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