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