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