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