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