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