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