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