anyway. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book. Oh man. It's someone else's material. Show people how amazing flowers are. MARTY Look. (uncertain) I think they are. MARTY Make one up. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. The book has no story." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. You're the king. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. I have a responsibility. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time.. do something profound and simple." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. I wanted to grow as a writer.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * .
89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER .) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. KAUFMAN (V.. After a few moments. at the end of the day. 89B EXT." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. He lies there. alone in bed. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience.pg. Reporters talk to video cameras. 89A INT. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. ejaculates.. EMPTY BEDROOM . three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. talks to reporters.DAY Kaufman. LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche. (CONTINUED) . I think it would be a terrible career move.O. He reads the page. COURTHOUSE . The judge is a moron. at his car. MARTY Charlie. Buster.DAY A crowd of people. smoking and ranting at Orlean.
Orlean. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. goddamned Indians. A park official is being interviewed. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. Nobody's allowed to take those. the trial. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. She sips iced tea.) Okay. Please don't put in I said. ORLEAN Hence the branches. flowers. especially Laroche. So that's what we got 'em on. He's funny. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. RESTAURANT . we open with Laroche.pg.O. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. Indians. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. 89C INT. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. he says. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. The rapid fire click-click of typing. It was all so maddening. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. They were nailed on a technicality. not even the goddamned Indians. KAUFMAN (V. who I found so maddening. I love to mutate plants. Okay. what with the protection the Native Americans have.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter.
into a place as dark and dense as steel wool..NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. ORLEAN Oh. Enthusiastic off-screen typing...NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches.pg. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .. reads. EMPTY BEDROOM .. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. ORLEAN Ah. he says. (CONTINUED) . dense. How about you? Nothing.. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp.O. Just thought I could get some more info. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. okay. I was mutated as baby. opens it. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. He picks up The Orchid Thief. ORLEAN (V. Okay we open at the beginning of time. that's why I'm so smart. 92 93 OMITTED INT. overabundant place might have hidden in it. I'm just hanging out. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT.that's funny. papers coffee cups.no. They had to confront what a dark. He peers through the darkness at the books. John.. we have the court case. We show Laroche.O. Orlean is silent for a moment. Okay.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. David's out of town. okay -91 INT. I don't mean to bother you. we show flowers. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.
A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . MOTHER Amen. Laroche pulls into traffic. 95 INT. (CONTINUED) 95 * . Buddha. And all the rest of 'em. his mother and uncle in back. This last year's been a dream. tell me. his wife in front. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . dad? His father doesn't respond. Praise Allah. Orlean starts to tear up. LAROCHE It was going well. 94 INT. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. but sometimes bad things happen.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. I'm telling you.pg. LAROCHE'S CAR . honey. and uncle out of the house. Laroche smiles back at his mother. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. his front teeth fly in all directions. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. His father watches TV.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. Darkness descends. then gets professional to cover. Uncle Jim. Vishnu. ORLEAN So. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. mother. We're finally pulling out of debt. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know.
LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. sits by his comatose wife. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. stares out at the street where the accident took place. too. Laroche. HOSPITAL ROOM .DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. She regains control and flips it down to talk. She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. CEMETERY . and the green pulp that was once plant life. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. wood. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could.DAY Laroche. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. jerking her forward and landing on top of her.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. No one can judge you if you almost died. 96 EXT. 97 INT. It's like a free pass. adding insult to injury. (CONTINUED) . Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. STREET .pg. 98B EXT. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. I think I'd leave my marriage. ORLEAN If I almost died. on the cordless phone. 98 EXT. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. in his mourning suit. 98A INT. And then. LAROCHE'S STOOP .
an expert. There's no story.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. Margaret. She runs over and hugs him. Oh. MARGARET (cont'd) So. MARGARET You hate me. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. I understand. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. I'm full of shit. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . MARGARET (beat) Well. I know.pg.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. sit. She's drunk. 98C INT. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. I wanted to do something amazing. You don't call me no more.) Everything. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. I took the job. 99 INT. how's the script. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. He tries to duck but she spots him. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types.O. beer in hand. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. Hey. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. sit. to get their nursery going. I was gonna give them something amazing. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. John. I can't figure out how to make it work. I don't know. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. PARTY HOUSE . (CONTINUED) .
KAUFMAN That'd be great. Oh. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. It is a challenging one. Marg. Hey. Cool. MARGARET Hey you... God bless you for trying. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. but. this is my friend David.. (to Kaufman) Charlie.. Man. Davey. wow. (CONTINUED) . Boy. A young man approaches. MARGARET No. Kaufman and David shake hands.pg. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. we should head. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. Hey. Charlie. I'll get Marg to send it to you. story. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. DAVID No? I was fascinated.
as dense as steel wool. Hey. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . I don't know if it'll kill me. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. dangerous. Susie-Q! LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * ORLEAN So I was thinking it'd be good for the article for me to go into the Fakahatchee to see a ghost. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. but.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase.pg. She kisses his ear. hey. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. I'd like you to take me. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . hand on Margaret's ass. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. sits there. Donald. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. 102 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. And you are amazing. I'm banned. Hey. man.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. 'Course. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. I'll have something honest to give the world. NEW YORKER OFFICE . Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. Goddamn crucified me. put that in the article! 101 INT." Orlean closes the book. but if it doesn't. You're the best. She dials the phone. Yeah. 100 INT.
God. AIRPLANE .) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand.O. SWAMP . ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles.O. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. counted fifty and stopped.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE." Donald looks up from his work. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . 104A EXT. Full of monstrous alligators. alligators. impracticable. 104B INT. 105 INT. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. DONALD Charles. AIRPLANE . I'm putting a song in. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension. ORLEAN (V. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. Hey. So. I'm so glad to be home.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief.pg. sweetie. STUDIO APARTMENT . try to think of a song about multiple personality. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh.
and exits the bathroom. AIRPLANE BATHROOM .) The swampy part of the Fakahatchee is hot and wet and buggy and full of cottonmouth snakes and diamond back rattlers and alligators and snapping turtles and poisonous plants and wild hogs and. pulls up his pants. 107 INT. She regards Kaufman blankly. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess... stands. AIRPLANE .CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. She sighs contentedly. which is completely dry.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. Five or six. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. adjusts himself. He tenses. He heads up the aisle. RENTAL CAR . The stewardess slips out of her blazer.O. SWAMP . then goes back to her conversation. Okay. ORLEAN (V. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. 106 INT. unbuttons her blouse. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . I've waited all day to feel you inside me.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. Five to six thousand years old. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. probably in the world. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing.pg. About that. Kaufman. He takes notes. One of the stewardesses laughs. takes his seat.
NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. KAUFMAN Um. And I had this thought. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. across the room reading a book. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. We've been going through a bit of a drought. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. holds a phone to her ear. nineteen to twenty. nineteen. There were snakes and alligators. 120 INT. It's about twenty miles long. and right here it's about five miles wide. it's twenty miles long. She glances at her husband. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger.O. or nineteen.NIGHT Orlean types. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. She sighs. 120 . MIKE OWEN Well. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. ORLEAN (V. four and a half. three to five miles wide.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. So.. HOTEL ROOM . ORLEAN (V. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. there's usually water. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp..pg. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. black water. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. It was sweltering. five.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. again. I called Laroche. Good for us today. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . continues typing.O.
61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT. ORLEAN Thanks very much. John's a character all right. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT..C.pg. And sad in a way. ORLEAN Yeah. (CONTINUED) . Really unique. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean. RESTAURANT . PLANE . 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ".) Beautifully written.clears throat) Jesus Christ.'" VALERIE (O. fleeting and out of reach. Thank you. He hi-lites the passage. is on the phone. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me. Thank you. He finds himself lost in it.. ORLEAN Well. 124 INT. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. thanks.O.. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved.. Laroche is such a fun character.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd. dirty from the swamp. * VALERIE We're big fans. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. KAUFMAN (V. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT Orlean. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me. VALERIE It's funny and fresh.) .
um. VAN . (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. ORLEAN More John. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay.pg. So I'll be doing that. more orchids. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. the nursery lot. These things mostly never get made. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. Orlean holds on. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. we'd really like to option this. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. (CONTINUED) . 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in .DAY 127 * * Laroche. but seems to be enjoying herself now. Orlean is charmed. Florida Seminole reservation. 127 INT.DAY 128 * * * EXT. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah.
He waits. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. yes! Yeah. Before Orlean can respond." That's a good title for the movie. Buster. looks at some papers on his desk. 129 INT. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. Now it's "Crazy White Man. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. Orlean moves the junk over. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. Back! (hangs up) Hey. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. John. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. TRAILER . BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. shares the seat with it. I'll study the shit out of acting.pg. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door. While you write. I'll take acting classes.
all they do is smoke weed all day. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. humiliated in front of her.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. Laroche looks back at Buster. sell 'em at a profit. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. we're not closing shop. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. I been meaning to talk to you about that. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. But I got it fixed. BUSTER John.. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . the guys on my crew here. Simple plant multiplication for the masses. Laroche stops short. VAN . LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. Buster. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. Buy little ones. what she can to make herself invisible. Her heart is breaking for him. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. turn 'em into big ones. Orlean holds on. It's fixed.pg. He glances over at Orlean. so all the dead shrubs. BUSTER Listen. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT.I got lot's of ideas. There are tears welling in her eyes.. The sprinklers were busted for a while. So if it's a question of productivity -. Buster stares back. No. I'm really excited about. BUSTER No kidding.
CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. The room looks sad. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. Orlean dials the phone.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. crazy white man. And I ain't going to quit. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. * . I'm pursuing other avenues. We don't see Laroche at all.) ORLEAN . Look. Susan who? LAROCHE (O. I'll sue. empty. LAROCHE (O. Don't just abandon me down here.. It rings for a long time.C. Oooh.C. If they fire me.. They can't fire me. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence. LAROCHE (O. There is nothing on the walls. it's Susan. I already did some legal research on this. and anonymous. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more.. Crazy. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John.) I'm no longer interested in orchids. PHONE BOOTH . 131 132 OMITTED INT. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.C.pg.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road..
how perfect. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. so present. ORLEAN Goddamnit. but it's a teenager's room now. a tampax box. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. Orlean stands there for a moment. visits nurseries. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. attends orchid shows. so beautiful. her journalist persona on. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT. lies on her bed and writes in her journal.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. infant eyes. 137A INT. At one point. On the dresser. (CONTINUED) . 66 134 INT.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. Then I cried. And I thought. on the floor are records and books. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. lonely and lost. She is bored and distracted. HOTEL ROOM . Susan. A blonde. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. Laroche hangs up. I couldn't stop. She flips through her address book. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. it's starting already. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. sits in lecture halls. TEENAGE GIRL (V. make-up. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. GIRL'S BEDROOM .) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. She is so pure. OHIO. There is no one to call. On the walls are posters of Dylan. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness.pg.O. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. PHONE BOOTH . a NOW button.
Work good? Good. Uh-huh. Hey. VINSON I don't know. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. There's Vinson's phone number. I was just fascinated with this story and.No.. hon. plays with her hair. ORLEAN Um. It must've been crazy! Boy. all the Native American aspects and. um. So. y'know. okay. She sips a glass of champagne. HOTEL BAR . ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi.. There's a silence. After a few moments. 137C INT. thanks for coming. y'know. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. eyes herself in the mirror. Let me call you in the morning. Vinson enters. Not really.. how. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. large the scope was and.LATER 137B Orlean. (CONTINUED) . The phone rings.pg. honey. Yeah.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. dolled-up. anxiously gets ready to go out.. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. She waves. Okay. After a long beat she dials the phone. HOTEL ROOM . This should be really helpful.. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. 137B INT. Yeah. what was it like for you. Um. He saunters over and sits.. ORLEAN Yeah. okay. I'll speak to you in the morning. her trembly fingers. VINSON Sure thing. it might be late. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. She picks up.
I apologize. Y'know. he seems bored and impatient. if -Ah. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. I just wanted to get some. typing furiously at his desk.. VINSON I drove an hour to get here.. ORLEAN (cont'd) . Gosh. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. here. look. fuck. Orlean just sits there.. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. No. I just -. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back. No. we can talk here. no. so I thought it would be helpful. DONALD How was Florida. for me. Um. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System.. Native American. ORLEAN Oh. um.. 138 139 OMITTED INT. EMPTY HOUSE . You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone.this seems fine. She finishes her drink. DONALD Hey. looks up. do you want to get laid or not. ORLEAN Oh. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. Orlean is at a loss. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there... (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen.pg.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. She's shaking. I think we can -.Did I -communicate something? No. um.. Donald. He barely looks at her.
EMPTY BEDROOM . slept in a week. Mixed genres. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. but Bob says Casablanca. his eyes darting back and forth. smiles. sweating. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. Kaufman disappears upstairs. Okay. It's 3:32. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult.pg. He looks over at the clock. one of the greatest screenplays ever written.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. 140 INT. 141 142 OMITTED INT. (types. it's just good writing technique." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. then:) Oh. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . I've posted one over both our work areas. They look at each other. did exactly that. (lies down on floor) Hey. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. Good night. Donald breaks the tension. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. Donald. EMPTY BEDROOM . I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. DONALD No. DONALD Cool. I got a song! "Happy Together.
It seems somehow sleepy now. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. She smiles at him throughout. The photo smiles warmly at him. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. too many directions to go. He stares at the photo. smiling author photo. Charlie. I'm losing my hair. making love. heaving. Whittle it down. So true. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag.pg. You're not. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. He's in love. It talks. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. Donald is no longer in the room. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. sad insights. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. (CONTINUED) . I can't sleep. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. too. He reads one.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. You've written a beautiful book. begins to jerk off. KAUFMAN (V. flips through it. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. Its smile broadens. melancholy face. Kaufman switches on a lamp. They finish. Kaufman closes his eyes. He looks at the still smiling photo. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. Focus on one thing in the story. Kaufman studies her delicate. Kaufman flips to the glowing. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed.O. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it.
. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy.pg.. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. this morning. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. fragile. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. KITCHEN . smiles..MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. CAROLINE Really. 143 INT. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. typing at her desk. haunted by loneliness. in his underwear. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. hey. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. beautiful. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. It's like a * CAROLINE God. Morning. Hey. I'm good. enters with Caroline. really good ones. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. sees Caroline with Donald. too. We hear her voice-over. delicate. skinny as a stick. The killer flees on horseback with the girl." Donald.
He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. EMPTY BEDROOM . Bergman's Persona. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband. She thinks. EMPTY BEDROOM . I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. who is this man? She thinks. distraught. right? DONALD Hey. women snicker. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. NOW button. KAUFMAN (nice) Well.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. it sounds exciting. DONALD Thanks. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. KAUFMAN (V. man. Like technology versus horses.A. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties." 149 EXT. peasant blouse. L. STREET . At him? 150 INT. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek.O. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. that's the big pay-off. Thanks. Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. why am I here? She thinks.pg.
DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. sits on young Susan's bed and cries. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. It now looks warm and inviting. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. I'm finding you. get to merge our thoughts. her mother's disappointment at life. and how it forever scars the little girl. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . KITCHEN .MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. He smiles at Orlean's photo. ORLEAN Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. The phone rings. She kisses him on the cheek. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. Her drunken mother enters. I love that. 73 151 INT. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. EMPTY BEDROOM . like a marriage. 151 * * * * 152 INT. 152 153 INT. We see the loneliness of her childhood. Kaufman is immensely pleased.pg. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. It's intimate. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline.
KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. Charlie. KAUFMAN I think really good now. KAUFMAN Um. Tell her I said that. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. Okay.... KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. So. before I finish. All color drains from Kaufman's face.. I'll let her know. As she sees fit. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh.. for me it's distracting to. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi. Good. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. It's Valerie. uh-huh... y'know. Just bugging you again. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . well. How's everything going? Good.pg.. Say I think she's a great writer. Great. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point.
She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. EMERGENCY ROOM . holding his stomach. Maybe it's even smirking. I'm completely selfinvolved. She glances over in his direction. on the floor. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot.) She thinks I'm repulsive. Kaufman storms in. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder.O. 156 INT. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. She looks through him. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Just keep us posted. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms.O. but not at him. KAUFMAN (V. KAUFMAN (V. like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you. mocking the seriousness of what I do.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. It's not glowing. He smiles. Caroline. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean. EMPTY BEDROOM . sips coffee and skims a magazine. It's still smiling. doubles over. Okay. 155 INT. KAUFMAN Nice talking to you. She thinks.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. Charlie. Kaufman paces frantically. 154 INT.pg.
NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . naked women adorn the walls. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. how's it going? 161A INT.O. paces. I'll take you in. bald. I'm doing pornography. look. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. And I was hoping. John! . yeah. His voice-over carpets the scene. I know. HOTEL ROOM . old. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. fat. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. "I am old. I am fat.pg.) Movie opens. but I still haven't seen a ghost. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. Charlie Kaufman. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. It's fascinating. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. Oh. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet.
(CONTINUED) * * * . Donald appears in the doorway with a script. who's really him. DONALD I don't know what that means.pg.NIGHT Kaufman types. he's also eating himself to death. Also. It was very helpful. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. repugnant. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. ridiculous. The cassette player plays. I wanted to thank you for your idea. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. DONALD I finished my script. to eat herself. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. anyway. DONALD I don't think so. Because at the end when he forces the woman. EMPTY BEDROOM . What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. doesn't say anything. I changed it a little. like. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. But. It's. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. 77 162 INT.
DONALD Hey. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel. I'm fat and pathetic. Charles. Because I suck. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. It's solipsistic. It's pathetic. I'm pathetic. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. The car veers onto the shoulder. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. Oh. Because I have no idea how to write. That's it. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. You're an artist. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . It looks hot. It's narcissistic. I'll meet her. DONALD I don't know what that word means. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. CAR . It's eating itself. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. he lazily corrects it. Charles. 163 164 OMITTED INT. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. Orlean is tense.pg. DONALD That's kinda weird. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. That's what I have to do. Because I'm pathetic. paying little attention to the road. I'm eating myself. I'm Ourobouros.
the hopeful journey through darkness into light. something to pursue. Frogs croak. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. rather than abide an ordinary life. (CONTINUED) . Laroche lights a cigarette. LAROCHE Here we go.O. desolate. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. past hopelessness.DAY Kaufman. Bees. sweaty and anxious. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . Laroche points to a yellow flower. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. We couldn't find one. sun blasted. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. if you keep searching for something past doubt. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous.pg. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. SWAMP . not an aberration -.most for something exceptional. We walked for hours. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. They sink to their knees. I never thought many people in the world were like John. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. Birds screech. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii. But my mom said.) He made it sound like a Bible story. walks along. y'know. even at their peril. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. ORLEAN (V. 164A EXT. there it'll be. Things slither past in the water.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. Encyclia tempensis. So we walked. The ground is soft. I wanted to turn back. They drive in silence for a little while. and dragonflies hover. John. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. Something big runs by in the distance.
This time Orlean gets on. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. That's an ugly-ass orchid. I'll show you every orchid you want today. You know that. Kaufman is panicked. people get off and on. I found you two already. 169 170 OMITTED INT. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. Nobody gets off or on.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. dirty. Uh-huh. The elevator arrives at the lobby. scraped. ELEVATOR . and faces front. NEW YORK CITY STREET . 172 171 * * EXT. . The doors close.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. frizzed hair. Orlean laughs appreciatively. studies the back of her head. Orlean looks at him blankly. presses "lobby". Just follow me. But I'm no snob. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. I'm interested in all orchids. Kaufman hates himself. isn't it? Orlean examines it. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. Kaufman sweats. The doors open. 172 Kaufman follows her. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid. SWAMP . Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. 171 EXT. It stops a few times. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. Kaufman hesitates. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. Kaufman sweats. Orlean is a sweaty mess. The elevator continues up. anxious. Orlean gets out.pg.DAY Orlean walks along. Not just pretty ones.
Interesting! 174 EXT. Kaufman sits a few tables away. She watches him start off in one direction. hysterical. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * .) Reads Vanity Fair. SWAMP . stop. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes.O. 175 INT.NOON Orlean follows Laroche.pg. reading Vanity Fair. RESTAURANT . yanks the sheets from the bed. 81 173 INT.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. KAUFMAN (V.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean.O. tries to tear them. KAUFMAN (V. please? Kaufman reads what he has written.) (cont'd) Likes tuna. The waitress nods and leaves. LAROCHE We're not lost. KAUFMAN (V. swings them wildly. HOTEL ROOM . He scribbles in his notebook. He paces. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. then go in another direction. drinks iced tea. He's frustrated.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb. Thanks.O. Good character details. KAUFMAN (V.O.
Oh. Best script I've read this year. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. Two fucking talented guys in one family. heaves.pg. edgy thriller. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. It's been okay. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. still holding the glass. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. it's Marty. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. KAUFMAN Marty. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. The phone rings. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. I have an appointment. He answers it. Y'know. (CONTINUED) . I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. Um. buddy. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. KAUFMAN I gotta go. fair enough. Good. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. I mean. don't say that. bends to pick up the broken glass.
Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. he puts the twig back. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. This relaxes Laroche. Rage and panic sweep across her face. sees her staring at him. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. I'll just set this up. Orlean takes a cracker.pg. wait a few minutes. comes up with a straight twig. We want to be heading southeast. (CONTINUED) . SWAMP . Without looking at Orlean. He looks up at her. He won't look at her. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. It is so. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. her fists clench into balls. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. He pokes around on the ground for something. LAROCHE Well. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. She looks at Laroche.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. stares at it. amigo. She stares at him. knocks over the twig. Laroche looks down at it. He stretches his legs.
I am just one more old. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. There's a sadness. 177 178 OMITTED EXT. fat. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. and go straight ahead. KAUFMAN (V. Orlean is stony. I just say to myself. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. fuck the sundial. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there.) I am fat. 179 EXT. bald man on the street. Laroche seems unaware. look. screw it.O. I am repulsive. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. He eyes other sad-looking. balding. overweight men wandering the streets also. we have to get out as long as we walk straight. They rise. I mean. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. I am old.MORNING Kaufman wanders. Out of here. .DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers.pg. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. Whenever everything's killing me. The thing I like is that I'm immersed in it but it's not a living thing that's going to leave or die or something. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. SWAMP . some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. can't write. logically.
. 85 180 EXT. * * MCKEE So.) I have failed. 182 McKee paces the stage with MCKEE Years from now you'll be standing around a posh cocktail party congratulating yourself on how you spent an entire weekend locked in a room with an asshole from Hollywood for your art. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something.. walks toward it. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. Kaufman waits in line.O. I am fat. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes.. (CONTINUED) * . and always the imperative is too tell a story. last. First.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. KAUFMAN (V.pg. The audience laughs. KAUFMAN (V. NYC STREET . I am worthless. I am panicked. AUDITORIUM . I am fat. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough.O. glowing in the sun.) I am pathetic. 182 INT. I am a loser.. I have sold out.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. a mic clipped to his lapel. except for Kaufman who looks pained. I. LOBBY .
KAUFMAN (V. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. "Flaccid. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. Kaufman looks up.pg. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing. Well." writes the guy on one side of him. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. when storytelling goes bad in a society.) It is my weakness. Aristotle said.. McKee seems to watching him. the result is decadence. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told.. Kaufman sweats. (CONTINUED) . (deadpan) Well. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks.. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. And here I am. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. "Any idiot. AUDITORIUM . 183 INT. just look around you. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE ..O. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. The audience members take copious notes.. Easy answers." writes the guy on the other side.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector.. sloppy writing. startled. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. my friends. I should leave here right now.
There is no sound. 184 EXT. AUDITORIUM .who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay.the rapid exchange of ideas. 185 186 OMITTED INT. Real people are not interesting. but still attentive. The Greeks called it stykomythia -. His face is troubled.and I include myself in this -. Look at the second hand on your watch as it makes one complete rotation around the clock face and you'll get an idea of how intolerable that would be for an audience. one hour for lunch. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid. wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. say a page long. Now Kaufman takes serious notes. Writers are not tape recorders. AUDITORIUM . A long speech in a script. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. NYC STREET . We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. The audience is tired. We are not recreating life on the screen.pg.LATER 185 186 * It's late. There's not a person in this world -.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is. energetic as ever. McKee. holding a cup of coffee.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience. Kaufman wanders by himself. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. And that's an important point.
Darwin flies face forward into the card table. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT.MORNING Kaufman. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . HOTEL . He walks around the table. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. AUDITORIUM . then. they don't have any epiphanies. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. 190 INT.pg. It's silent and tense. Aristotle rises to stretch. Out of nowhere. bleary-eyed. sips his coffee. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. Kaufman can't get out of the way. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. where people don't change.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. Remember. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. with dark circles under his eyes. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. sits in the back. That's it for tonight. Kaufman. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. A violent fight ensues. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. He turns. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. 188 INT. collapsing it. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. giggles a little. smash against walls leaving bloody prints.
leaning against the building. then you. A shaky. right. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. McKee emerges. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. you'll bore your audience to tears. my friend. okay. MCKEE Oh. tired Kaufman approaches him. 191 EXT. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. NYC STREET .pg. Mr. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. thanks. Nice to see you. Kaufman waits. (CONTINUED) . carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more.
my friend. ORLEAN (V.O. McKee.O. KAUFMAN .. KAUFMAN Mr.. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. looking only straight ahead.O.. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. ORLEAN (V. my even standing here is very scary. and there. Kaufman closes the book.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. It's about my choices as a human being.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. Please.pg. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk.. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. Soon there is silence. 193 INT. McKee hesitates for a moment. ORLEAN (V. all the way to the road.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. I don't meet people well. 192 EXT. BAR . MCKEE I'm sorry. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. There's a pause. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . SWAMP . MCKEE I could use a drink.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose. far down the diagonal of the levee. we could see the gleam of a fender.
Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. acts. Kaufman hugs him. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. McKee recognizes his bulk. The last act makes the film. * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. Find an ending. I wanted to present it simply. (beat) That's not a movie. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. I'm way past my deadline. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. Do that and you'll be fine. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. My twin brother Donald. but wow them at the end. You can have an uninvolving.pg. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. McKee sips his beer. It's about disappointment. tedious movie. I can't go back. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. and you've got a hit. He's the one who got me to come. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. eyes Kaufman.
CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT McKee. Julius and Philip Epstein. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. dials the phone. 196 INT. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine.who wrote Casablanca were twins. Listen. tries to read Story. 196A INT. 195 INT. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah. Caroline giggles in the background. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .O. 194 INT. sits at his desk and writes.pg. (CONTINUED) .) Climax. He rubs his temples. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. Donald.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. HOTEL ROOM . MCKEE (V. MCKEE'S OFFICE . like Darwin before him.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces.
You should hang out with her. (CONTINUED) .. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. and Donald laugh. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly..C. She's great. please. We're playing Boggle. taking this all in. HOTEL ROOM . KEENER (O. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. tipsy) Oh.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. please. It's been a wild ride. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. look. Donald. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. long moment. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great. high-sixes against a mill-five. Caroline. Donald. DONALD C'mon. like. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. I've been thinking.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. please. 196B INT. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. KAUFMAN Yeah. Um.pg.
So. KAUFMAN So. I don't mind. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. Kaufman paces. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. KAUFMAN I know. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . KAUFMAN Good. like. KAUFMAN I was trying something.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. too. We're different talents. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. It's funny. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. if you like. Okay. huh? Sorry. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. I'm thinking. Just for fun. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. Like what? DONALD I don't know. Maybe you could read it. is quiet. Charles. The great Donald.pg. Y'know. Donald finishes. I -- DONALD Hey. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. man. Y'know. subtext. yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. HOTEL ROOM .
pg. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. I can't. I have a reputation to maintain. You can't be a goofball. You're reaching. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. (picks up Orchid Thief. DONALD Maybe. I'll go. You can't be an asshole. KAUFMAN I don't know. KAUFMAN Really. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. look. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down." (looks up) First of all. To know her. and the flower is so marvelous you can't believe there was a time all you saw in front of you was a paper ball and a glass of water. it's just a metaphor.. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. (CONTINUED) . DONALD Pretend I'm you. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book.. DONALD Is she? I mean. but. That's inconsistent. she said she didn't care about flowers. Charles. of course she's that. yes. KAUFMAN For God's sake. Someone's got to talk to her.
pg. No bad jokes. if you write a couple more books. you could become a pretty good writer. Don't laugh how you laugh.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. Donald scribbles. Thanks. "You know. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. But the relationship ends when the book ends. I get to have people think I'm you. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. dressed as Charlie. DONALD So. sits across from her." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. He said. By definition. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. doing his best serious writer impression. I was very interested in everything he had to say. (CONTINUED) * * * * . You spend a lot of time together. No flirting. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Donald. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. I mean. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. mumbles under his breath. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. It's an honor. In the subtext. 198 INT. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness.
Too right. Einstein or Jesus. I have an idea. just one more question.DAY Kaufman paces. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. She said all the right things. HOTEL ROOM . dressed as Charlie. watches TV.. 199 Donald * * * INT. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. enters.pg. living or dead. ORLEAN I'd have to say. That's a prepackaged answer. DONALD She was nervous. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. Charles. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . stares out the window. Okay. Very good. She's lying. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen.. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein.
Let's go. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. Leave. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. DONALD (O. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. (talking) C'mon.) She's upset. Orlean waits as the phone rings. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT. (CONTINUED) 201 . and sings and dances around Kaufman. She closes her office door. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer. becoming more and more agitated. who just stares at him. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . picks up a pen. KAUFMAN Well. window with binoculars. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself.S. want to be doing this.pg. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. holds it like a microphone. Sadly. ORLEAN'S OFFICE .CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. I do. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you. A conversation ensues. KAUFMAN Let's go.
Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. Orlean looks out her window.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. Heh heh.) Stop watching her. DONALD United to Miami. I thought she was done with Laroche. She hung up the phone. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No.pg. Research. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. DONALD Anyway. HOTEL ROOM . I'm gonna look at it. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES .NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. Don't tell my old lady. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Donald. She's at her computer." 203 INT. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys.S. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. DONALD She's crying. my friend. Leave her alone. 202 * 201 INT. 202 She starts to cry. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. DONALD That was no parent phone call. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. Tomorrow morning. who watches through binoculars.
nervous. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. C'mere. naked photo of Orlean. the van speeds off. 206 EXT. Kaufman and Donald drive by. guess what? We're going to Miami. goes over to the computer.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. Donald behind the wheel. Told ya. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. DONALD I said. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. Forget it. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. which speeds and swerves through traffic. DONALD I'll get a closer look. SUBURBAN STREET . posed but awkward. gets out. baby. (CONTINUED) * .pg. no. oh yeah. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. RENTAL CAR .A BIT LATER Donald drives.LATER 206 Donald follows. CAR . incredulously at it. Orlean gets in. The beat-up white van pulls up. You wait here. keeping up with the van. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. Donald parks up the street. Hey. Kaufman is sweaty. 205 INT. No. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. KAUFMAN I said. middle-class house. 204 INT.
Laroche waits patiently. 207 INT. How did he find me. There's movement in a window in ducks. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. He slinks around back. I should go. He adjusts them. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. I mean. Laroche glances at the window. HOUSE . Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. oblivious. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. kissing. undressing each other. snorts some lines of green powder. I'm just.. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door.. continues to rub herself. You the man.. peruses house.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. crawls to the coffee table. Orlean studies Kaufman. Laroche cuts him off. The chair slides across the floor. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. in.. bro. tips over. have slipped. DONALD Go for it. it's my.pg. Kaufman gets out of the car. Orlean pulls away giggling. looks in. right? I mean. ORLEAN Who's that. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O.) Darlin'. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . locks eyes with Kaufman. Orlean and Laroche are laughing. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed.. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. drags him into the house.. Orlean. it should be me.S. Wrong house. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window. Donald gets Kaufman's script. nobody.
Kaufman rises.I don't know that. (CONTINUED) . dude. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. Orlean tries to focus. it was nice to meet you. of course not. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. ORLEAN Shit. Let me give you my number.pg. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. Orlean rises. Did you follow me? I should go. Laroche looks at Susan. ORLEAN I'm freaking. LAROCHE Okay. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. John. Well. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. Laroche begins to write his phone number. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. 'kay? Kaufman does. don't let him leave. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me.
Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. right? LAROCHE Good point. Hold him. I'm almost done.pg. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. he's researching his script. I don't know. I'm pretty clear on the structure. She looks up. anyway. She talks to herself for a while. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. LAROCHE Oh. Orlean massages her temples. Suze. Kaufman rises. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. LAROCHE I believe him. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know.I'm just down here to see the swamp. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. Well. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . gestures to herself. I was just -. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure.
okay. I can't have people -.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay. Charlie. * (CONTINUED) . * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. we can't kill anyone. Kaufman gets in. I have to think.) Susie. 208 Laroche closes the door. He listens. INT. LAROCHE I'm sorry.S. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. CLOSET . you need to calm down. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry. LAROCHE (O. deliberate) Susie. I understand.pg. Thank you. You're getting a little emotional and you -ORLEAN Don't talk to me like I'm a mental patient! I hate when you do that! I'm not. LAROCHE Yeah.
turns it on.S. There's a long sweaty silence.) Then what? Everyone will find out. The bartender shakes a drink.) I think you just stick them in. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .) Protect me. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche. 209 INT. holes here. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. BASEMENT . descends the basement stairs. He sifts through a cardboard box. Donald watches the goings-on.S. Please. in close-up. Laroche and Orlean. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. He passes behind her. in close-up. LAROCHE (O.S. Kaufman inhales sharply.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O. Johnny. Laroche turns it off. 208B INT.pg. chews her fingernail and cries. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides. occasionally pass between Donald and the camera. 208A INT. his face lights up red. his pants fall down. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs.S.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. in close-up. large.S. She glances down at his off-screen hand. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. pacing foreground figures. ORLEAN (O.S.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. blurry.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. a little hysterically.
KAUFMAN It's a story.pg. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O. there's an image I could do without. KAUFMAN Look. I'm really just interested in orchids.) You have a car. um.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . holding a gun.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. That sounds like a real thing that could happen. here's me again! (mockingly reading from screen) "Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. I didn't really do it. I don't care what you're doing. God. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock.) Of course he does. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned. KAUFMAN (O. Orlean sits next to him." Jesus. no.S. LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN Hey. RENTAL CAR .S. She skims Kaufman's screenplay. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. I -ORLEAN (O. suburban Miami neighborhood.S.) Okay.S. 210 INT.S. They drive in silence. ORLEAN (O. that's sort of creepy.S.) I. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something. like he was doing research.
you don't have to kill me. We can forget I ever came here." Orlean laughs derisively. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. From a weirdo with no teeth. We can do whatever you want. if you don't tell me. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. I'll tell you the truth now. I'll sign anything. KAUFMAN You can laugh. ORLEAN (considers) No. KAUFMAN We can turn around. ORLEAN Listen. KAUFMAN Look. Get a cup of coffee. Charlie-boy. Can we do that? We can talk this out. Bully for you. It was orchids. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. I do. I know.pg. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. Chill. It's sad. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . but I didn't make that up. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. I'm laughing at who I used to be. ORLEAN Yeah. That's a quote from your book. this isn't easy for me either.
Orlean stares out the window.. something I didn't tell you. . can't. LAROCHE (V. my porn site is gonna be big.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp. It's just a flower. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters.. stands there awestruck.) I'd just started up the nursery. VAN . long as I'm here. They drive in silence.DAY Laroche drives.. About the ghost. LAROCHE Might as well grab it.. No reaction. 108 211 EXT. He spots something on a tree. SWAMP . Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan. I want to tell you. I want you to know this.. I think this might help you. It wasn't my thing. okay? I know you're going through some shit. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER .pg. 211B EXT.. circles it. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag.O. but some of the Indians. 211A INT. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. I went back one night to pick up something. ORLEAN It's a flower. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee.
One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. That's what I wanted to tell you. TRAILER BACK ROOM . LAROCHE It does that. your sadness is fascinating to me. 211D INT. . As I said. Susie.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room. My hair.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. I think you'd like it. Two of the men make out. they ran out. My sadness. like I told you. but the young guys.pg. Jesus. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug. Vinson lived on that shit. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. Y'know. Laroche. I want to do this.. One sings to himself. I know how. It seems to help people be. 109 211C INT.O.DAY Orlean seems interested now. too. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. VAN . It had been a ceremonial thing. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. they liked to get stoned. Oh. stoned Indian men. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. but -Vinson. A bunch of young. fascinated.. Some stare off. I watched. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. I'm probably the only white guy who knows.
Please.NIGHT 211H Orlean. ORLEAN (V. you should. ORLEAN I was so sad that night.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. He needs to hear how you feel. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. HOTEL BAR . Something. Yeah. Maybe I could get laid. This must be her room. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. paces. 110 211E INT. hon. He's barely listening. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. There's a small package outside one door. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. 211I INT. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. rolls it up. You too. sniffs inside. He's pasty white with fear. 211F INT. Orlean hangs up. Friday. hovers over the green powder. HOTEL ROOM . stares at it. you should.NIGHT So drained.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall.O. HOTEL HALLWAY . All right then. trying to remember her room number. picks up the baggie. talks on the phone. reviews some notes.) I went down to the bar. Her name is written on it. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. if you're not going to let me go. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. (CONTINUED) .NIGHT Kaufman drives. Okay. RENTAL CAR . ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. picks it up. HOTEL ROOM . I didn't know. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. a little tipsy. let me be.pg. 211H INT. 211G INT. The place is empty. puts it down.
She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. sniffs it." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. It's so beautiful. 211K INT. doesn't. HOTEL ROOM . 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. sucks it. She watches her grinning face with love. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. She's never seen anything more beautiful. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. 211L INT. HOTEL BATHROOM . Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. stands. She tugs at a strand. HOTEL ROOM . 211M INT. what the fuck.) (CONT'D) I figured.O. She snorts the rest. HOTEL ROOM . She makes many forehead prints on the glass. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. tries to feel something. on the scrubbing sound. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. discovers it does not open. She tries to sing along with it. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. She tries to open the window for a better look. listening to the dial tone. dully watches herself in the mirror.pg. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . rolls it around in her fingers. 211J INT. She sighs. the colors. holding the phone to her ear. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. stands again. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. I figured.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. Ms. She snorts a small amount. How exquisite! She cries.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. She giggles. She feels nothing. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. I figured. what the hell. who really cares about anything anymore.
too! (hangs up) She was so nice. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. Orlean dials again. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. ma'am.pg. ma'am. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. ORLEAN Well. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. eight to five-thirty. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my. how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours. Okay. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea.? ORLEAN In your dial tone.. ORLEAN Good night. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . Operator. to you. ma'am.. It's so pretty.
forgets to pick up the phone. pitch. . Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. There's a pause. that would be so helpful. There's a pause. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. John. Finally she remembers. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. The phone rings. I'm very happy now. I'm glad. Hello? Hi. She listens to it.pg. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. She imitates a dial tone. all the time. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. ORLEAN Johnny. ORLEAN John. stares at the ceiling. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. LAROCHE She studies her feet. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord.
My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. I think toes should be with their fellows. too? Yes. Okay. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice.pg. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. . ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. Do you like socks. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. I do. ORLEAN Huh. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. LAROCHE They will be.
on the phone. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . We're twins. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. too. just like you. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Here. but not talking. I'm a person. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. Please think about what you're doing.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor. She stares out the window at the early morning light. RENTAL CAR . Like my mom. HOTEL ROOM . Kaufman stares straight ahead. Nobody liked me. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. Johnny. ORLEAN We spoke all night. 212B INT. understand me. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. someone would come around and just. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. y'know. except someone else.pg.
pale and sweaty. . John. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. a bag of soil. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. You will not take this away. Or fantasizing about someone else. I was just there.NIGHT Kaufman drives. Not like that. Alive. Back. anyway. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. She remains silent. who stares straight ahead. Orlean is flabbergasted. lost in her story. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. just like that. Orlean looks with love at these items. ORLEAN Back in New York. she'd look at me. They pass very few cars now. Laroche starts to cry. I couldn't focus. It'd send someone. and quietly say. I couldn't care. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. VAN . Laroche seems clumsy. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. Adapting. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. then at Laroche's straining face. RENTAL CAR . 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience.pg. The back doors are open. "yes". She glances past Laroche at the moon. The junk is pushed to the sides. Orlean smiles. back on the book. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. I won't go back. 212C INT. She pulls him to her and kisses him. 212D INT.
Done. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .NIGHT Orlean paces. Orlean lies on the grass outside. 214 INT. The sun is warm on her skin. all the way to the road. Suze. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. Make a shitload of change. it ain't controlled.. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. transfixed by a colony of ants. I need a ticket to Miami... 117 212E INT. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . There are no other cars. I like you. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists.. like a beacon. darlin'. They're very shiny. is why. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. if I do say. She types at the computer standing up. but we should introduce this to the general public. (dials phone) Yeah. hi. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD . ORLEAN So.NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive... and we followed it.pg. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene. A Laroche kind of plan. RENTAL CAR ...DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids. (back to business) The cool part is. 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. LAROCHE Well.
216 217 OMITTED EXT. Laroche parks behind. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. trip over unseen vines. LOGGING ROAD . (CONTINUED) 218 * * . JANES SCENIC DRIVE .pg. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. Laroche is in the rear of his van. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. 215 EXT. 218 EXT. gun on him. blocking him in. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. he sees Donald. Kaufman does. SWAMP . ORLEAN Come around. hitting her and sending her flying. searching for flashlights. getting some equipment. wild-eyed. please. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. keeping the 216 217 * * Orlean pulls herself up and drags herself over to the van as Laroche is throwing things around in the messy back. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. We call it "Passion. on the floor in the back. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. We see the lovely Coke can.
pg. I've wasted my life. KAUFMAN I don't want to die.C. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. And you're not gonna die. DONALD You did not.C. John. I've wasted it.) This really complicates things. LAROCHE (O.C. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp.) It was a guy? Fat. * Laroche and Orlean move off. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. ORLEAN (O. Their voices get far away. LAROCHE (O.) We need to split up. ORLEAN (O. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. I get that.C. Orlean and Laroche are very close now. Donald. God. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized.C. I couldn't move. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. DONALD I don't think so.) I know. KAUFMAN They're going to find us. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now.) That's all I could tell. breathing hard. * LAROCHE (O. They sit and wait in silence. All right. The beams search the darkness near the brothers. * * * Thanks.
218 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN it. I admire you, Donald, I spend my whole life paralyzed what people think of me and you just oblivious. 218
I wasted y'know? worrying - you're
DONALD I'm not oblivious. KAUFMAN No, you don't understand. I say that as a compliment. I really do. (beat) There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh. DONALD Oh, God. I was so in love with her. KAUFMAN I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was really sweet to you. DONALD I remember that. KAUFMAN Then when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. It was like they were laughing at me. You didn't know at all. You seemed so happy. I knew. DONALD I heard them. * * *
KAUFMAN How come you looked so happy? DONALD I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. can love whoever I want. KAUFMAN She thought you were pathetic. DONALD That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago. (CONTINUED)
218 CONTINUED: (3) Kaufman and Donald sit there for a long while in silence. Kaufman starts to cry softly. What's up? Thank you. For what? DONALD (cont'd) KAUFMAN DONALD 218
Slogging sounds. Orlean and Laroche are getting close again. Flashlight beams miss Kaufman and Donald by inches. ORLEAN (O.C.) We looked here already. No. LAROCHE (O.C.)
ORLEAN (O.C.) I recognize this tree. LAROCHE (O.C.) Suzy, I know every tree in here. ORLEAN (O.C.) I'm thinking this is a bad idea, John. On Orlean and Laroche. LAROCHE What do you mean? ORLEAN It was the Pash. My head is clearing now and suddenly this whole idea seems completely fucked up. LAROCHE Well, y'know, I said that. I said this was crazy. I tried to reason with -I know. ORLEAN I'm sorry. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED)
LAROCHE Yeah, anyway, what do we do now? ORLEAN Maybe we talk to the guy. killing people. We can't go
218 CONTINUED: (4) LAROCHE If you recall, that's what I said before. ORLEAN I made a mistake. want from me? Jesus. What do you 218 * * * * * * * * * * Donald * * * * *
Laroche shakes his head, mutters, then: LAROCHE (calling) Charlie! We're not going to hurt you. We just want to talk! On Kaufman and Donald. shakes his head "no." They look at each other.
ORLEAN We're really sorry!
It's just that...
The flashlights shine elsewhere and the voices go far away. DISSOLVE TO: 219 EXT. SWAMP - EARLY MORNING 219
The light is gray, pre-dawn, murky. Donald and Kaufman are asleep. Donald awakens, looks around. The rental car is still there, but there's no van. Donald nudges Kaufman. He wakes, looks at Donald, who indicates the missing van. They gone? KAUFMAN
DONALD I don't know. Maybe. They quietly slog toward the road. There's no sign of Laroche or Orlean. Donald looks back and smiles at Kaufman. They're getting out of here. Kaufman feels a new, profound affection for his brother. He pats Donald on the back. It's an awkward tap, something never attempted before. Donald gives a cheerful thumbs-up without looking back. They arrive at the car. Donald is heading around to the passenger side and stops dead in his tracks. Kaufman looks over to see what's caught Donald's eye: there, sitting propped against a tree, sleeps Laroche, his rifle on the ground next to him. Kaufman and Donald are momentarily frozen. Then: ORLEAN (O.S.) (in the distance) John! (CONTINUED)
S. looks nice. (CONTINUED) * * . * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. Donald yelps. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. The driver's side airbag deploys. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. To everyone's surprise it fires. doesn't know what to do. Laroche approaches the car. from around a curve. a ranger truck comes barreling. RENTAL CAR . spaced on pash.pg. the front of his body a bloody mess. Donald is hit in the arm. Kaufman finds the keys. Then. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. 220 INT. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. John! ORLEAN (O. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. starts the car. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. Kaufman gets in behind him. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. Donald flies through the windshield. Give me some of that shit. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. They pass Orlean next to the van.
. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. fascinated. (CONTINUED) . Her mouth is open. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. is confused. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. sees Kaufman running into the woods. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. Bad car accident. She can't look down at Owen. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. I do. sees the two Kaufmans. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. SWAMP . It's only right. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. but fading fast. Orlean's eyes well with tears. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. She follows. it's gonna be okay. There's nowhere to go. 221 EXT. who is conscious. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. Orlean and Laroche arrive. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. heave. she looks horrified. Alligators swim in it. running from two different directions. Kaufman starts to sing. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. He slumps to the ground. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C.B. approaching from down the road. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. Logging road twelve. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. KAUFMAN Donald. MIKE OWEN We need help here.pg. Kaufman stares at the body. To think about the one you love. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck.. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. Donald is dead. The three stare at each other. He angles in to cut him off. Kaufman must be next. Just don't go to sleep. stop. A battered-looking.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. at the body of Donald. He bolts into the swamp. Donald's eyes close. You're gonna be okay.
The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. this concept turned flesh before his eyes.An alligator: it awakens. I'm not a killer. Kaufman watches. Let me be a baby again. I want my life back. Kaufman watches. shooting crazily until it's dead. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. dude. then looks to Kaufman. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. She glows. It helped me. desperate. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. startled and angry. I did everything wrong. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. maybe. old. His rifle fires at nothing. that helps other people feel not so lonely. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. I want to be new. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. Everything is a lie. drops her gun. suddenly feeling so much for this person. Everything's over. KAUFMAN No. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. sobbing. I want to be new. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. KAUFMAN Your writing.pg. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . Laroche is dead. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . stunned. I think it can touch people. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. Orlean looks at his body. I want it back before it got all fucked up. Orlean screams. Orlean collapses into a heap. The sun is rising.
a coffee table. There's a silence. KAUFMAN I know. That's a good thing. I think. KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. That's all. I just wanted. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. both crying. MOTHER You should get some furniture. * (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes. some overstuffed chairs. Charles. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. they meet in the middle and hug. I'm going to get a couch. Yeah. Susan. * * MOTHER I worry about you. They look at each other from across the room. Make it really comfortable in here.. I just wanted. Wordlessly. mom. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny.. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living.pg.
Margaret. really. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. but -I don't know. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . She closes the door and brings him to the couch. * She look compassionately into his face. KAUFMAN Knock knock. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. KAUFMAN That sounds good. MARGARET'S OFFICE. I'm almost done! Great! ready. (deep breath. MARGARET You able to work at all. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. KAUFMAN Thank you. He meets her gaze. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. KAUFMAN No. I'm just stupid. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him.pg. Thanks. I understand. I came by for a reason. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. They sit. hugs him. 225 INT. Margaret looks up.
(laughing. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. nervously kisses him. so he plows on. anyway. CAR . Okay then. Hey. I'm just saying. say. I'll send you the script when it's done. I don't have to get anything back.um. I'm not saying that at all. I'm glad I know you is all. y'know. 226 INT. Wow. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. in the parking garage. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. Margaret. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. Charlie. waits in line with his validated ticket. can't. I can love you. thanks for being in the world. That's really great. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . I mean. Hey. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. being honest. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful.pg. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . MARGARET Wow. Stupid job. Kaufman smiles. Kaufman rolls down his window. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. MARGARET That sounds good. gets up. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. I'm glad you're in the world. embarrassed) So. looking a little pale. Margaret appears in front of his car. thanks for telling me.
226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles.pg." . How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell. And so we envy each other. and hops in the passenger side. both staring ahead. 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. Hate each other. Like cells in a body. that sounds good.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . They drive off. runs around the front of the car. The way fish can't see the ocean. hooky before. 'Cept we can't see the body. Hurt each other. That's what I've come to realize. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. Lieutenant. FADE TO BLACK. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure.
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