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