This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
B. delicate and blond. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth. If there are Indians in the swamp. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. in the swamp. they are in there for a reason. his lips. RANGER'S TRUCK . and come to rest on a woman typing. watches the vehicles through binoculars. No response. 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. Mosquitoes land on his neck. ORLEAN (V.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. 8 INT. Indians in the swamp. a ranger. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat. his nose. Tony clears his throat into the radio. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker.S. 7 INT.O. Tony glowers.pg. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. Nothing. gets out of the truck. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. It's Susan Orlean: pale. whispers into his C. TONY Barry. He straightens his cap.MID-MORNING Tony. Nothing. skinny as a stick.. OFFICE . pale-eyed. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board.. Tony waits for a response. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. TONY We got Seminoles. . spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. He pulls over down the road. Indians do not go on swamp walks.
VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. She looks up at him. Kaufman sees her watching it. Thank you. (CONTINUED) . Uncomfortable silence..pg. her hair. She sees him seeing her watching it. He blanches. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. wow. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. She thinks I'm old. Boy.. They pick at salads. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting.A. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . Valerie watches it. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. She thinks I'm fat.MIDDAY Kaufman. 4 9 INT. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. it's no fun. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. That's nice to hear. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. She looks at her salad. her breasts. sits with Valerie. He quickly swabs. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. We are. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. They are. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. KAUFMAN Oh. KAUFMAN That's. I appreciate that. L. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. it is. looks down. thanks. She -VALERIE We think you're great. I'd love to find a portal into your brain.
tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. KAUFMAN Absolutely.. I'm intrigued. and also not force it into a typical movie form. KAUFMAN Oh. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. KAUFMAN First. That sounds interesting. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. Like. I mean. His brow is dripping again. I'd want to remain true to that. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. great. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. Plus her musings on Florida. pretends not to notice. Indians.pg. In one motion. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. stalling. VALERIE Oh.. too. great. sprawling New Yorker stuff. I like to let my work evolve. what you're saying. orchid poaching.. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. Great.. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. flips through the book. isn't he? Kaufman nods. Well. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of.. an orchid heist movie or something. VALERIE Okay.. So. I think it's a great book.
Kaufman appears in the open doorway. or car chases. lots of books. CALIFORNIA. I feel very strongly about this. KAUFMAN Knock knock. 10 INT. Life isn't like that. Y'know? The book isn't like that. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. a soulful development executive. it didn't happen.. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. It wouldn't happen. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now.DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD. It just isn't. I mean..this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. but to me -. unpack boxes. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. Audubon posters. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. Definitely. fake. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Margaret turns. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. Or characters learning profound life lessons. I don't want to cram in sex. OFFICE . Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. Valerie is quiet. but we can't make out the words. or guns.pg. Margaret.
nods) So. Mostly crap. There's one you might like. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . Margie! MARGARET Well. covers by talking. KAUFMAN It's great.. Pretty fancy office. Margaret sits down next to him. So what's with you? man. Very very cool. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. KAUFMAN You looked great. thanks. Come in. MARGARET Oh. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies.. God. Kaufman enters. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. Take a load off. at the closeness.pg. about flowers. such an awful picture. It's all so stupid. congratulate you on the promotion. Kaufman laughs. MARGARET Anyway. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. with Robert? Oooh. KAUFMAN (smiles. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. sits on the couch. just wanted to say hello.
KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. MARGARET Susan Orlean. it would be you.pg. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. (looking up.. he's scored. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. Thanks. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. MARGARET I don't care. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God.. yelling) I don't care. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. man. Jesus. Robert. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. About orchids. You're all the recommendation I need. MARGARET You should definitely do it. (presses button on phone) Andy. Cool. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. I dunno. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. . And it sounds exciting. sex and drug deals and violence. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. (hangs up. somebody needs to save us all. MARGARET I'll read it.
until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. His eyes widen in reverent awe. Then. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. They trudge. A ghost. Although. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. you can teach me. 13 (CONTINUED) . Laroche spots something else. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water.pg. The Indians ignore him. begins sawing through the tree. Laroche stares at a single beautiful.MORNING Hot. closer. 11 EXT. He stops. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. Soon there are millions of them. RESTAURANT . tenderly caresses the petals. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. closer. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. He points out a turtle on a rock. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. dirty. Russell. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. 13 INT. MURKY POOL OF WATER . maybe you fellas specifically. That I can't speak to. SWAMP . miserable.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. circles the tree. 12 EXT. Russell pulls out a hacksaw. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff.
I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. That's nice to hear. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently. This one.pg. I don't want to get by on quirkiness. I want to think differently. He turns to his frumpy mother. The boy returns to his search.. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are.. KAUFMAN Yeah.plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. who is sitting with a frail. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. KAUFMAN Thanks. listless. 14 INT. ma? She nods sweetly. BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. As Blake said. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . BOY Any animal at all. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. show people heaven in a wildflower. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. studying the inhabitants. It's like. My stuff tends to be weird. But I'm ready to challenge myself.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium. anemic-looking little girl. at a small turtle in an aquarium. PET STORE (1972) . 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN .
Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. I'm just so pleased you liked it. He's a naturalist. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . of course. Sure. I think David. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. 16 INT. 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.pg. Margaret raises a glass. Randy. man. All I do is tell him how great you are. SWAMP . thrilled. Russell. (He takes a breath) Hey.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. The book is just amazing. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. this guy I'm seeing. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. (CONTINUED) * * * . Kaufman. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. too.MORNING As Laroche supervises. He probably hates you already. would enjoy it. KAUFMAN God. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. clicks glasses. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids.
The entrees arrive. okay. He can no longer look up at Margaret. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true. MARGARET (cont'd) . MARGARET Well.. (to Kaufman) ..... David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. MARGARET You'll like him.pg. KAUFMAN He sounds great.. You've read that. 16 Oh. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good. (to waiter) Thanks. Uh-huh... MARGARET So I was lying there. so. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business.. a long time ago.. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel. KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know. He's just honest and smart.. right? KAUFMAN Um. A bit. I'm sure you know. kind of post-coital dreamy.. long time ago.. Y'know. I mean. Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. anyway.
She pulls down her sleeve. carries them to the register.O. BARNES AND NOBLE . the body language... the way she looks at him. So whereas human history spirals forward. TROPICAL RIVER .DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. that nature doesn't exist historically. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him.DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. 19 EXT. recoil.. ORLEAN (V. Her eyes. but rather cyclically. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. building upon itself. With every fiber of his being.DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER. As she rings him up. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 .pg. 21 EXT. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around.NIGHT Orlean types. 17 EXT. and hover. The radio crackles. who haul the pillowcases. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. sweaty and mosquito bitten. 20 INT. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . he studies their interaction. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . OCEAN . Tony tenses. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm. 18 INT. she expresses no interest in him. small blind jellyfish collide. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians.. her lips. nature. JANES SCENIC DRIVE .MORNING Tony waits.
) (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. 23 24 OMITTED EXT.O.O.. stabs him.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck. and dysentery. RIVER . 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. rheumatism.O.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. (CONTINUED) . steals his boat. docks his boat. CLIFF . 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river.O. Laroche smiles warmly. pleurisy... May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . ORLEAN (V. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. ORLEAN (V.DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo.) (cont'd) .DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff. you absolutely may.. sir. Someone steps from behind a bush.pg. clutching a flower.O. The murderer sails down river. 22 EXT.) Augustus Margary survived toothache. 25 EXT.) Schroeder fell to his death. limping.
LAROCHE Oh. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. (afterthought) Oh. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther.. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. sir. TONY Exactly. that's exactly the issue. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. TONY Okay. But -TONY (CONTINUED) .. James E. 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. This is a state preserve. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. sir. one peperomia. LAROCHE Yes. They give it. I'm sure. even though he has no idea. I'm asking then. what. Okay then! Let's see. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. Florida v. Tony nods. it is.pg. nine orchid varieties. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. Did I mention that? You're familiar. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. one of. Every one of them. Well. Billie.
Yeah. which. Barry.O..) (cont'd) . I can't let you fellas go yet. Yeah.. RENTAL CAR .. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile.. Chickee huts.. the wilderness disappears before your eyes. ORLEAN (V.pg. (into radio) Hey. Tony looks at the Indians. That's exactly what we use them for.. Orlean drives past endless swampland. they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. ORLEAN (V.. ORLEAN (V.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. Just hold on while I. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks.O. RUSSELL He's right. Yeah. but I don't..DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation. everything is always growing or expanding. I believe. * 26 * . At the same time.O.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT.
his identical twin brother. 29 EXT. die.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed.pg. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso. my own reflection. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. regards himself glumly. DONALD (cont'd) Hey.O. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE . KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. the plants grow. HOTEL ROOM . On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. * (CONTINUED) . This happens many times in an accelerating sequence. In a time lapse sequence. you'll be glad. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. then starts to weep inconsolably." The girls giggle. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. Two teenage girls walk by. continues down the hall. RIVER'S EDGE . Orlean finishes organizing her stuff.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. KAUFMAN (V. 30 INT. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy. 28 EXT. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. whither. I am repulsive. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. Charles. EMPTY HOUSE . on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater.) I am fat.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. and climbs the stairs. 17 27 INT. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water.
DONALD (cont'd) Okay. don't say "industry.pg. I'll pay you back. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. People come from all over to study his method.S. this guy knows screenwriting. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. KAUFMAN Donald. DONALD Yeah. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes. Charles. paper back under his pillow. EMPTY BEDROOM . 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry.) In theory I agree with you. I forgot. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT. He gets lost in the picture. buddy. from under his pillow. DONALD (O.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. enters his bedroom. clipped from a trade paper. (CONTINUED) * . Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry.S.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit. DONALD (O. okay. But I'm doing it right this time. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret.
And a writer should always have that goal. okay. Donald. So. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. Hey. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Okay. it's about flowers. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. Go. stares at ceiling) Okay. keep going. not building a model airplane. There's definitely a flower in that. KAUFMAN Look. and anybody who says there are.. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. Donald stares at the ceiling. you must do it this way. and has through all remembered time. my point is. Okay. Sorry. Kaufman waits. principle says. fuming. McKee writes: "A rule says. There was a book -DONALD Oh. go ahead. is just -DONALD Not rules. principles. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new.pg. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. I never saw it. this works. (lies down. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. there're no guidelines." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. Writing is a journey into the unknown. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. Getting no response. And it's not a movie. I apologize. Sorry..
LAROCHE . the plants lie on black plastic sheets. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 .DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. and what we have here.. SWAMP . puffs out her cheeks.. my friend. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers. a conditional and conditioning. Are you a former Fulbright scholar. 32 INT. Kaufman's head is spinning. sheriff. Lots of sweating. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata. He says good-bye and walks happily away..O. GIRL Bye. The pillowcases have been emptied. uniformed people. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch.) (CONT'D) Each being is. 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . is . He puts the book down. LIBRARY .pg. an opposited. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite.. because posited. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. The Indians lean against their car. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V. A guy sprinkles water on them. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry.LATE MORNING Ranger.. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. bored and smoking. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar. 32A INT. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book...DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter.. They seem to be enjoying Donald.
I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful. I do. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. What I really came for. (CONTINUED) . Tem-pen-sis. Bug spray.pg. KAUFMAN Hi. 35A INT.S. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. Mr. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. EMPTY KITCHEN . Laroche. except in your swamp. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. LAROCHE Yeah. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. KAUFMAN Yeah. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. So. Two Catopsi Floribunda. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. KAUFMAN I can do that. you really know your plants.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. let's see. y'know. the ghost orchid. A very good haul.
MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. You'll be trudging through acidic. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. gray could. And the water's black. So a strong boot.) The most memorable. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. Donald lies on the floor. buzzing. looks over at Donald. Mosquito netting. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. DONALD (V. EMPTY DINING ROOM . So I'll check my schedule and get back to you.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room.. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. Heavy.O. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. bored. heavy pants. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. Okay. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. something they won't easily bite through. Donald. With Deet. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find. ancient family of perennial plants with. Kaufman. thighhigh water. so you won't be able to see the snakes. Long sleeves.. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book.pg.
ORLEAN (V. you suck.. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho. do not multiply locations." KAUFMAN Hey. and people. DONALD (V.. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29. maybe you and mom could collaborate. she loved my. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way.. he's Charlie's twin.) The Orchidaceae is a large. mom's paying for the seminar.O. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch.. I hear she's really good with structure... And. And you'll see..O. Well. DONALD You think you're so superior. space. telling of my story to her. Rather than hopscotching through time. 37 INT.." DONALD Sorry. past prefab housing.. ancient family of perennial plants with. 37 * * * * * . and. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world. Anyway.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. They go back to their books. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation. Charles. Anyway. I'm really gonna write this.) Do not proliferate characters.pg.. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V. okay? The two glare at each other.O. RENTAL CAR .
COURT ROOM . Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth.) We open on State Road 29.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. questions him. Thank you. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. (stops. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay.pg. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. Alan Lerner. I have extensive experience with orchids. KAUFMAN (V. Orlean hurries in. thinks. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style.O. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. and a Hawaiian shirt. I'm a published author. not at all like your nursery work. . (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. sits in the back. This is John Laroche. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. types) A white van appears from around a curve. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. 39 INT. LERNER Finally. Mr. the tribe's lawyer. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. is on the stand. I'm a professional plant lecturer. This is laboratory work. Laroche. Laroche. (stops. He turns to his typewriter. both in magazine and book form. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map.DAY The proceedings are in progress. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. EMPTY BEDROOM . LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. 24 38 INT.
DONALD (lost) Y'know. stares at the ceiling. waits. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. Even though he's never even met her.pg. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. She catches him and smiles with red. sits up. And he's taunting the cop. right -Kaufman groans. See. he's being hunted by a cop. I'm just trying to do something.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. you wanna hear my pitch. and in the process he falls in love with her. (flicks on light. the unattainable. lies down. 41 DONALD Look. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. in bed masturbating. KAUFMAN God damn it. looks up at the closed door. pierced lips. then in pitch mode:) Okay. BARNES AND NOBLE . EMPTY BEDROOM . or what? Go away. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. thanks a lot. 41 INT. 25 40 INT. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. wait. What?! The door opens. She becomes. man. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . Cool. like the Holy Grail. like. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. there's this serial killer.NIGHT Kaufman. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. wet. DONALD (CONT'D) No. Kaufman squints at his brother. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo.
.. KAUFMAN (O. in the reality of this movie.S. (CONTINUED) * . What exactly would the. but there's a twist. Okay? See. is multiple personality. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. Dressed to Kill.. Did you consider that? I mean. Okay? How could you. I really liked Dressed to Kill. if there's only one character. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits. right?. until the third act denouement. Listen closely. gets out of bed. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom. what I'm asking is.. DONALD (calling after) Cool.pg. Donald waits blankly.. Sybil meets... 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. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay. Very taut.. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut.. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder.) That's not how it's pronounced. he's really also the cop and the girl. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. proud. there's no way to write this.. KAUFMAN The other thing is. See. that's not what I'm asking. I dunno.. Kaufman gives up. Kaufman dresses and exits.
(MORE) (CONTINUED) . Laroche cracks his neck.pg. Vinson. Laroche? Orlean smiles. Lerner walks off. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. COURTHOUSE . stubs his cigarette. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. LERNER Buster. They're all smoking intently. Laroche scowls. Right? ORLEAN Right. Orlean tries some more. follows Buster. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. and Buster Baxley. yes. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. I handled it. EXT. 42 * 41 Oh. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. apologetic for the intrusion. for crying out loud. I swear to God. we'll deal with all this at trial. The New Yorker. Vinson shrugs. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. the New Yorker. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. walks away.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. ORLEAN Mr. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. 42 Okay. smokes furiously. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment.
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 *
As long as I don't touch the plants. yeah. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder." * (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah." Laroche looks over and smiles. that he might want to watch the road. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. Orlean writes. Uh-huh. He doesn't take the hint. I researched it. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. with a small jerk of the head. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. sell 'em. Florida can't touch us.pg. Laroche clams up. posture of al dente spaghetti. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change. Collectors covet what is not available. steers with knees as he lights another. She's writing: "skinny as a stick." Uh-huh. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. Orlean tries to figure a way in. Orlean smiles back. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. pulls out a notebook. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. And that's the ghost. LAROCHE The plan was.
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)
Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. her sad eyes wet and glistening. solemnly nodding his head. * * * 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. Orlean studies him for a moment. Oh. we'd better get started. ORLEAN So.pg. that's some story. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. ORLEAN Wow. VAN . 55 INT.. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . Orlean watches a flying heron. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. The tape recorder is on between them.DAY Laroche drives. They drive in silence. She underlines it. I lost interest right after that. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. huh. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. Collected the shit out of 'em. Perhaps you read about us.. Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere.
And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. Holacanthus ciliaris. (beat) No. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. not a lot a lot. Kaufman nods. profoundly in love with tropical fish. THERAPIST Red hair. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. * * (CONTINUED) . Chaetodon capistratus. The new girl I'm obsessed with.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. fuck fish. Then one day I say. that's how much fuck fish. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. I once fell deeply. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . Anisotremus virginicus. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. 56 57 OMITTED INT. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. You name it. I renounce fish. Different woman. THERAPIST Uh-huh.pg.
ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. She's taken. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair... His eyes are gentle... heart holds yours.. Anyway. Yes. right? I saw you at the courthouse. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT.. He's handsome.. A few Indians are hauling plants. Thank you. Orlean approaches.. His longblack hair is braided. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. Hi.. ORLEAN Susan Orlean. VINSON John's not here today. I washed it this morning. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. Hi. SEMINOLE NURSERY .. ORLEAN Oh. so.DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. I'm using a new conditioner and.. He gently reaches out and touches it. VINSON I can see your sadness. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. is how I know. My * * * * * * .. Oy.pg. Oh.
Still * Thank you. yeah. hair combed. It's the Indian way. I hope. That sounds great. immersed in the activity. 58 INT. completely present. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. I'm just a sweetie. She just stands there. Just like that. Vinson smiles. ALICE Well. reading about orchids. watching Alice. He tenses as she comes up to him. muscles straining against his shirt. She smiles warmly. sits nervously in a booth. She watches him haul potted plants. grows right on a tree branch. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. It cuts right through her. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. He touches her hand and heads back to work. I am. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. She winks at him. KAUFMAN Yes. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. He's so in love. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . ain't I. It's not personal. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN .pg. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. Preferred customer. in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one.
KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. KAUFMAN I apologize. He beams. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. I was also wondering. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. I'm impressed. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte.pg. ALICE Wow. Her warmth dissipates.. so.. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. ALICE Oh. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. She smiles and turns to leave. huh? Yeah. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. well -I'm sorry. Alice turns back. but they're not parasites. Epiphytes grow on trees. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. (CONTINUED) . that's a lot. anyway. ALICE Well. I'm sorry. I'm just learning. Awkward pause. KAUFMAN That's great. um. still smiling.
DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts. who pay him no mind. He nods. One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen... one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. He sweats.) I am fat. 60 EXT. He is sick with adoration for the women. personalities. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. colors. He forces himself to look. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) .. He tries to study the flowers. at her desk.. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes.O.. one looks like an onion. like a school teacher.pg.O. One has eyes that dance. obligingly eats. NEW YORKER .O. Fuck the pie. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then.) (cont'd) . some in garish clothing. some in subtle clothing. They are dull.. ORLEAN (V.. The other waitress brings his pie. copies something from her notebook onto the computer. The other waitress looks over at him. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign.O. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. all glowing. One looks. KAUFMAN (V.. I have to get out of here right now.) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species.) . one looks like a gymnast. one looks like an octopus. One species looks like a German shepherd. I am old. 59 INT.MORNING Orlean.
THERAPIST'S OFFICE . We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. We see Alice serving food. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see murder and procreation. commerce.pg. We see the history of architecture. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. war. smiling at customers. We see old age and birth.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist.O. Those love them. a shared look. He quickly shifts back to her face. 63 INT. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. The way I like them. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. admiring a view. an arm slipped through an arm. love them madly. A million women walking down the street. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. eating meat. The entire sequence takes two minutes. I don't need to know what their jobs is. I don't need to know them at all.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. * 63 * * * . KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. He does it fast and unintentionally. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. religion. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street.
SHOW HALL . 42 64 INT. fish. it takes over your life. EMPTY BEDROOM . A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel. mirror resilvering. plastic clowns. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin. 66 INT. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. Hegel. into which life was first breathed. 66 .DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. It's all I think about.NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. LAROCHE Once you get the sickness. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. Look at me. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. Kaufman paces and reads. Uh-huh. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. He finds The Portable Darwin. Noisy chatter and calliope music.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. etc. fondles its petals. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. ORLEAN I don't know. BOOK-LINED STUDY .O. DARWIN (V. You'll see.pg.) 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. 65 INT.
(MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 .NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. 43 67 INT. by the way -. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. And this attraction.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. Think about it. It finds an orchid which it resembles. The flower insists. LAROCHE (V. But because of it. Then. Neither understands the significance of this interaction..pg. the world lives. SHOW HALL . Crowds. KAUFMAN We start before life. LAROCHE (V. Everyone thought he was a loon. EMPTY BEDROOM . this passion.DAY Blasting music. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal.O. This isn't a pissing contest. MEADOW . thinking. like a lover. All is silent.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means.proboscis means nose. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. 69 EXT. Silence.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. sure enough. is so much larger than either of them. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean.. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower.O. 67 * 68 68 EXT. Suddenly.
(CONTINUED) . One of those trailer guys. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. FEMALE GUEST Oh. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them.orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. carries it off. buzzing around flowers. jabber passionately. not too educated. It's unexpected.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. carry boxes of plants. APARTMENT . covered with pollen. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. No front teeth. Once you learn anything about orchids. 70 INT. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect.) (cont'd) The insect. Orlean looks at Laroche. She is detached here as well. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. You're supposed to.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple.O. Right. Orlean nods. HUSBAND He's a great character. You have to. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. flies away. covered in pollen.pg. SHOW HALL . stare deep into nectaries. that's a great detail.
O.O. we hear them in voice-over.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. who get obsessed with these. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking. They smile at each other. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) . 74 INT.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants.EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder. BATHROOM .. He's a sweaty mess. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking. but his voice goes under.S..) What is it about people who collect. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM .. but it isn't part of my constitution.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. Susie gets to do a natural history thing. 73 INT.) . ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. but there's a terrible distance between them.. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background. 72 INT. As the words appear on her screen. ORLEAN (V.. NEW YORKER OFFICES .O.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately.O. HUSBAND (O. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V.. Orlean cries and types. which she loves. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom.pg. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So.
. Donald waits for a response. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. And the movie begins. You'd love him. farming. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. hunting. Yearning. just like you! But he says. All is silent. war. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. in the last seconds of the montage. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . after the history of life on the planet. presses "play. evolved. Then. See.. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. This has never been attempted in a movie before. religion. lust. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN ." As he listens. Charles. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. He rewinds the recorder. then. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. so we must find our originality within that genre. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. into the night. too. heaving with excitement.pg. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. No response from Kaufman. adapted. we have to realize we all write in a genre. It breaks every rule. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. He's all for originality.
what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . to ask me stuff. 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.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. LAROCHE (V. Through an open door. John. From Peru. We opened a nursery. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. One guy pulls Laroche aside. too. Laura was such a class act.O.pg. browse. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.O.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. NURSERY . we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. Say. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. to admire my plants.) I got married. to admire me. She was beautiful.) People started coming out of the woodwork. my wife. 47 76 INT. LAROCHE (V. ORLEAN'S STUDY . what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. stare into space. CUSTOMER #1 John. sits sadly for a moment. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. then types.
DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. Orlean looks at him.pg. they have no memory. maybe I can help. I should've just stuck with my own stuff. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. it's almost shameful to adapt. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. 88 INT. People can't sometimes. Adaptation is a profound process. it's easier for plants. Orlean looks out at the dark night. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. ORLEAN Well. Marty smiles at him. VAN . 89 INT. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. After a long silence. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. his full head of hair. (CONTINUED) . Hey. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. She waves back. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. They just move on to what's next. keeps walking. For a person. AGENT'S OFFICE . Kaufman looks at Marty. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything.NIGHT Laroche drives. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. It's like running away.
I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. "No narrative really unites these passages. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know.. Show people how amazing flowers are. MARTY Look.. I wanted to grow as a writer. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. It's someone else's material. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. The book has no story. (uncertain) I think they are. The book's a jumping off point. You're the king. Anyway. I have a responsibility. MARTY Make one up. He's funny. do something profound and simple." Blah blah blah.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers.pg. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -.. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. I can't structure this." So Orlean "digresses in long passes.. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time. Oh man.
I think it would be a terrible career move. He reads the page. EMPTY BEDROOM . LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience. 89A INT. KAUFMAN (V.) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. smoking and ranting at Orlean.. ejaculates. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. alone in bed. at the end of the day. After a few moments. Reporters talk to video cameras. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche.. 89B EXT. MARTY Charlie. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER .pg. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. talks to reporters. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. Laroche hides around the corner of the building.DAY Kaufman. Buster. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. (CONTINUED) . COURTHOUSE . at his car. He lies there." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. The judge is a moron. LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified.O.DAY A crowd of people.
flowers.O. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. especially Laroche. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Okay. RESTAURANT . She sips iced tea. A park official is being interviewed. 89C INT. he says. who I found so maddening. we open with Laroche.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. the trial. Nobody's allowed to take those. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. I love to mutate plants. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. So that's what we got 'em on. what with the protection the Native Americans have. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. He's funny. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. Orlean. Indians. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. Please don't put in I said.) Okay. KAUFMAN (V. goddamned Indians. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. The rapid fire click-click of typing. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. not even the goddamned Indians. ORLEAN Hence the branches. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them.pg. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. It was all so maddening. They were nailed on a technicality.
reads. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV.no. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. ORLEAN Oh. ORLEAN (V.that's funny. okay. dense. ORLEAN Ah. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem...O. we have the court case. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. How about you? Nothing. overabundant place might have hidden in it. Okay. EMPTY BEDROOM . ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . (CONTINUED) .NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. David's out of town. John. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. papers coffee cups.. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . We show Laroche. I was mutated as baby.. we show flowers. 92 93 OMITTED INT.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun.O. Just thought I could get some more info.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. He peers through the darkness at the books. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT..NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start.. Orlean is silent for a moment. Enthusiastic off-screen typing. Okay we open at the beginning of time. opens it.pg.. I'm just hanging out. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. They had to confront what a dark. that's why I'm so smart. I don't mean to bother you. he says. He picks up The Orchid Thief. okay -91 INT. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.
LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. Buddha. And all the rest of 'em. We're finally pulling out of debt. I'm telling you. 94 INT. Darkness descends. This last year's been a dream. Praise Allah. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. mother.pg. ORLEAN So. LAROCHE It was going well. Uncle Jim. Laroche pulls into traffic. dad? His father doesn't respond. Laroche smiles back at his mother. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. (CONTINUED) 95 * . Orlean starts to tear up. 95 INT. his mother and uncle in back. his wife in front. then gets professional to cover. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. Vishnu.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car. His father watches TV. honey. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. and uncle out of the house. but sometimes bad things happen. LAROCHE'S CAR . tell me. MOTHER Amen. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. his front teeth fly in all directions. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother.
Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. and the green pulp that was once plant life.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. And then. ORLEAN If I almost died.DAY Laroche. on the cordless phone. Laroche.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. jerking her forward and landing on top of her. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. adding insult to injury. She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. I think I'd leave my marriage. too. STREET . HOSPITAL ROOM . No one can judge you if you almost died. sits by his comatose wife.pg. 96 EXT. 98 EXT. It's like a free pass. stares out at the street where the accident took place. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head.DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. (CONTINUED) . in his mourning suit. 98B EXT. CEMETERY . wood. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. She regains control and flips it down to talk. 97 INT. LAROCHE'S STOOP . LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. 98A INT.
O. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. I can't figure out how to make it work. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. I wanted to do something amazing. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. I took the job.pg. John. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. Margaret. He tries to duck but she spots him. I don't know. (CONTINUED) . Oh. beer in hand. I know. MARGARET (beat) Well. 98C INT. PARTY HOUSE . There's no story. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. 99 INT. MARGARET You hate me. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it.) Everything. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. sit. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. You don't call me no more. I'm full of shit. sit. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. MARGARET (cont'd) So.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. I was gonna give them something amazing.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . Hey. I understand. She runs over and hugs him. to get their nursery going. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. She's drunk. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. how's the script. an expert.
Boy. Hey. KAUFMAN That'd be great. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well. A young man approaches. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. but.. we should head. God bless you for trying. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. (to Kaufman) Charlie. DAVID No? I was fascinated.. MARGARET No. this is my friend David. It is a challenging one. MARGARET Hey you.. Man. I'll get Marg to send it to you. Marg. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. wow. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. Kaufman and David shake hands. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. Oh. Charlie. Cool. Davey. story. huh? KAUFMAN Not really.pg. (CONTINUED) . Hey..
as dense as steel wool. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. She kisses his ear. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. And you are amazing. put that in the article! 101 INT.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. NEW YORKER OFFICE . 102 INT. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. Goddamn crucified me. hand on Margaret's ass. 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." Orlean closes the book. I'd like you to take me. sits there. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. hey.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. I don't know if it'll kill me. I'm banned. Hey. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. EMPTY BEDROOM . man. She dials the phone. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. Donald. but if it doesn't. I'll have something honest to give the world.pg. Hey. but. Yeah. dangerous. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. 'Course. 100 INT. You're the best. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * .
pg. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. DONALD Charles. I'm so glad to be home. Hey. Full of monstrous alligators. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. SWAMP . counted fifty and stopped. 104A EXT. I'm putting a song in. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. 104B INT. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. AIRPLANE . alligators." Donald looks up from his work.O.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. So. AIRPLANE .O. try to think of a song about multiple personality. impracticable. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. God.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. sweetie.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. ORLEAN (V.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. STUDIO APARTMENT . 105 INT.
CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. probably in the world. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. He tenses. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. pulls up his pants. AIRPLANE BATHROOM .. She sighs contentedly. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. and exits the bathroom. AIRPLANE . One of the stewardesses laughs. adjusts himself. Kaufman. Five or six. She regards Kaufman blankly.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. RENTAL CAR . The stewardess slips out of her blazer. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. stands. SWAMP . He takes notes. then goes back to her conversation. I've waited all day to feel you inside me. takes his seat. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. Okay. which is completely dry. ORLEAN (V. About that.) 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. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. 106 INT. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. He heads up the aisle.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God.O. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. Five to six thousand years old.pg. 107 INT. unbuttons her blouse..
NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger. ORLEAN (V.NIGHT Orlean types.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. So.. across the room reading a book. MIKE OWEN Well. nineteen to twenty. We've been going through a bit of a drought. or nineteen.O. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.pg. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. continues typing. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. holds a phone to her ear. It's about twenty miles long. I called Laroche. and right here it's about five miles wide. And I had this thought. 120 INT.O. She sighs. It was sweltering. again.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. She glances at her husband. Good for us today. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. three to five miles wide. four and a half. HOTEL ROOM . black water. ORLEAN (V. there's usually water. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. There were snakes and alligators. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. KAUFMAN Um. nineteen. 120 .) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. it's twenty miles long. five..
. fleeting and out of reach. Really unique. 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT.. ORLEAN Thanks very much. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean. (CONTINUED) .C. ORLEAN Yeah. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. Thank you.NIGHT Orlean. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved.pg. Laroche is such a fun character. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. thanks..clears throat) Jesus Christ. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me.) . PLANE . ORLEAN Well. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ". He hi-lites the passage. * VALERIE We're big fans. is on the phone. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine. And sad in a way. HOTEL ROOM . then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me. KAUFMAN (V.'" VALERIE (O. Thank you.) Beautifully written. 124 INT.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd. RESTAURANT . VALERIE It's funny and fresh.. John's a character all right. He finds himself lost in it.O. dirty from the swamp. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT.
VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. So I'll be doing that. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. more orchids. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay.DAY 128 * * * EXT. Orlean holds on. Florida Seminole reservation. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. um. we'd really like to option this. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. VAN . ORLEAN More John. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. 127 INT. These things mostly never get made. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. (CONTINUED) . the nursery lot. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. Orlean is charmed. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . ORLEAN I've got to write it first. but seems to be enjoying herself now. Random House wants me to expand it into a book.DAY 127 * * Laroche.pg. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character.
Orlean moves the junk over. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . shares the seat with it. Buster. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. I'll study the shit out of acting.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. TRAILER . looks at some papers on his desk. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. While you write. I'll take acting classes.pg. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number." That's a good title for the movie. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. 129 INT. Back! (hangs up) Hey. John. yes! Yeah. Before Orlean can respond. He waits. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. Now it's "Crazy White Man.
pg. There are tears welling in her eyes. BUSTER No kidding. BUSTER Listen. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. I'm really excited about. VAN . 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Laroche stops short. But I got it fixed. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. Orlean holds on. Her heart is breaking for him. what she can to make herself invisible. I been meaning to talk to you about that. Laroche looks back at Buster.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. so all the dead shrubs. He glances over at Orlean. BUSTER John. we're not closing shop.I got lot's of ideas. Simple plant multiplication for the masses. No. turn 'em into big ones. Buster. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead.. the guys on my crew here. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication.. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. Buy little ones. sell 'em at a profit. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. humiliated in front of her. So if it's a question of productivity -. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. Buster stares back. It's fixed. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. all they do is smoke weed all day. The sprinklers were busted for a while.
I'm pursuing other avenues. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. PHONE BOOTH . 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. crazy white man. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. Don't just abandon me down here. it's Susan.C.C. * . Crazy. Susan who? LAROCHE (O. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT. The room looks sad. If they fire me. Orlean dials the phone.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn.) ORLEAN . They can't fire me. LAROCHE (O.) I'm no longer interested in orchids.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. and anonymous.. It rings for a long time. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. LAROCHE (O. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . empty. And I ain't going to quit. There is nothing on the walls.. I'll sue.. 131 132 OMITTED INT. I already did some legal research on this. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John.pg. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more. Oooh.. We don't see Laroche at all.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. Look.C.
infant eyes. She is bored and distracted. a NOW button. There is no one to call. how perfect. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. her journalist persona on. so beautiful. I couldn't stop. sits in lecture halls. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. A blonde. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult.O.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. but it's a teenager's room now. HOTEL ROOM . on the floor are records and books. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. visits nurseries. lonely and lost. She is so pure. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona.pg. so present. Then I cried. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. attends orchid shows. OHIO. 66 134 INT. Laroche hangs up. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. GIRL'S BEDROOM . She flips through her address book. 137A INT. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. At one point. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. ORLEAN Goddamnit. it's starting already. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. TEENAGE GIRL (V.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. PHONE BOOTH . Susan. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. a tampax box. On the walls are posters of Dylan. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. And I thought. Orlean stands there for a moment. On the dresser. (CONTINUED) . make-up.
There's a silence. y'know. large the scope was and.. Yeah... After a few moments. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. okay. how. y'know.. what was it like for you. dolled-up. thanks for coming. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. Work good? Good. Yeah. She waves. 137C INT. VINSON I don't know. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. um. The phone rings. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. plays with her hair. Hey. ORLEAN Um.LATER 137B Orlean. eyes herself in the mirror. hon. She sips a glass of champagne.No. Okay.pg. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. I'll speak to you in the morning. okay. it might be late. I was just fascinated with this story and. She picks up. Not really. anxiously gets ready to go out. This should be really helpful. He saunters over and sits. So. 137B INT.. Vinson enters.. ORLEAN Yeah. Uh-huh. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. It must've been crazy! Boy. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. (CONTINUED) . HOTEL ROOM . Um. VINSON Sure thing. After a long beat she dials the phone. all the Native American aspects and. Let me call you in the morning. HOTEL BAR .A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. her trembly fingers. There's Vinson's phone number. honey.
68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off.. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. I just -. do you want to get laid or not. EMPTY HOUSE . He barely looks at her.. No. if -Ah. I just wanted to get some. DONALD How was Florida. Um. um. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . fuck. we can talk here. ORLEAN Oh. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. ORLEAN (cont'd) . Native American.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. DONALD Hey..this seems fine. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. Orlean just sits there. Orlean is at a loss. Y'know.Did I -communicate something? No.. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay.. ORLEAN Oh.. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. for me.. I apologize. Donald. look. She's shaking. typing furiously at his desk. no. She finishes her drink.. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back. here. I think we can -. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. he seems bored and impatient.pg. um. looks up. Gosh. so I thought it would be helpful. No. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. 138 139 OMITTED INT.
DONALD No. 140 INT. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. 141 142 OMITTED INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening.pg. EMPTY BEDROOM . (types. Good night. I've posted one over both our work areas. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. one of the greatest screenplays ever written. Okay. It's 3:32. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. his eyes darting back and forth. sweating. smiles. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . (lies down on floor) Hey. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. I got a song! "Happy Together. Donald breaks the tension. He looks over at the clock. it's just good writing technique. DONALD Cool. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. They look at each other. but Bob says Casablanca. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. Mixed genres. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. Donald." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. did exactly that. then:) Oh. Kaufman disappears upstairs. slept in a week. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed.
He stares at the photo.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. It seems somehow sleepy now.O. The photo smiles warmly at him. flips through it. Kaufman flips to the glowing. Kaufman studies her delicate. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. Its smile broadens. I'm losing my hair. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. Charlie. melancholy face. Donald is no longer in the room. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. smiling author photo. too many directions to go. making love. (CONTINUED) . There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. sad insights. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. Whittle it down. You're not. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. She smiles at him throughout. Kaufman closes his eyes. Focus on one thing in the story. He's in love. So true. begins to jerk off. KAUFMAN (V. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. He reads one. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. too. They finish. heaving. Kaufman switches on a lamp. It talks. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. I can't sleep. He looks at the still smiling photo. You've written a beautiful book. 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.pg.
Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up.. typing at her desk. It's like a * CAROLINE God. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. CAROLINE Really. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. KITCHEN .. smiles. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy.MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. haunted by loneliness. We hear her voice-over. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas.. fragile. beautiful. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. this morning. Hey.pg. hey. skinny as a stick. Morning. delicate. sees Caroline with Donald. enters with Caroline. in his underwear. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. really good ones.. too. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . I'm good. The killer flees on horseback with the girl." Donald. 143 INT.
A. She thinks. peasant blouse. that's the big pay-off. who is this man? She thinks.O. right? DONALD Hey. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. Like technology versus horses. Bergman's Persona. NOW button. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina.pg. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . EMPTY BEDROOM . L. EMPTY BEDROOM . 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. KAUFMAN (V. man. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. Thanks. distraught.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box." 149 EXT. STREET . Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. At him? 150 INT. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. DONALD Thanks. women snicker. why am I here? She thinks. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses. it sounds exciting.
I'm finding you. I love that. It now looks warm and inviting.pg. 152 153 INT. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. He smiles at Orlean's photo.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. sits on young Susan's bed and cries.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. It's intimate. and how it forever scars the little girl. Kaufman is immensely pleased. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. 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) . We see the loneliness of her childhood. like a marriage. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. Her drunken mother enters. EMPTY BEDROOM . her mother's disappointment at life. ORLEAN Not like a marriage.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. She kisses him on the cheek. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. get to merge our thoughts. The phone rings. 151 * * * * 152 INT. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. 73 151 INT. They kiss and fall onto the new couch.
Charlie.. As she sees fit.. for me it's distracting to. KAUFMAN I think really good now. It's Valerie. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi.. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. Great. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. How's everything going? Good. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. I'll let her know. All color drains from Kaufman's face.. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. well. Just bugging you again. Tell her I said that.. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. y'know. Say I think she's a great writer...pg. Okay. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow. So. KAUFMAN Um. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. uh-huh. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough.. Good. before I finish.
like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you. 154 INT.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. KAUFMAN (V. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. Maybe it's even smirking. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up. Charlie. but not at him. mocking the seriousness of what I do.pg.O. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do.O. Okay. Kaufman paces frantically. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. holding his stomach. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. EMERGENCY ROOM . EMPTY LIVING ROOM . She thinks. on the floor. It's still smiling. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean. Just keep us posted. It's not glowing. He smiles. doubles over. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall. KAUFMAN (V. KAUFMAN Nice talking to you.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. She glances over in his direction.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. She looks through him. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . Kaufman storms in. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. 155 INT. Caroline. 156 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM .) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot.) She thinks I'm repulsive. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. I'm completely selfinvolved. sips coffee and skims a magazine.
LAROCHE It's great is what it is. It's fascinating. fat. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. I know. His voice-over carpets the scene. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. but I still haven't seen a ghost. Charlie Kaufman. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. I'm doing pornography.O.NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. HOTEL ROOM . It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks.pg. how's it going? 161A INT. bald. old. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. look. Oh.) Movie opens. naked women adorn the walls. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. John! . yeah.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. And I was hoping. I'll take you in. I am fat. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. paces. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. "I am old.
Donald appears in the doorway with a script. (CONTINUED) * * * . to eat herself. DONALD I finished my script. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. 77 162 INT.NIGHT Kaufman types. Because at the end when he forces the woman. Also. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. ridiculous. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. The cassette player plays. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. I wanted to thank you for your idea. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. But. he's also eating himself to death. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. like. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. DONALD I don't know what that means. anyway. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. EMPTY BEDROOM . repugnant. I changed it a little. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. doesn't say anything. It was very helpful. who's really him. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. DONALD I don't think so.pg. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. It's.
It looks hot.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. Charles. I'm pathetic. It's eating itself. DONALD Hey. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. The car veers onto the shoulder. Because I have no idea how to write. I'll meet her. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. Charles. DONALD That's kinda weird. That's it. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . Orlean is tense. Because I suck. I'm fat and pathetic. paying little attention to the road. he lazily corrects it. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. DONALD I don't know what that word means. I'm eating myself. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. Oh. 163 164 OMITTED INT. It's pathetic. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. It's solipsistic. CAR . huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. Because I'm pathetic. It's narcissistic. That's what I have to do. I'm Ourobouros. You're an artist.pg. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel.
past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. y'know. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. We couldn't find one. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. Bees. (CONTINUED) . We walked for hours. desolate. I wanted to turn back. Frogs croak. Laroche points to a yellow flower. Encyclia tempensis. They drive in silence for a little while. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. something to pursue.O.most for something exceptional. I never thought many people in the world were like John. Birds screech.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. the hopeful journey through darkness into light.) He made it sound like a Bible story. there it'll be. But my mom said. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT. The ground is soft. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. not an aberration -. They sink to their knees.DAY Kaufman. walks along. LAROCHE Here we go. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . rather than abide an ordinary life. Things slither past in the water. even at their peril. if you keep searching for something past doubt. SWAMP . through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. Something big runs by in the distance. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. sweaty and anxious. and dragonflies hover. John. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. past hopelessness. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. ORLEAN (V. Laroche lights a cigarette. sun blasted.pg. 164A EXT. So we walked.
That's an ugly-ass orchid. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. The doors open. scraped. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. Not just pretty ones. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. The elevator arrives at the lobby. and faces front. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. Nobody gets off or on. Kaufman hates himself. 172 171 * * EXT. frizzed hair.pg. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. Kaufman sweats. studies the back of her head. dirty. isn't it? Orlean examines it. Kaufman sweats. Kaufman hesitates. ELEVATOR . Uh-huh. people get off and on. presses "lobby". I'll show you every orchid you want today. Kaufman is panicked. Orlean laughs appreciatively. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. 172 Kaufman follows her. I'm interested in all orchids. It stops a few times. NEW YORK CITY STREET . . This time Orlean gets on. Orlean gets out. You know that. Orlean looks at him blankly. The doors close. SWAMP . 169 170 OMITTED INT. I found you two already. anxious. Orlean is a sweaty mess.DAY Orlean walks along. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid. The elevator continues up. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. 171 EXT. Just follow me. But I'm no snob.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky.
The waitress nods and leaves. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. KAUFMAN (V. He paces. HOTEL ROOM . reading Vanity Fair. 81 173 INT. RESTAURANT . Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress.pg.O. Kaufman sits a few tables away. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair. KAUFMAN (V. 175 INT. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb. KAUFMAN (V. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. He scribbles in his notebook.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. He's frustrated.O. tries to tear them.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes. She watches him start off in one direction. LAROCHE We're not lost.) Reads Vanity Fair.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. then go in another direction. yanks the sheets from the bed. Good character details.NOON Orlean follows Laroche.O.) (cont'd) Likes tuna. stop. Interesting! 174 EXT. drinks iced tea.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself. KAUFMAN (V. SWAMP . (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * . hysterical. swings them wildly. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean.O. Thanks.
MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. KAUFMAN Marty. Good. (CONTINUED) . How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well.pg. fair enough. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. I mean. Y'know. still holding the glass. KAUFMAN I gotta go. Two fucking talented guys in one family. The phone rings. buddy. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. bends to pick up the broken glass. He answers it. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. don't say that. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. It's been okay. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. edgy thriller. Oh. Best script I've read this year. I have an appointment. Um. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. heaves. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. it's Marty.
knocks over the twig. He stretches his legs. He won't look at her. He looks up at her. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. She looks at Laroche. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. I'll just set this up. wait a few minutes. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. comes up with a straight twig.pg. her fists clench into balls. Laroche looks down at it. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. This relaxes Laroche. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. Without looking at Orlean. sees her staring at him. It is so. We want to be heading southeast. LAROCHE Well.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. he puts the twig back. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. SWAMP . stares at it. Orlean takes a cracker. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. She stares at him. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. amigo. Rage and panic sweep across her face. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. He pokes around on the ground for something. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working.
overweight men wandering the streets also.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. SWAMP . NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . 177 178 OMITTED EXT.) I am fat. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. and go straight ahead.MORNING Kaufman wanders. fuck the sundial. He eyes other sad-looking. .pg. The thing I like is that I'm immersed in it but it's not a living thing that's going to leave or die or something. I just say to myself. I mean. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. fat. screw it. Whenever everything's killing me. 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. 179 EXT. They rise. Laroche seems unaware. logically. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. bald man on the street. Orlean is stony. balding. can't write. There's a sadness. KAUFMAN (V. I am just one more old. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. look.O. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. I am old. we have to get out as long as we walk straight. Out of here. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. I am repulsive. some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere.
pg. NYC STREET . I am fat.O.. and always the imperative is too tell a story. I am panicked. KAUFMAN (V. a mic clipped to his lapel. 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. * * MCKEE So. The audience laughs. I am fat. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. I. (CONTINUED) * . walks toward it. First.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. 85 180 EXT. I am a loser.) I have failed. glowing in the sun. KAUFMAN (V.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. AUDITORIUM . except for Kaufman who looks pained. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. I have sold out. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. I am worthless.) I am pathetic. 182 INT.. last.O. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. Kaufman waits in line.. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze.. LOBBY .
Easy answers. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told.. just look around you.. "Flaccid. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action.. sloppy writing.." writes the guy on one side of him. McKee seems to watching him. Aristotle said. Kaufman looks up. (CONTINUED) . Well. Kaufman sweats. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. the result is decadence. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. startled. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. AUDITORIUM . "Any idiot. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new...pg. Rules to short-cut yourself to success." writes the guy on the other side. KAUFMAN (V.O. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience.) It is my weakness. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . And here I am. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. when storytelling goes bad in a society. my friends. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. I should leave here right now. 183 INT. (deadpan) Well. The audience members take copious notes.
wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. energetic as ever.LATER 185 186 * It's late. Real people are not interesting. The Greeks called it stykomythia -. The audience is tired.who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT.pg.the rapid exchange of ideas. A long speech in a script. There is no sound. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . one hour for lunch. 185 186 OMITTED INT. McKee. AUDITORIUM . holding a cup of coffee. We are not recreating life on the screen. Now Kaufman takes serious notes. NYC STREET .LATER STILL McKee faces the audience. His face is troubled. There's not a person in this world -. And that's an important point. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. say a page long. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. Writers are not tape recorders. AUDITORIUM . 184 EXT. but still attentive. Look at the second hand on your watch as it makes one complete rotation around the clock face and you'll get an idea of how intolerable that would be for an audience.and I include myself in this -. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. Kaufman wanders by himself. Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is.
More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . then. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. giggles a little. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. 188 INT. collapsing it. It's silent and tense. where people don't change. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. A violent fight ensues. He walks around the table. Kaufman. Kaufman can't get out of the way. AUDITORIUM . they don't have any epiphanies. That's it for tonight. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. HOTEL .pg. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. Aristotle rises to stretch. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. Out of nowhere. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . 190 INT.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed.MORNING Kaufman. Remember. with dark circles under his eyes. He turns. sits in the back. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. sips his coffee. bleary-eyed.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics.
right. 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. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. tired Kaufman approaches him. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. carrying his brown leather bag. Mr. thanks. Kaufman waits. 191 EXT. 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. leaning against the building. McKee emerges. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more.pg. Nice to see you. my friend.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. you'll bore your audience to tears. A shaky. 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. then you. okay. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. (CONTINUED) . MCKEE Oh. NYC STREET .
ORLEAN (V. KAUFMAN Mr. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. far down the diagonal of the levee.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon. we could see the gleam of a fender.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose.. 193 INT. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. SWAMP . ORLEAN (V. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk.O. and there. I don't meet people well. Please. MCKEE I'm sorry. KAUFMAN . McKee hesitates for a moment. my even standing here is very scary. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices.O. It's about my choices as a human being. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. looking only straight ahead.. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . McKee.pg. Kaufman closes the book.. 192 EXT.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. ORLEAN (V. Soon there is silence. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read.O.) 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. BAR . MCKEE I could use a drink.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. There's a pause.. my friend.
pg. McKee recognizes his bulk. You can have an uninvolving. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. He's the one who got me to come. but wow them at the end. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. I'm way past my deadline. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. acts. It's about disappointment. I wanted to present it simply. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. (beat) That's not a movie. McKee sips his beer. I can't go back. The last act makes the film. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. tedious movie. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. Kaufman hugs him. Find an ending. My twin brother Donald. Do that and you'll be fine. (CONTINUED) . 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. and you've got a hit. * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. eyes Kaufman. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles.
NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. Caroline giggles in the background. MCKEE (V. 196 INT. MCKEE'S OFFICE . 195 INT. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible.NIGHT McKee. He rubs his temples. tries to read Story. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . like Darwin before him.O. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. HOTEL ROOM .who wrote Casablanca were twins. Donald. Listen.pg. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. sits at his desk and writes. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. HOTEL ROOM . 196A INT. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. Julius and Philip Epstein. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. (CONTINUED) . 194 INT. dials the phone.) Climax.
It's been a wild ride. You should hang out with her. taking this all in. long moment. high-sixes against a mill-five. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. 196B INT. look.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. Um. Caroline. DONALD C'mon. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. and Donald laugh. HOTEL ROOM . KEENER (O. like. KAUFMAN Yeah. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. We're playing Boggle. I've been thinking. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days..pg. Donald. please. please. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. (CONTINUED) . Donald.C.. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. She's great. please. tipsy) Oh. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help.
like.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. subtext. Kaufman paces. I -- DONALD Hey. It's funny. I don't mind. huh? Sorry. I'm thinking. So. too. Y'know. Donald finishes. is quiet. Y'know. We're different talents. KAUFMAN I know. man. HOTEL ROOM . yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. Just for fun. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. KAUFMAN Good. Maybe you could read it. Like what? DONALD I don't know. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. if you like. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. KAUFMAN I was trying something. The great Donald. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. KAUFMAN So. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . Okay. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God.pg. Charles.
I have a reputation to maintain. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. but. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. You're reaching. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it.pg. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. DONALD Pretend I'm you. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book.. KAUFMAN I don't know. That's inconsistent. I can't. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. she said she didn't care about flowers. DONALD Is she? I mean." (looks up) First of all.. look. To know her. 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. KAUFMAN Really. (picks up Orchid Thief. You can't be an asshole. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. Charles. Someone's got to talk to her. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. of course she's that. DONALD Maybe. KAUFMAN For God's sake. yes. it's just a metaphor. I'll go. You can't be a goofball.
if you write a couple more books. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . I mean. dressed as Charlie. In the subtext. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. Thanks. mumbles under his breath. Donald scribbles. "You know. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. I was very interested in everything he had to say. It's an honor. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. Don't laugh how you laugh. You spend a lot of time together.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. (CONTINUED) * * * * . you could become a pretty good writer. I get to have people think I'm you. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. No bad jokes. 198 INT. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. Donald. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. By definition. DONALD So. doing his best serious writer impression. sits across from her. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. But the relationship ends when the book ends. No flirting. He said.pg." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. KAUFMAN You know what I mean.
Very good. Charles. I have an idea. 199 Donald * * * INT. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . She said all the right things.pg.DAY Kaufman paces.. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. HOTEL ROOM . watches TV. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. That's a prepackaged answer. just one more question. Einstein or Jesus. living or dead. Okay. DONALD She was nervous. dressed as Charlie. enters. stares out the window.. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. Too right. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. ORLEAN I'd have to say. She's lying. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true.
picks up a pen. Let's go. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. becoming more and more agitated. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. A conversation ensues. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . I do. want to be doing this. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT.) She's upset. KAUFMAN Well.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. and sings and dances around Kaufman. Leave. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door.S. who just stares at him. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. (CONTINUED) 201 . DONALD (O. She closes her office door. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. (talking) C'mon. Sadly. KAUFMAN Let's go. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. Orlean waits as the phone rings. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. window with binoculars. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer.pg. holds it like a microphone.
She's at her computer. Orlean looks out her window. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site.) Stop watching her. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES .CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. DONALD Anyway. Tomorrow morning. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * .pg. 202 * 201 INT. who watches through binoculars. HOTEL ROOM . I thought she was done with Laroche. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. 202 She starts to cry. Leave her alone.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No." 203 INT.S. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys. Heh heh. Donald. Don't tell my old lady. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. I'm gonna look at it. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. Research. DONALD That was no parent phone call. She hung up the phone. DONALD She's crying. DONALD United to Miami. my friend.
(waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. posed but awkward. You wait here. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. gets out. the van speeds off. Forget it. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. KAUFMAN I said. Donald behind the wheel. guess what? We're going to Miami. which speeds and swerves through traffic.LATER 206 Donald follows. Hey.pg. goes over to the computer. (CONTINUED) * . SUBURBAN STREET . naked photo of Orlean. The beat-up white van pulls up. RENTAL CAR . nervous. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. Kaufman is sweaty. DONALD I'll get a closer look. Orlean gets in. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom.A BIT LATER Donald drives. 204 INT. No. C'mere. oh yeah. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. no. DONALD I said. Donald parks up the street. CAR . 205 INT. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. keeping up with the van. baby.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. middle-class house. Kaufman and Donald drive by. 206 EXT. incredulously at it. Told ya.
.. locks eyes with Kaufman. 207 INT. ORLEAN Who's that.. oblivious. snorts some lines of green powder. looks in. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. undressing each other. it's my. Orlean pulls away giggling. I'm just.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house. drags him into the house. have slipped. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. Kaufman gets out of the car. There's movement in a window in ducks. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. He slinks around back. Laroche glances at the window. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. DONALD Go for it. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window.. The chair slides across the floor. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows.) Darlin'. He adjusts them. right? I mean. crawls to the coffee table. bro. HOUSE . I mean. peruses house. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. You the man. Laroche waits patiently. Orlean. kissing. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. continues to rub herself. Laroche cuts him off. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter.pg. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. Donald gets Kaufman's script. Orlean studies Kaufman. it should be me. How did he find me. tips over. Wrong house. Orlean and Laroche are laughing. in. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. I should go.S... nobody.
What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. Laroche begins to write his phone number. of course not. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse.I don't know that. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. Orlean rises. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. it was nice to meet you. don't let him leave. ORLEAN I'm freaking. Laroche looks at Susan. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. John. LAROCHE Okay.pg. Let me give you my number. Did you follow me? I should go. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. Orlean tries to focus. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. Kaufman rises. Well. 'kay? Kaufman does. dude. ORLEAN Shit.
I'm pretty clear on the structure. She looks up. right? LAROCHE Good point. I don't know. She talks to herself for a while. I was just -. Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. Well. LAROCHE Oh. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. Suze. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) .I'm just down here to see the swamp. Hold him. Kaufman rises. Orlean massages her temples. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. gestures to herself. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. anyway. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. LAROCHE I believe him. he's researching his script. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know.pg. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. I'm almost done.
pg. LAROCHE (O.S. 208 Laroche closes the door. I understand. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry. Kaufman gets in. Thank you. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. 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. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. you need to calm down. we can't kill anyone. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces.) Susie. Charlie. I have to think.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. He listens. * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. LAROCHE Yeah. * (CONTINUED) . deliberate) Susie. LAROCHE I'm sorry. INT. CLOSET . okay. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked.
CONTINUOUS Unnoticed.S.) Protect me. She glances down at his off-screen hand.S. ORLEAN (O. descends the basement stairs. holes here.S. chews her fingernail and cries. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. He sifts through a cardboard box. in close-up. Please. Laroche and Orlean. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . a little hysterically. turns it on. pacing foreground figures. Johnny. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. BASEMENT . finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. 208B INT.S.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. 208A INT.S. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. The bartender shakes a drink.) Then what? Everyone will find out. in close-up. Donald watches the goings-on. blurry. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. in close-up. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb.S. occasionally pass between Donald and the camera.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O. He passes behind her.pg. large. LAROCHE (O.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. 209 INT. his pants fall down. Kaufman inhales sharply. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .) I think you just stick them in. Laroche turns it off. There's a long sweaty silence. his face lights up red.
That sounds like a real thing that could happen. I didn't really do it.S. that's sort of creepy. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something. KAUFMAN It's a story. suburban Miami neighborhood. KAUFMAN (O. no. I don't care what you're doing. I -ORLEAN (O.) You have a car.pg.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned.) Okay. 210 INT.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.S.S. ORLEAN Hey. God. KAUFMAN Look.S. holding a gun. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph. I'm really just interested in orchids.S. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. They drive in silence. here's me again! (mockingly reading from screen) "Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O.) I.S. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. RENTAL CAR . She skims Kaufman's screenplay." Jesus. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock. there's an image I could do without. um. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . like he was doing research. ORLEAN (O.) Of course he does. Orlean sits next to him.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. LAROCHE (O.
ORLEAN (cont'd) So. Get a cup of coffee. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. KAUFMAN We can turn around. if you don't tell me. this isn't easy for me either. I'm laughing at who I used to be. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. KAUFMAN You can laugh. you don't have to kill me. ORLEAN Yeah. I'll sign anything. I'll tell you the truth now. That's a quote from your book. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. From a weirdo with no teeth. It's sad. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. I do. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. ORLEAN Listen. but I didn't make that up. We can do whatever you want.pg. KAUFMAN Look. Bully for you. I know. We can forget I ever came here. Can we do that? We can talk this out. Charlie-boy. ORLEAN (considers) No. Chill. It was orchids. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * ." Orlean laughs derisively.
SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER . my porn site is gonna be big.. 211A INT. I think this might help you. I want to tell you. I want you to know this.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp. long as I'm here. They drive in silence.) I'd just started up the nursery. Orlean stares out the window. No reaction. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. LAROCHE Might as well grab it... but some of the Indians.. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you.DAY Laroche drives. circles it. SWAMP . stands there awestruck. something I didn't tell you. 211B EXT.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. can't. ORLEAN It's a flower. He spots something on a tree. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look. . okay? I know you're going through some shit. It wasn't my thing. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. It's just a flower. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag.. I went back one night to pick up something. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan. LAROCHE (V. About the ghost. VAN . 108 211 EXT.pg..O.
they ran out. LAROCHE It does that.. A bunch of young. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. I want to do this. TRAILER BACK ROOM . As I said. too. That's what I wanted to tell you. It had been a ceremonial thing.pg.. Susie. My hair. Oh. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. like I told you.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. they liked to get stoned. . I think you'd like it. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. 109 211C INT. My sadness.DAY Orlean seems interested now. Vinson lived on that shit. Laroche. One sings to himself. I know how. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. but -Vinson. Some stare off. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. but the young guys. Y'know. stoned Indian men. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. your sadness is fascinating to me. I watched. Two of the men make out. fascinated. 211D INT. VAN .NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room. It seems to help people be. Jesus. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug.O.
trying to remember her room number. a little tipsy. paces. Her name is written on it. The place is empty. ORLEAN I was so sad that night. HOTEL ROOM . sniffs inside. Orlean hangs up. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. Maybe I could get laid. you should. if you're not going to let me go. picks it up. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. 211H INT. RENTAL CAR . There's a small package outside one door. Please. He needs to hear how you feel. (CONTINUED) . 110 211E INT. Yeah.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed.NIGHT Kaufman drives. HOTEL BAR . hon. Something.NIGHT So drained. HOTEL HALLWAY . He's pasty white with fear. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. 211I INT. stares at it. puts it down. You too. 211F INT. talks on the phone. Okay. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces.pg. hovers over the green powder. All right then.NIGHT 211H Orlean. ORLEAN (V. picks up the baggie. HOTEL ROOM . rolls it up.) I went down to the bar. let me be. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. reviews some notes. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. This must be her room. He's barely listening. 211G INT.O. Friday. you should. I didn't know.
on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. stands. 211J INT.O. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. doesn't. who really cares about anything anymore. HOTEL ROOM . I figured. HOTEL ROOM . She sighs. How exquisite! She cries. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. She feels nothing. holding the phone to her ear. It's so beautiful. She tries to open the window for a better look.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. rolls it around in her fingers.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. She tugs at a strand. She snorts the rest. on the scrubbing sound. She's never seen anything more beautiful. She watches her grinning face with love. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. 211L INT. I figured. sniffs it. 211K INT. She snorts a small amount. discovers it does not open.pg. sucks it. tries to feel something. HOTEL ROOM ." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. stands again. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. She tries to sing along with it. 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. She bends in to the mirror for a better look.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . HOTEL BATHROOM . what the hell.) (CONT'D) I figured. 211M INT. what the fuck. Ms. listening to the dial tone. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. dully watches herself in the mirror. She giggles. the colors. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin.
. to you. ORLEAN Well. ORLEAN Good night. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. ma'am. Orlean dials again. ma'am. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. Okay. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that.pg.? ORLEAN In your dial tone. Operator. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. ma'am. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. eight to five-thirty. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. It's so pretty.. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours.
There's a pause. I'm very happy now. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. pitch. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. She listens to it. Finally she remembers. I'm glad. LAROCHE She studies her feet. . ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John.pg. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. all the time. forgets to pick up the phone. She imitates a dial tone. Hello? Hi. ORLEAN Johnny. John. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. stares at the ceiling. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. There's a pause. The phone rings. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. ORLEAN John. that would be so helpful.
Do you like socks.pg. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. ORLEAN Huh. 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. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. 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. too? Yes. Okay. 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. I think toes should be with their fellows. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. LAROCHE They will be. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. I do. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. .
too. y'know. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. We're twins. Like my mom. except someone else. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. RENTAL CAR . 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. Kaufman stares straight ahead. ORLEAN We spoke all night. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . understand me. HOTEL ROOM .pg.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. Here. Please think about what you're doing. She stares out the window at the early morning light.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor. Nobody liked me. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. I'm a person. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. just like you. Johnny. 212B INT. on the phone. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. someone would come around and just. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. but not talking.
I wasn't guilty about my marriage. and quietly say. It'd send someone. just like that. I couldn't care. pale and sweaty. Adapting. Laroche seems clumsy. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. Orlean is flabbergasted. Alive. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. Orlean looks with love at these items. then at Laroche's straining face. Not like that. She remains silent. Orlean smiles. lost in her story. The back doors are open.NIGHT Kaufman drives. She pulls him to her and kisses him. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. The junk is pushed to the sides. I won't go back. 212C INT. a bag of soil. Back. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. "yes". And I wouldn't be alone anymore. 212D INT.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. John. . back on the book. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. she'd look at me.pg. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. I was just there. VAN . They pass very few cars now. ORLEAN Back in New York. RENTAL CAR . Laroche starts to cry. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. I couldn't focus. anyway. She glances past Laroche at the moon. Or fantasizing about someone else. You will not take this away. who stares straight ahead.
She types at the computer standing up. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. but we should introduce this to the general public. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD .. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .. ORLEAN So.NIGHT Orlean paces. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. Suze. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. is why. RENTAL CAR . The sun is warm on her skin. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. 117 212E INT. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene. A Laroche kind of plan. all the way to the road.DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids. Orlean lies on the grass outside. Done. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. it ain't controlled.. (dials phone) Yeah. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. (back to business) The cool part is... hi. and we followed it.NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive. darlin'. if I do say. like a beacon.pg. I need a ticket to Miami. Make a shitload of change.. 214 INT. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. transfixed by a colony of ants. LAROCHE Well. There are no other cars. I like you. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. They're very shiny...
Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. on the floor in the back. SWAMP . searching for flashlights. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. 215 EXT. We see the lovely Coke can. ORLEAN Come around. LOGGING ROAD . 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. We call it "Passion. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. Kaufman does.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. gun on him. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . 216 217 OMITTED EXT. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. he sees Donald. Laroche is in the rear of his van. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. trip over unseen vines. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . getting some equipment. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. wild-eyed.pg. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. hitting her and sending her flying. Laroche parks behind. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. please. 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. 218 EXT. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. blocking him in.
C. ORLEAN (O. LAROCHE (O.) That's all I could tell. I couldn't move.pg. Their voices get far away. (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized. LAROCHE (O. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. They sit and wait in silence. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Donald. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp. * * * Thanks.) I know.C. All right. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now. DONALD I don't think so. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. I've wasted my life. I get that. DONALD You did not.) This really complicates things. Orlean and Laroche are very close now.C.) We need to split up.) It was a guy? Fat. * LAROCHE (O. The beams search the darkness near the brothers. ORLEAN (O. KAUFMAN They're going to find us.C. * Laroche and Orlean move off. And you're not gonna die. I've wasted it. John. breathing hard.C. God. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake.
218 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN it. I admire you, Donald, I spend my whole life paralyzed what people think of me and you just oblivious. 218
I wasted y'know? worrying - you're
DONALD I'm not oblivious. KAUFMAN No, you don't understand. I say that as a compliment. I really do. (beat) There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh. DONALD Oh, God. I was so in love with her. KAUFMAN I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was really sweet to you. DONALD I remember that. KAUFMAN Then when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. It was like they were laughing at me. You didn't know at all. You seemed so happy. I knew. DONALD I heard them. * * *
KAUFMAN How come you looked so happy? DONALD I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. can love whoever I want. KAUFMAN She thought you were pathetic. DONALD That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago. (CONTINUED)
218 CONTINUED: (3) Kaufman and Donald sit there for a long while in silence. Kaufman starts to cry softly. What's up? Thank you. For what? DONALD (cont'd) KAUFMAN DONALD 218
Slogging sounds. Orlean and Laroche are getting close again. Flashlight beams miss Kaufman and Donald by inches. ORLEAN (O.C.) We looked here already. No. LAROCHE (O.C.)
ORLEAN (O.C.) I recognize this tree. LAROCHE (O.C.) Suzy, I know every tree in here. ORLEAN (O.C.) I'm thinking this is a bad idea, John. On Orlean and Laroche. LAROCHE What do you mean? ORLEAN It was the Pash. My head is clearing now and suddenly this whole idea seems completely fucked up. LAROCHE Well, y'know, I said that. I said this was crazy. I tried to reason with -I know. ORLEAN I'm sorry. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED)
LAROCHE Yeah, anyway, what do we do now? ORLEAN Maybe we talk to the guy. killing people. We can't go
218 CONTINUED: (4) LAROCHE If you recall, that's what I said before. ORLEAN I made a mistake. want from me? Jesus. What do you 218 * * * * * * * * * * Donald * * * * *
Laroche shakes his head, mutters, then: LAROCHE (calling) Charlie! We're not going to hurt you. We just want to talk! On Kaufman and Donald. shakes his head "no." They look at each other.
ORLEAN We're really sorry!
It's just that...
The flashlights shine elsewhere and the voices go far away. DISSOLVE TO: 219 EXT. SWAMP - EARLY MORNING 219
The light is gray, pre-dawn, murky. Donald and Kaufman are asleep. Donald awakens, looks around. The rental car is still there, but there's no van. Donald nudges Kaufman. He wakes, looks at Donald, who indicates the missing van. They gone? KAUFMAN
DONALD I don't know. Maybe. They quietly slog toward the road. There's no sign of Laroche or Orlean. Donald looks back and smiles at Kaufman. They're getting out of here. Kaufman feels a new, profound affection for his brother. He pats Donald on the back. It's an awkward tap, something never attempted before. Donald gives a cheerful thumbs-up without looking back. They arrive at the car. Donald is heading around to the passenger side and stops dead in his tracks. Kaufman looks over to see what's caught Donald's eye: there, sitting propped against a tree, sleeps Laroche, his rifle on the ground next to him. Kaufman and Donald are momentarily frozen. Then: ORLEAN (O.S.) (in the distance) John! (CONTINUED)
John! ORLEAN (O. Kaufman finds the keys. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys. 220 INT. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. Donald yelps. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving.pg. Donald is hit in the arm. from around a curve. starts the car. Kaufman gets in behind him. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. To everyone's surprise it fires. The driver's side airbag deploys. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. (CONTINUED) * * .S. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. Give me some of that shit. spaced on pash. doesn't know what to do. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. RENTAL CAR . They pass Orlean next to the van. Then. the front of his body a bloody mess. looks nice. Donald flies through the windshield. Laroche approaches the car. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. a ranger truck comes barreling.
Orlean and Laroche arrive. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. He bolts into the swamp. Bad car accident.B. He angles in to cut him off. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. Kaufman must be next. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. heave. She can't look down at Owen. 221 EXT. fascinated. approaching from down the road. she looks horrified. Orlean's eyes well with tears. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C. at the body of Donald. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. is confused. sees Kaufman running into the woods. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. but fading fast. KAUFMAN Donald. MIKE OWEN We need help here. Her mouth is open. SWAMP . Logging road twelve. A battered-looking. She follows. It's only right. it's gonna be okay. You're gonna be okay. Donald is dead. Donald's eyes close. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. gain on Kaufman and limit his options.pg. stop. There's nowhere to go. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. To think about the one you love. Alligators swim in it.. I do. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. He slumps to the ground. Just don't go to sleep. The three stare at each other. running from two different directions.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. Kaufman starts to sing. sees the two Kaufmans. Kaufman stares at the body.. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. who is conscious. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. (CONTINUED) .
221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. drops her gun. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something .pg. then looks to Kaufman. I did everything wrong. stunned. KAUFMAN No.An alligator: it awakens. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. dude. maybe. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. I want to be new. Kaufman watches. Orlean collapses into a heap. Everything is a lie. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. Laroche is dead. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. Kaufman watches. The sun is rising. I think it can touch people. old. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. Orlean looks at his body. desperate. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. She glows. Let me be a baby again. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. I want to be new. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. I want my life back. suddenly feeling so much for this person. Orlean screams. that helps other people feel not so lonely. I'm not a killer. I want it back before it got all fucked up. startled and angry. Everything's over. KAUFMAN Your writing. sobbing. shooting crazily until it's dead. It helped me. His rifle fires at nothing.
KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. Make it really comfortable in here. * * MOTHER I worry about you. MOTHER You should get some furniture. Charles. That's a good thing. That's all. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. Wordlessly. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. * (CONTINUED) . mom. Yeah. I just wanted. They look at each other from across the room. I'm going to get a couch. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. some overstuffed chairs. they meet in the middle and hug. both crying. KAUFMAN I know.. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. Susan.pg.. I just wanted. There's a silence. I think. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. a coffee table. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT.
KAUFMAN No. but -I don't know.pg. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. MARGARET'S OFFICE. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. I'm almost done! Great! ready. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. KAUFMAN That sounds good. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. (deep breath. KAUFMAN Thank you. I came by for a reason. 225 INT. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. hugs him. Margaret.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. I understand. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain. He meets her gaze. * She look compassionately into his face. MARGARET You able to work at all. Thanks. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. really. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. I'm just stupid. Margaret looks up. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. They sit. KAUFMAN Knock knock. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) .
128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. so he plows on. say. waits in line with his validated ticket. thanks for telling me. I don't have to get anything back. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today.um. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. I'm just saying. embarrassed) So. (laughing. MARGARET That sounds good. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. That's really great. in the parking garage. CAR . gets up. Margaret. I'm glad you're in the world. Hey. Kaufman smiles. Wow. Hey. anyway. Okay then. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . I'm glad I know you is all. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. Margaret appears in front of his car. being honest. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. nervously kisses him. I mean. looking a little pale. Stupid job. Charlie. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. y'know. thanks for being in the world. I'll send you the script when it's done.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. MARGARET Wow. 226 INT. I can love you.pg. can't. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. Kaufman rolls down his window. I'm not saying that at all.
Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . The way fish can't see the ocean. that sounds good. Hurt each other. runs around the front of the car. They drive off. and hops in the passenger side. FADE TO BLACK. That's what I've come to realize. Lieutenant." . both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. And so we envy each other. 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. both staring ahead. 'Cept we can't see the body. Hate each other. Like cells in a body. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. hooky before. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell.pg.
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