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