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