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