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