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