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