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