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