This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board. If there are Indians in the swamp. his nose. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. OFFICE . TONY Barry. Mosquitoes land on his neck. whispers into his C. Indians in the swamp. watches the vehicles through binoculars. pale-eyed.. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth.B. He pulls over down the road. Tony clears his throat into the radio.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. It's Susan Orlean: pale. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat. RANGER'S TRUCK . and come to rest on a woman typing. they are in there for a reason. 8 INT. He straightens his cap. 7 INT. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. It was after reading a small article about a white man and three Seminole men arrested with rare orchids they'd stolen out of a place called. gets out of the truck. Nothing.S. delicate and blond. ORLEAN (V. TONY We got Seminoles. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty. Tony glowers.pg.MID-MORNING Tony. Indians do not go on swamp walks..O. in the swamp. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. Tony waits for a response. No response. skinny as a stick. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford. . a ranger. his lips. Nothing.
her breasts. Thank you. L. looks down. They pick at salads. She thinks I'm old. She sees him seeing her watching it. She looks up at him. it's no fun. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. 4 9 INT. They are. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. He quickly swabs. sits with Valerie. He blanches.. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. We are. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. wow. She thinks I'm fat. it is.. KAUFMAN Oh. KAUFMAN That's. Valerie watches it. thanks. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline.MIDDAY Kaufman.A. wearing his purple sweater sans tags.pg. Boy. I appreciate that. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. Kaufman sees her watching it. That's nice to hear. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. Uncomfortable silence. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. her hair. She -VALERIE We think you're great. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. She looks at her salad.
Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. sprawling New Yorker stuff. isn't he? Kaufman nods. Great. I'd want to remain true to that.. Well. I mean. great. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. Indians..pg. great. Plus her musings on Florida. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. VALERIE Okay. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of. Like. too. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. His brow is dripping again. stalling. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. and also not force it into a typical movie form. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. So. let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. flips through the book. KAUFMAN Oh. In one motion.... what you're saying. KAUFMAN First. I like to let my work evolve. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. I'm intrigued. pretends not to notice.. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means. VALERIE Oh. I think it's a great book. orchid poaching. That sounds interesting. an orchid heist movie or something. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. KAUFMAN Absolutely.
VALERIE That's what we're thinking. 10 INT. a soulful development executive.DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically.pg. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. It wouldn't happen. it didn't happen. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. CALIFORNIA. but we can't make out the words. I feel very strongly about this. Life isn't like that. Margaret. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. or car chases. Valerie is quiet. I don't want to cram in sex. Kaufman appears in the open doorway. unpack boxes. fake. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers... I mean. KAUFMAN Knock knock. Audubon posters. Definitely. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. OFFICE . Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. lots of books. Y'know? The book isn't like that. It just isn't. but to me -. Or characters learning profound life lessons. Margaret turns. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. or guns.
Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. KAUFMAN (smiles. Margie! MARGARET Well. MARGARET Anyway. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. Margaret sits down next to him. Take a load off. just wanted to say hello. nods) So.. Kaufman laughs. such an awful picture. with Robert? Oooh. Mostly crap. sits on the couch. about flowers. Kaufman enters. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. KAUFMAN You looked great. There's one you might like. congratulate you on the promotion.pg. It's all so stupid. God. Very very cool. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . thanks. at the closeness. MARGARET Oh. KAUFMAN It's great. covers by talking.. Come in. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. Pretty fancy office. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. So what's with you? man.
. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. MARGARET I don't care.pg. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled.. yelling) I don't care. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. it would be you. (hangs up. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. man. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. Thanks. And it sounds exciting. You're all the recommendation I need. he's scored. Robert. somebody needs to save us all. I dunno. sex and drug deals and violence. About orchids.. Cool. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. (looking up. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. MARGARET You should definitely do it. MARGARET Susan Orlean. MARGARET I'll read it. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. Jesus. (presses button on phone) Andy.
SWAMP . until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. closer. miserable.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH.pg. The Indians ignore him. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. They trudge. Laroche stares at a single beautiful. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff. 13 (CONTINUED) .MORNING Hot. closer. Although. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. Russell. That I can't speak to. He stops. 12 EXT. 13 INT. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. maybe you fellas specifically. Then. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. 11 EXT. His eyes widen in reverent awe. Laroche spots something else. dirty. Soon there are millions of them. circles the tree. MURKY POOL OF WATER . Russell pulls out a hacksaw. begins sawing through the tree. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. RESTAURANT .MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. tenderly caresses the petals. you can teach me. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. He points out a turtle on a rock. KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water. A ghost. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down.
PET STORE (1972) . The boy returns to his search. 14 INT. I don't want to get by on quirkiness. who is sitting with a frail. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. It's like. BOY Any animal at all.pg. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium.. ma? She nods sweetly. I want to think differently. listless. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence.plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. He turns to his frumpy mother. My stuff tends to be weird. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. KAUFMAN Thanks. That's nice to hear. As Blake said. anemic-looking little girl.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. KAUFMAN Yeah. studying the inhabitants. show people heaven in a wildflower. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. This one. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. at a small turtle in an aquarium.. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . But I'm ready to challenge myself.
Margaret raises a glass. (He takes a breath) Hey. Sure. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT .MORNING As Laroche supervises. 16 INT. Russell. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely.pg. Randy. He's a naturalist. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. thrilled. (CONTINUED) * * * . All I do is tell him how great you are. this guy I'm seeing. would enjoy it. I'm just so pleased you liked it. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. too. I think David. man. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. He probably hates you already. of course. clicks glasses. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. Kaufman. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. SWAMP . 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. KAUFMAN God. The book is just amazing.
okay. The entrees arrive. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good. He can no longer look up at Margaret. so. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know.. anyway. a long time ago.. He's just honest and smart...pg.. MARGARET (cont'd) . KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .. MARGARET You'll like him. right? KAUFMAN Um. (to waiter) Thanks.. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business. Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. Uh-huh. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel.. I'm sure you know. You've read that. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true. in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. A bit. MARGARET So I was lying there. (to Kaufman) . Y'know. long time ago... MARGARET Well.. 16 Oh... I mean. KAUFMAN He sounds great. David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. kind of post-coital dreamy.
Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. 17 EXT. BARNES AND NOBLE . So whereas human history spirals forward. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET .. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover.pg.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm. he studies their interaction. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians.O. Tony tenses. small blind jellyfish collide. but rather cyclically. building upon itself.DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. Her eyes. that nature doesn't exist historically. The radio crackles.. the body language. 18 INT. her lips. the way she looks at him. As she rings him up. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. She pulls down her sleeve. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . TROPICAL RIVER . TONY (cont'd) (into the radio. she expresses no interest in him. ORLEAN (V. With every fiber of his being. OCEAN . recoil. carries them to the register.. 20 INT. and hover.DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 . sweaty and mosquito bitten. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going. 19 EXT.NIGHT Orlean types. nature. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard.. who haul the pillowcases. 21 EXT.MORNING Tony waits.
pg. ORLEAN (V.O.O. (CONTINUED) .DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff. ORLEAN (V. steals his boat. clutching a flower. Laroche smiles warmly. limping. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river. ORLEAN (V.) (cont'd) . ORLEAN (V... 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo. and dysentery.) Augustus Margary survived toothache. ORLEAN (V. 23 24 OMITTED EXT.O. Someone steps from behind a bush. CLIFF . JANES SCENIC DRIVE . RIVER .DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated. docks his boat. pleurisy.O.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck. sir.. you absolutely may.) Schroeder fell to his death. rheumatism.. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes.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. The murderer sails down river. 22 EXT.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. stabs him. 25 EXT.
. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . TONY Exactly. TONY Okay. Okay then! Let's see. even though he has no idea. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. one of. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. that's exactly the issue. Florida v. I'm asking then. Tony nods. (afterthought) Oh. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. what. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. LAROCHE Oh. LAROCHE Yes. They give it. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. sir.pg. sir. 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. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. James E. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. one peperomia. Billie. nine orchid varieties. it is. Every one of them. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. I'm sure. Did I mention that? You're familiar. Well.. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. This is a state preserve.
Tony looks at the Indians. That's exactly what we use them for. I believe. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah. I can't let you fellas go yet. ORLEAN (V.O. Chickee huts.pg.. RUSSELL He's right. which. the wilderness disappears before your eyes.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. everything is always growing or expanding. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle... (into radio) Hey.) (cont'd) . they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. Orlean drives past endless swampland. Yeah. ORLEAN (V.O. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile. ORLEAN (V. Yeah.. but I don't. Yeah. Barry.O.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot. At the same time.. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT. Just hold on while I.. * 26 * . Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation.. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks.. RENTAL CAR .
Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. Two teenage girls walk by. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. 17 27 INT. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy. whither. 29 EXT. then starts to weep inconsolably. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. the plants grow. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence.) I am fat. I am repulsive.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. 30 INT.pg. 28 EXT. his identical twin brother. you'll be glad. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. and climbs the stairs. HOTEL ROOM . continues down the hall. * (CONTINUED) ." The girls giggle. In a time lapse sequence. regards himself glumly. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. KAUFMAN (V. die.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed. my own reflection. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE . Orlean finishes organizing her stuff. DONALD (cont'd) Hey. RIVER'S EDGE . EMPTY HOUSE . Charles. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso.O. KAUFMAN What's with you? My back.
" Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan. (CONTINUED) * .S.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret. from under his pillow. But I'm doing it right this time. I forgot. don't say "industry.S. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry. this guy knows screenwriting. buddy. KAUFMAN Donald. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you.pg. DONALD Yeah. He gets lost in the picture. clipped from a trade paper. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. I'll pay you back.) In theory I agree with you. People come from all over to study his method. Charles. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. EMPTY BEDROOM . I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes. enters his bedroom. DONALD (cont'd) Okay. DONALD (O. DONALD (O. paper back under his pillow. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. okay.
Go. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. And a writer should always have that goal. (lies down. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I never saw it. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. okay. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. principle says. not building a model airplane. you must do it this way. McKee writes: "A rule says. There's definitely a flower in that. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. go ahead. Hey. fuming. KAUFMAN Look. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. Sorry.. keep going. principles. Kaufman waits. is just -DONALD Not rules. Donald. it's about flowers. Okay.. Sorry. and anybody who says there are. stares at ceiling) Okay. Writing is a journey into the unknown. this works.pg. There was a book -DONALD Oh. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. I apologize. and has through all remembered time. Okay. And it's not a movie. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. Donald stares at the ceiling. Getting no response. my point is. there're no guidelines. So.
33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. is . and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. Kaufman's head is spinning...DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter.. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window.. uniformed people. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 . EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Are you a former Fulbright scholar.O. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers.pg. The pillowcases have been emptied. They seem to be enjoying Donald. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata. Lots of sweating. a conditional and conditioning.. A guy sprinkles water on them. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. an opposited.DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. He says good-bye and walks happily away. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar.) (CONT'D) Each being is.. He puts the book down. because posited. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite. bored and smoking. 32 INT.. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch. LIBRARY .LATE MORNING Ranger. LAROCHE . 32A INT. GIRL Bye. puffs out her cheeks. The Indians lean against their car.. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. SWAMP . sheriff. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. my friend. and what we have here.
A very good haul. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U.S. Tem-pen-sis. KAUFMAN I can do that. (CONTINUED) . I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. let's see. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. LAROCHE Yeah.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. the ghost orchid. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. KAUFMAN Yeah. KAUFMAN Hi. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. Mr. Two Catopsi Floribunda. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. So. Laroche. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. What I really came for. y'know. 35A INT. I do. except in your swamp. Bug spray. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. EMPTY KITCHEN . But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful.pg. you really know your plants.
you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators. buzzing. something they won't easily bite through. You'll be trudging through acidic. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. Donald. Kaufman. And the water's black. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. Donald lies on the floor. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good.. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat.O. bored. heavy pants. thighhigh water.) The most memorable. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. ancient family of perennial plants with. so you won't be able to see the snakes. EMPTY DINING ROOM . So a strong boot. Long sleeves. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. Mosquito netting.. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. With Deet. DONALD (V. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find.pg. gray could. Heavy. Okay.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. looks over at Donald.
pg. I hear she's really good with structure. space. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world.) Do not proliferate characters... maybe you and mom could collaborate. Anyway.) The Orchidaceae is a large. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch. And. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29. Rather than hopscotching through time. mom's paying for the seminar.." KAUFMAN Hey." DONALD Sorry. telling of my story to her. and people.O. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. okay? The two glare at each other. past prefab housing. I'm really gonna write this. 37 * * * * * . They go back to their books... ORLEAN (V. And you'll see. ancient family of perennial plants with. RENTAL CAR .. do not multiply locations. he's Charlie's twin.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. DONALD You think you're so superior. you suck.. she loved my.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation. DONALD (V.. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah.. Charles. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way. 37 INT.O.O. Well. Anyway.. and.
I have extensive experience with orchids.pg. 24 38 INT. LERNER Finally. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. Mr. This is laboratory work. COURT ROOM . and a Hawaiian shirt. is on the stand. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. KAUFMAN (V. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. (stops. . the tribe's lawyer. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. thinks. (stops. Alan Lerner. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map. 39 INT. Thank you. Laroche. I'm a professional plant lecturer. questions him. He turns to his typewriter. Laroche. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. both in magazine and book form. not at all like your nursery work.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. Orlean hurries in. types) A white van appears from around a curve.O. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth.DAY The proceedings are in progress. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. EMPTY BEDROOM .) We open on State Road 29. This is John Laroche. sits in the back. I'm a published author.
Kaufman squints at his brother. I'm just trying to do something. wet. See.NIGHT Kaufman. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . BARNES AND NOBLE . A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. he's being hunted by a cop. waits. She becomes. in bed masturbating. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. sits up. like. She catches him and smiles with red. and in the process he falls in love with her. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. 41 DONALD Look. the unattainable. like the Holy Grail. right -Kaufman groans. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. pierced lips. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity.pg. then in pitch mode:) Okay. 41 INT. wait. EMPTY BEDROOM . He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. man. lies down. Even though he's never even met her. there's this serial killer. Cool. KAUFMAN God damn it. What?! The door opens. DONALD (CONT'D) No. stares at the ceiling. 25 40 INT.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. thanks a lot. looks up at the closed door. or what? Go away. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. you wanna hear my pitch. And he's taunting the cop. (flicks on light. DONALD (lost) Y'know.
See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. Very taut.. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder. Kaufman gives up. proud.) That's not how it's pronounced.. right?. KAUFMAN The other thing is. Donald waits blankly. Dressed to Kill.. what I'm asking is. I dunno.. there's no way to write this. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. is multiple personality. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits.S. Listen closely. 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. Did you consider that? I mean. I really liked Dressed to Kill. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut.. Sybil meets. Okay? See. but there's a twist. until the third act denouement. KAUFMAN (O. that's not what I'm asking. Okay? How could you. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay. in the reality of this movie.. DONALD (calling after) Cool. gets out of bed.pg. he's really also the cop and the girl. What exactly would the. See.. (CONTINUED) * .. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom. Kaufman dresses and exits.... On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. if there's only one character.
Laroche? Orlean smiles. Laroche cracks his neck. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . yes. and Buster Baxley. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. for crying out loud. 42 Okay. COURTHOUSE . walks away. ORLEAN Mr. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner.pg. Laroche scowls. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. LERNER Buster. I handled it. I swear to God. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. Vinson shrugs. stubs his cigarette. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. Lerner walks off. we'll deal with all this at trial. smokes furiously. follows Buster. EXT. They're all smoking intently. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. the New Yorker.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. 42 * 41 Oh. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. apologetic for the intrusion. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. Orlean tries some more. Vinson. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. Right? ORLEAN Right. The New Yorker. vice-president of the tribe's business operations.
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 *
ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. pulls out a notebook." Uh-huh." * (CONTINUED) . As long as I don't touch the plants. posture of al dente spaghetti. Florida can't touch us. And that's the ghost. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. Uh-huh. Laroche clams up. Orlean smiles back. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. Orlean writes. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. sell 'em. with a small jerk of the head. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. yeah. I researched it. Orlean tries to figure a way in. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. Collectors covet what is not available.pg. He doesn't take the hint. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change. that he might want to watch the road. LAROCHE The plan was." Laroche looks over and smiles. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. steers with knees as he lights another. She's writing: "skinny as a stick. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab.
49 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE (cont'd) And I stop future poaching by making the flowers readily available in stores. Then I give a big speech at the trial about how the legislature should get rid of loopholes smart people like me can find. I'm a hero. The flowers are saved. Laroche and nature win. Orlean writes: "guy is priceless." LAROCHE (cont'd) Did you get that last part? ORLEAN Yes, of course. 50-52 OMITTED 52A INT. 7 1/2 FLOOR SET - MORNING 50-52 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They nod * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) 49
The set from Being John Malkovich. Crew people bustle about, bending down as they enter the squat set. No one pays any attention to Kaufman, who stands by himself to the side. Donald is at the craft service table, picking at food. Caroline, a pretty, young make-up woman, stops by the table. Kaufman watches nervously as Donald eyes her. Finally Donald says something to her. She looks over, says something back. It's too far away to hear the conversation. Donald says something else and Caroline laughs. The conversation warms up. Kaufman can't believe his eyes. The assistant director appears in the hall. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Scene 23 up next! All keys to set! Catherine Keener and John Cusack pass Kaufman. perfunctorily. Hey. KAUFMAN
Cusack enters the hallway set. I'm fat. KAUFMAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) I'm old --
Keener sees Caroline, who's still chatting with Donald. KEENER (playfully) Caroline, c'mon, jeez. movie here. Let's go!
We're shooting a Let's go!
52A CONTINUED: Kenner grabs Caroline pulls her down the hall. CAROLINE (laughing) You're insane, Keener! Kaufman watches. 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD
KAUFMAN Please don't hit on crew members, Donald. DONALD No, Caroline's a really nice girl. KAUFMAN Just don't embarrass me. Okay? to work with these people. I have
DONALD I won't. Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don't worry! For my script! Ha ha! KAUFMAN I really don't write that kind of stuff. DONALD Oh, man, please. You're the genius. Kaufman stares at Donald, rubs his eyes, sighs. KAUFMAN Here you go. The killer's a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks of his victims' bodies until they die. He calls him "The Deconstructionist." DONALD That's kinda good. I like that.
KAUFMAN See, I was kidding, Donald. DONALD Oh, okay. Sorry. You got me! Ha-ha. Do you mind if I use it, though?
INT. BOY'S BEDROOM (1972) - NIGHT There are now many turtles in aquariums. Many turtle books and posters. The boy, in a turtle T-shirt, looks out the window into the darkness. His eyes are troubled. MOTHER (O.S.) (praying softly) For certain is death for the born/And certain is birth for the dead
INT. LIVING ROOM (1972) - CONTINUOUS The boy comes downstairs. His father, in a backbrace, watches TV; his sister lies on the couch, semi-conscious, more pale than before. His mother pats the girl's head with a damp cloth. There's a little Hindu altar with candles. MOTHER Therefore over the inevitable/Thou shouldst not grieve. (beat) Sweet, sweet Diane. The boy surveys the sad scene. His mother looks up, smiles.
MOTHER (CONT'D) A slice of pie for my turtle expert? The boy beams with pride, then gets solemn. BOY Mom, there's something I feel I have to do. I don't know how to do this, but I feel in my stomach that I have to. MOTHER What do you have to do, honey? BOY Collect one of every turtle in the world. (beat) It's a long list, ma. Cuora galbinifrons, Graptemys versa, Callagur borneoensis, all the Galapagos species, people think there's only one, but that's not true. Cycloderma frenatum, Cuora pani... (sighs) I don't think my life is worth living if I can't do this. The boy and his mother look at each other. (CONTINUED)
solemnly nodding his head. Orlean watches a flying heron. Perhaps you read about us. I lost interest right after that.pg. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. 55 INT. Orlean studies him for a moment. that's some story.. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. She underlines it. Oh. * * * 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. They drive in silence. we'd better get started.. ORLEAN So.DAY Laroche drives. huh. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. Collected the shit out of 'em. The tape recorder is on between them. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. VAN . her sad eyes wet and glistening. ORLEAN Wow.
THERAPIST Uh-huh. fuck fish. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. profoundly in love with tropical fish. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. I renounce fish. Different woman. Holacanthus ciliaris. 56 57 OMITTED INT. I once fell deeply. Anisotremus virginicus.pg. The new girl I'm obsessed with. THERAPIST Red hair. Kaufman nods. * * (CONTINUED) .DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. You name it. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. Chaetodon capistratus. Then one day I say. not a lot a lot. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. that's how much fuck fish. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. (beat) No.
(CONTINUED) It's lovely. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. His eyes are gentle. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her... My * * * * * * . Hi. Orlean approaches.. Hi.... Thank you. is how I know. Oy. heart holds yours. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. He's handsome.pg. ORLEAN Oh. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. Yes. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. I'm using a new conditioner and. VINSON I can see your sadness. so.. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to.DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery... She's taken. VINSON John's not here today. He gently reaches out and touches it. Anyway.. ORLEAN Susan Orlean. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. His longblack hair is braided. I washed it this morning. SEMINOLE NURSERY . Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair.. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. Oh.. A few Indians are hauling plants. right? I saw you at the courthouse.
in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. It cuts right through her. sits nervously in a booth. hair combed. immersed in the activity. Still * Thank you. He tenses as she comes up to him. watching Alice. It's the Indian way. He's so in love. ALICE Well. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. grows right on a tree branch. muscles straining against his shirt. Just like that. I hope. That sounds great. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. ain't I.pg. She just stands there. yeah. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. I'm just a sweetie. Vinson smiles. KAUFMAN Yes. reading about orchids. It's not personal. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. She smiles warmly. 58 INT.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. She winks at him. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . I am. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. completely present. He touches her hand and heads back to work. She watches him haul potted plants. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. Preferred customer.
Epiphytes grow on trees. I'm sorry. still smiling. KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. huh? Yeah. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. KAUFMAN I apologize.. I'm just learning. Alice turns back. ALICE Well. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. ALICE Wow. Her warmth dissipates. but they're not parasites. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. um. He beams. that's a lot.pg. I'm impressed. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. ALICE Oh. so. (CONTINUED) . Awkward pause. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. KAUFMAN That's great. I was also wondering. well -I'm sorry.. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. She smiles and turns to leave. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. anyway.
some in garish clothing.MORNING Orlean. He tries to study the flowers.. KAUFMAN (V. One looks.) . He nods. colors. who pay him no mind. NEW YORKER . One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world.O. The other waitress looks over at him. He forces himself to look. He is sick with adoration for the women...) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species.O.. one looks like an onion. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . all glowing.. I am old. copies something from her notebook onto the computer. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. The other waitress brings his pie.pg. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then. ORLEAN (V. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) . one looks like a gymnast. 60 EXT. obligingly eats.. Fuck the pie.) I am fat.O.) (cont'd) . They are dull. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. One has eyes that dance. One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin.DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts. I have to get out of here right now..O. like a school teacher. One species looks like a German shepherd. 59 INT. personalities. He sweats. one looks like an octopus. at her desk.. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. some in subtle clothing.
He does it fast and unintentionally. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. an arm slipped through an arm. 63 INT. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. a shared look. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. commerce. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V.pg. The way I like them. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. We see old age and birth.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. admiring a view.O. smiling at customers. Those love them. He quickly shifts back to her face. 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. * 63 * * * . I don't need to know what their jobs is. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see Alice serving food. We see the history of architecture. We see murder and procreation. love them madly. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. A million women walking down the street. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. war. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. The entire sequence takes two minutes. religion. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. eating meat. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. I don't need to know them at all.
fish. EMPTY BEDROOM . LAROCHE Once you get the sickness. it takes over your life. and a booth that looks like a circus big top.pg. ORLEAN I don't know. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. 42 64 INT.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers.O. BOOK-LINED STUDY . 65 INT. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. DARWIN (V. SHOW HALL . Noisy chatter and calliope music. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. fondles its petals. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. 66 .) 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.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. Look at me. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin. Kaufman paces and reads. Uh-huh. Hegel. into which life was first breathed. He finds The Portable Darwin. It's all I think about. You'll see. mirror resilvering.NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. etc. 66 INT. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel. plastic clowns.
Crowds.NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it.. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. sure enough. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal.DAY Blasting music.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. thinking.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means. SHOW HALL . EMPTY BEDROOM . But because of it. The flower insists. like a lover. this passion. Suddenly. is so much larger than either of them. by the way -.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean..pg. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it.proboscis means nose. Silence. It finds an orchid which it resembles. Everyone thought he was a loon. 69 EXT. 67 * 68 68 EXT. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. All is silent. Neither understands the significance of this interaction. Think about it. Then. LAROCHE (V. KAUFMAN We start before life. the world lives. And this attraction. LAROCHE (V.O. MEADOW .O. This isn't a pissing contest. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. 43 67 INT.
covered with pollen. stare deep into nectaries. APARTMENT . buzzing around flowers. You're supposed to. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. One of those trailer guys. HUSBAND He's a great character. Right. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. carry boxes of plants. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -.O. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it.orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. Once you learn anything about orchids.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. You have to. She is detached here as well. FEMALE GUEST Oh.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. Orlean nods. not too educated.pg. jabber passionately. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT. 70 INT. Orlean looks at Laroche. (CONTINUED) . flies away. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals.) (cont'd) The insect. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. carries it off. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. SHOW HALL . No front teeth. covered in pollen. It's unexpected. that's a great detail.
72 INT. ORLEAN (V. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V.pg. NEW YORKER OFFICES . We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. They smile at each other. Orlean cries and types. but it isn't part of my constitution. 74 INT.. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion.O. HUSBAND (O.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder.. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. we hear them in voice-over. As the words appear on her screen.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants.EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk.. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM .. ORLEAN (V. who get obsessed with these. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom.) What is it about people who collect.S.. which she loves. Susie gets to do a natural history thing. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) .. BATHROOM . ORLEAN (V. but his voice goes under. but there's a terrible distance between them. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background.O. He's a sweaty mess.) .) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. 73 INT.O. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking.O.
lust. into the night. Yearning. Then. presses "play. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. so we must find our originality within that genre." As he listens. in the last seconds of the montage. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. And the movie begins. evolved. No response from Kaufman. He's all for originality. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. war. All is silent. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids.. then. hunting. too. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. You'd love him. Donald waits for a response. This has never been attempted in a movie before. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. He rewinds the recorder. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. religion. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. adapted. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . farming. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . Charles. See. after the history of life on the planet. just like you! But he says. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated.pg. we have to realize we all write in a genre. heaving with excitement. It breaks every rule. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression..
browse. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . Through an open door. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. to admire my plants. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. my wife. LAROCHE (V. 47 76 INT. ORLEAN'S STUDY . LAROCHE (V. Say. then types. We opened a nursery. CUSTOMER #1 John.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. John. stare into space.) I got married.) People started coming out of the woodwork.O. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John.pg. to ask me stuff. One guy pulls Laroche aside. sits sadly for a moment. NURSERY . did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. She was beautiful. From Peru. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. Laura was such a class act. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner.O. to admire me. too.
After a long silence. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. It's like running away. maybe I can help. his full head of hair. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. Adaptation is a profound process. Orlean looks at him. They just move on to what's next.NIGHT Laroche drives. ORLEAN Well. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. keeps walking. Marty smiles at him. it's easier for plants. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. I should've just stuck with my own stuff. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world.pg. Hey. 88 INT. (CONTINUED) . Orlean looks out at the dark night. 89 INT. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. they have no memory. AGENT'S OFFICE . For a person. it's almost shameful to adapt. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. VAN . 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. Kaufman looks at Marty. People can't sometimes. She waves back.
MARTY Make one up." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. do something profound and simple.pg. Oh man. I wanted to grow as a writer. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story.. The book's a jumping off point.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book.. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. Anyway. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. The book has no story." Blah blah blah. MARTY Look. I can't structure this. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass. You're the king. "No narrative really unites these passages. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit. It's someone else's material. Show people how amazing flowers are... He's funny. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. (uncertain) I think they are. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. I have a responsibility.
smoking and ranting at Orlean.pg. (CONTINUED) . After a few moments. MARTY Charlie. KAUFMAN (V.. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. talks to reporters.DAY A crowd of people. at his car. 89B EXT.O. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. Reporters talk to video cameras. He lies there. LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. Buster. He reads the page. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit.. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER .DAY Kaufman. 89A INT." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. at the end of the day. ejaculates. alone in bed. COURTHOUSE .) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. I think it would be a terrible career move. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience. The judge is a moron. EMPTY BEDROOM . MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche.
He's funny. KAUFMAN (V. They were nailed on a technicality. especially Laroche. Indians. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on.pg. So that's what we got 'em on. RESTAURANT . we open with Laroche. not even the goddamned Indians. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. Okay. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. goddamned Indians.O. Orlean. ORLEAN Hence the branches. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. A park official is being interviewed. I love to mutate plants. Nobody's allowed to take those. It was all so maddening. the trial. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. he says. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. who I found so maddening. Please don't put in I said. what with the protection the Native Americans have. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. 89C INT. The rapid fire click-click of typing. She sips iced tea. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. flowers.) Okay. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking.
LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. They had to confront what a dark. reads.. He picks up The Orchid Thief. He peers through the darkness at the books. How about you? Nothing. Okay we open at the beginning of time. I was mutated as baby. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. I'm just hanging out. okay. ORLEAN Ah.. ORLEAN (V.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. papers coffee cups. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. we show flowers. EMPTY BEDROOM .O.pg.no.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.that's funny.. ORLEAN Oh.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. that's why I'm so smart. we have the court case. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .. 92 93 OMITTED INT. dense.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. (CONTINUED) . opens it. Just thought I could get some more info.O. okay -91 INT. overabundant place might have hidden in it. David's out of town.. Enthusiastic off-screen typing.. We show Laroche. he says. Orlean is silent for a moment.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. Okay. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool.. I don't mean to bother you. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp. John.
and uncle out of the house. LAROCHE'S CAR . Orlean starts to tear up. (CONTINUED) 95 * . Darkness descends. Laroche smiles back at his mother.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. but sometimes bad things happen. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. honey. his wife in front. mother. His father watches TV. Vishnu. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. MOTHER Amen. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . We're finally pulling out of debt. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. Uncle Jim. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. Praise Allah. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. ORLEAN So. 95 INT. dad? His father doesn't respond. Laroche pulls into traffic. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. I'm telling you. his mother and uncle in back.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car.pg. LAROCHE It was going well. then gets professional to cover. tell me. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. 94 INT.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. And all the rest of 'em. This last year's been a dream. his front teeth fly in all directions. Buddha.
NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. 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. HOSPITAL ROOM . She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. 98 EXT. She regains control and flips it down to talk. too. No one can judge you if you almost died. jerking her forward and landing on top of her. It's like a free pass.pg. Laroche. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. STREET .DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. (CONTINUED) . 98B EXT. wood. 97 INT. 96 EXT. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. and the green pulp that was once plant life. I think I'd leave my marriage. ORLEAN If I almost died. And then. 98A INT.DAY Laroche. LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. CEMETERY . adding insult to injury. on the cordless phone. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. stares out at the street where the accident took place. sits by his comatose wife. in his mourning suit. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. LAROCHE'S STOOP .
O.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. I'm full of shit. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. You don't call me no more. I wanted to do something amazing. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. how's the script. I was gonna give them something amazing. There's no story. MARGARET (cont'd) So.) Everything. MARGARET You hate me. Margaret. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. beer in hand. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. John. Oh. MARGARET (beat) Well. She runs over and hugs him. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. sit. to get their nursery going. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. He tries to duck but she spots him. I know. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. Hey. 98C INT. I understand. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. an expert. She's drunk. I took the job.pg. I can't figure out how to make it work. sit. 99 INT. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. (CONTINUED) . PARTY HOUSE . I don't know.
but.. It is a challenging one. Man. MARGARET No. Kaufman and David shake hands. KAUFMAN That'd be great. Hey. wow. (CONTINUED) . so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. we should head. Cool. God bless you for trying. A young man approaches. Boy.. Oh.pg. (to Kaufman) Charlie. this is my friend David. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. MARGARET Hey you. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well.. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. Davey.. story. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. I'll get Marg to send it to you. Hey. DAVID No? I was fascinated. Charlie. Marg.
I'm banned. dangerous. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. hey. I don't know if it'll kill me. She dials the phone. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. You're the best. 100 INT. but if it doesn't. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. Goddamn crucified me. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. as dense as steel wool. Yeah. 'Course. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. I'll have something honest to give the world. Hey. NEW YORKER OFFICE .pg.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. And you are amazing. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. sits there.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. Donald. I'd like you to take me. EMPTY BEDROOM . but. 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.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. Hey. She kisses his ear. hand on Margaret's ass. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . 102 INT. man. put that in the article! 101 INT." Orlean closes the book. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers.
He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. Hey.O. sweetie. Full of monstrous alligators.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE.O.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. AIRPLANE .) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. STUDIO APARTMENT . I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. counted fifty and stopped. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. 105 INT. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . I'm so glad to be home. So. alligators. impracticable.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT.pg.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief." Donald looks up from his work.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. I'm putting a song in. DONALD Charles. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. 104B INT. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. SWAMP . AIRPLANE . try to think of a song about multiple personality. ORLEAN (V. 104A EXT. God.
Five or six. I've waited all day to feel you inside me. 107 INT. 106 INT. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT.. He takes notes. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . SWAMP . The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. Okay. ORLEAN (V.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. RENTAL CAR .pg. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. AIRPLANE . then goes back to her conversation. The stewardess slips out of her blazer.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. which is completely dry. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. Five to six thousand years old. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. pulls up his pants. stands. One of the stewardesses laughs. He heads up the aisle. Kaufman.O. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. She sighs contentedly. About that.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old.. probably in the world. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. He tenses. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. She regards Kaufman blankly. and exits the bathroom. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . unbuttons her blouse.) 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. adjusts himself. takes his seat. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing.
Good for us today. and right here it's about five miles wide. ORLEAN (V. It's about twenty miles long. 120 .O. nineteen to twenty. She sighs. three to five miles wide. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done.. black water. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. or nineteen. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.. there's usually water. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. five. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. it's twenty miles long. It was sweltering. I called Laroche. continues typing. holds a phone to her ear. ORLEAN (V. again.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. There were snakes and alligators. across the room reading a book. nineteen. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible.pg.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. She glances at her husband. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . four and a half. KAUFMAN Um. And I had this thought. So. HOTEL ROOM . 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger. MIKE OWEN Well. We've been going through a bit of a drought.NIGHT Orlean types.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. 120 INT. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean.O.
* VALERIE We're big fans. PLANE . then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean. Thank you. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT. thanks. Thank you.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd.pg.NIGHT Orlean. 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT. KAUFMAN (V. RESTAURANT . fleeting and out of reach.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. He finds himself lost in it. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat.) Beautifully written.clears throat) Jesus Christ..C. ORLEAN Well. HOTEL ROOM .'" VALERIE (O. ORLEAN Thanks very much. John's a character all right. And sad in a way. Laroche is such a fun character. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine.) . He hi-lites the passage. VALERIE It's funny and fresh. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. is on the phone. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me.. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ".. dirty from the swamp.O. ORLEAN Yeah. (CONTINUED) .. 124 INT. Really unique. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me.
but seems to be enjoying herself now. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. VAN . ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. 127 INT. we'd really like to option this. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. So I'll be doing that. Orlean is charmed. Florida Seminole reservation.pg. These things mostly never get made. Orlean holds on.DAY 128 * * * EXT. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . ORLEAN More John. more orchids. a real affection for Laroche in her manner.DAY 127 * * Laroche. (CONTINUED) . Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. um. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. the nursery lot. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt.
Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. While you write. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. 129 INT. I'll study the shit out of acting. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door. Before Orlean can respond. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. Orlean moves the junk over." That's a good title for the movie. TRAILER . looks at some papers on his desk. He waits. I'll take acting classes. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. Now it's "Crazy White Man. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. Buster. John. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. Back! (hangs up) Hey. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. yes! Yeah.pg. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. shares the seat with it.
Orlean holds on. Laroche stops short.pg. Buy little ones. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. we're not closing shop. I'm really excited about. It's fixed.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. The sprinklers were busted for a while. He glances over at Orlean. humiliated in front of her. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. the guys on my crew here. turn 'em into big ones. There are tears welling in her eyes. sell 'em at a profit. But I got it fixed. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. Buster stares back.I got lot's of ideas. Laroche looks back at Buster. BUSTER Listen. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. BUSTER John. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I been meaning to talk to you about that.. VAN . so all the dead shrubs. all they do is smoke weed all day. Buster.. Her heart is breaking for him. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. what she can to make herself invisible. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. Simple plant multiplication for the masses. No. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. So if it's a question of productivity -. BUSTER No kidding.
I'll sue. empty. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . 131 132 OMITTED INT.) ORLEAN ..CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. LAROCHE (O. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.C. Look. it's Susan.. The room looks sad.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. I'm pursuing other avenues. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John. Orlean dials the phone. and anonymous. LAROCHE (O.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. It rings for a long time. Susan who? LAROCHE (O.. * . Crazy. I already did some legal research on this. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. Oooh.pg.C. They can't fire me. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. We don't see Laroche at all.) I'm no longer interested in orchids. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT.C. PHONE BOOTH . He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. There is nothing on the walls. If they fire me. And I ain't going to quit.. crazy white man. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn. Don't just abandon me down here. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence.
NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. There is no one to call. visits nurseries. 66 134 INT. She is so pure. I couldn't stop. how perfect. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. PHONE BOOTH . ORLEAN Goddamnit.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. so present. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. lonely and lost. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. a NOW button. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. make-up. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. 137A INT. TEENAGE GIRL (V. on the floor are records and books. HOTEL ROOM .O. Susan. OHIO. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. sits in lecture halls. At one point. On the dresser. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. Then I cried. She flips through her address book. so beautiful. GIRL'S BEDROOM . And I thought. her journalist persona on. On the walls are posters of Dylan. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. but it's a teenager's room now. Orlean stands there for a moment.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. (CONTINUED) .NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. She is bored and distracted. infant eyes. a tampax box. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT. attends orchid shows.pg. A blonde. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. it's starting already. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. Laroche hangs up.
pg. ORLEAN Um. Let me call you in the morning. Vinson enters. (CONTINUED) . 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. The phone rings. what was it like for you. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. VINSON Sure thing. thanks for coming. Work good? Good. Uh-huh. After a long beat she dials the phone. Um. plays with her hair. 137B INT. I'll speak to you in the morning.. Yeah. okay.. I was just fascinated with this story and. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. um. okay. eyes herself in the mirror.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. HOTEL ROOM . It must've been crazy! Boy. She sips a glass of champagne. large the scope was and. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. y'know. anxiously gets ready to go out.LATER 137B Orlean. This should be really helpful. Not really. There's a silence.. y'know. He saunters over and sits. She picks up. Hey. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. ORLEAN Yeah. After a few moments. So. her trembly fingers. VINSON I don't know.. how. dolled-up. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi.. Yeah. 137C INT. it might be late. There's Vinson's phone number. HOTEL BAR . I'm glad you reconsidered talking. honey. hon. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. all the Native American aspects and.No. Okay.. She waves.
She finishes her drink. 138 139 OMITTED INT. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. so I thought it would be helpful. no. Orlean just sits there. um. ORLEAN Oh.this seems fine. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room.. typing furiously at his desk. um. Orlean is at a loss. looks up. here.. Um. I just -. ORLEAN (cont'd) .pg. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. I apologize. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. She's shaking. he seems bored and impatient.. I think we can -.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. I just wanted to get some. DONALD How was Florida. if -Ah. Gosh. No.Did I -communicate something? No. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . Vinson is different than the last time she met him. do you want to get laid or not.. Native American. DONALD Hey. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System... You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone.. fuck. for me. Donald. look. He barely looks at her. we can talk here.. Y'know. EMPTY HOUSE . No. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back. ORLEAN Oh.
" I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. did exactly that. smiles. 141 142 OMITTED INT. DONALD Cool. He looks over at the clock. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. (lies down on floor) Hey.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. 140 INT. sweating. They look at each other. his eyes darting back and forth. Donald breaks the tension. (types. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. It's 3:32. Donald. EMPTY BEDROOM . 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful.pg. slept in a week. Mixed genres. Kaufman disappears upstairs. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. EMPTY BEDROOM .NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. then:) Oh. I've posted one over both our work areas. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. but Bob says Casablanca. Good night. it's just good writing technique. one of the greatest screenplays ever written. I got a song! "Happy Together. Okay. DONALD No.
KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen.pg. smiling author photo. Kaufman flips to the glowing. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. She smiles at him throughout.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. Its smile broadens. He looks at the still smiling photo. too many directions to go. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. melancholy face. They finish. It seems somehow sleepy now. sad insights. Charlie. heaving. KAUFMAN (V. He's in love. The photo smiles warmly at him. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. So true. 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. Kaufman switches on a lamp. He reads one.O. begins to jerk off. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. Focus on one thing in the story. Kaufman closes his eyes. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. making love. I'm losing my hair. It talks. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. (CONTINUED) . Whittle it down. Donald is no longer in the room. too. I can't sleep. flips through it. Kaufman studies her delicate. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. You're not. You've written a beautiful book. He stares at the photo.
enters with Caroline. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy. fragile. haunted by loneliness. I'm good. sees Caroline with Donald. The cop is after them on a motorcycle.. The killer flees on horseback with the girl. really good ones. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. in his underwear. skinny as a stick. this morning." Donald. Morning. smiles. hey. 143 INT. beautiful. delicate. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas.MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder.pg. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. We hear her voice-over. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean.. Hey. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . shirt we've seen Donald wearing. KITCHEN . CAROLINE Really. typing at her desk. too. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper.. It's like a * CAROLINE God.. flirty smile) I figured there might be something.
KAUFMAN (V. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. NOW button. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. Thanks. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. At him? 150 INT. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband.O.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. L. why am I here? She thinks. Bergman's Persona. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . She thinks. EMPTY BEDROOM . Like technology versus horses. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. right? DONALD Hey. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. DONALD Thanks. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. who is this man? She thinks. EMPTY BEDROOM .pg.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. that's the big pay-off. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased." 149 EXT. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. women snicker. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. it sounds exciting. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. distraught. STREET . Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. man. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him.A. peasant blouse.
151 * * * * 152 INT. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. EMPTY BEDROOM . Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . KITCHEN . 73 151 INT. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. I'm finding you. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. 152 153 INT. her mother's disappointment at life. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. sits on young Susan's bed and cries. get to merge our thoughts. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. He smiles at Orlean's photo. She kisses him on the cheek. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. 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. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . and how it forever scars the little girl. It's intimate. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. like a marriage.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed.pg.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. The phone rings.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. Kaufman is immensely pleased. Her drunken mother enters. I love that. It now looks warm and inviting. We see the loneliness of her childhood.
* KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. Great.. It's Valerie. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair. KAUFMAN I think really good now. I'll let her know. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. Say I think she's a great writer. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. Tell her I said that.. Okay.. Just bugging you again. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow. uh-huh. Charlie... Good.. well. All color drains from Kaufman's face. before I finish. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. As she sees fit. So.. y'know. for me it's distracting to. KAUFMAN Um. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point..pg. How's everything going? Good.
Kaufman paces frantically. KAUFMAN Nice talking to you. Caroline. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Maybe it's even smirking. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. 155 INT. She thinks.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer.pg. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. on the floor. It's still smiling. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. sips coffee and skims a magazine. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. 156 INT. EMERGENCY ROOM . He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. She looks through him. He smiles. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . It's not glowing.O. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. mocking the seriousness of what I do. EMPTY BEDROOM . Charlie.) She thinks I'm repulsive. Okay. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. holding his stomach. KAUFMAN (V.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up. 154 INT. She glances over in his direction. but not at him.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. Kaufman storms in. doubles over. KAUFMAN (V. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious.O. Just keep us posted. I'm completely selfinvolved.
76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. yeah. Oh. but I still haven't seen a ghost. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. And I was hoping.NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. paces." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT.pg. look. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um.) Movie opens. HOTEL ROOM . bald. fat. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. I know. I'm doing pornography. "I am old. Charlie Kaufman. I'll take you in. naked women adorn the walls. old. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good.O. I am fat. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. how's it going? 161A INT.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment. His voice-over carpets the scene. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. It's fascinating. John! .
DONALD I don't think so. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. to eat herself. he's also eating himself to death. But. anyway. Also. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. DONALD I don't know what that means. The cassette player plays. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. I changed it a little. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. (CONTINUED) * * * . KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. who's really him. like. Donald appears in the doorway with a script.NIGHT Kaufman types. 77 162 INT.pg. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. I wanted to thank you for your idea. It was very helpful. doesn't say anything. EMPTY BEDROOM . ridiculous. repugnant. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. It's. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. DONALD I finished my script. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. Because at the end when he forces the woman.
The car veers onto the shoulder. Charles. It's narcissistic. Because I'm pathetic.pg. he lazily corrects it. It's eating itself. I'm pathetic. 163 164 OMITTED INT. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. Because I suck. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. CAR . KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. Oh. It's pathetic. You're an artist. DONALD That's kinda weird. That's what I have to do. DONALD Hey. I'll meet her. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. I'm fat and pathetic.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. It looks hot. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. That's it. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. I'm eating myself. DONALD I don't know what that word means. Because I have no idea how to write. I'm Ourobouros. Charles. Orlean is tense. paying little attention to the road. It's solipsistic.
y'know. Laroche points to a yellow flower. ORLEAN (V. sweaty and anxious. Encyclia tempensis. sun blasted. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii. there it'll be. But my mom said. the hopeful journey through darkness into light. Things slither past in the water. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . even at their peril. Something big runs by in the distance. Bees. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. 164A EXT.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. John. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT. walks along. I never thought many people in the world were like John. and dragonflies hover.pg. desolate. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. rather than abide an ordinary life. (CONTINUED) . past hopelessness. They drive in silence for a little while. I wanted to turn back.) He made it sound like a Bible story. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. Laroche lights a cigarette.O.most for something exceptional. if you keep searching for something past doubt. SWAMP .DAY Kaufman. The ground is soft. Birds screech. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. We couldn't find one. something to pursue. LAROCHE Here we go. Frogs croak. not an aberration -. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. So we walked. They sink to their knees. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. We walked for hours.
I'm interested in all orchids. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. studies the back of her head. That's an ugly-ass orchid. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. Orlean gets out.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. scraped. Not just pretty ones. and faces front. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. people get off and on. Just follow me. I found you two already. Orlean laughs appreciatively. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. You know that. Kaufman sweats. isn't it? Orlean examines it. The elevator continues up. NEW YORK CITY STREET . Nobody gets off or on.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. Kaufman hates himself. Kaufman is panicked. But I'm no snob. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. The doors close. ELEVATOR . .pg. Orlean looks at him blankly. 172 Kaufman follows her. I'll show you every orchid you want today. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. presses "lobby". anxious. The doors open. dirty. frizzed hair. 171 EXT. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. SWAMP . He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. It stops a few times. 172 171 * * EXT. Kaufman sweats.DAY Orlean walks along. The elevator arrives at the lobby. Kaufman hesitates. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid. Orlean is a sweaty mess. 169 170 OMITTED INT. Uh-huh. This time Orlean gets on.
O. swings them wildly.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. Thanks.NOON Orlean follows Laroche. 175 INT. reading Vanity Fair. He paces. HOTEL ROOM . He's frustrated. KAUFMAN (V.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes.) Reads Vanity Fair. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair. drinks iced tea. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. She watches him start off in one direction. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean.O. KAUFMAN (V. LAROCHE We're not lost. tries to tear them. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * . Good character details. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her.O. yanks the sheets from the bed. He scribbles in his notebook.) (cont'd) Likes tuna. then go in another direction. The waitress nods and leaves. stop. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. hysterical. RESTAURANT . 81 173 INT.pg. KAUFMAN (V.O. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. SWAMP . Interesting! 174 EXT. KAUFMAN (V. Kaufman sits a few tables away.
Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. I mean. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. fair enough. Best script I've read this year. Two fucking talented guys in one family. Oh. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. Y'know. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. it's Marty. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. still holding the glass. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. KAUFMAN Marty. Good. edgy thriller. KAUFMAN I gotta go. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. don't say that. It's been okay. bends to pick up the broken glass. Um.pg. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. buddy. I have an appointment. The phone rings. (CONTINUED) . heaves. He answers it.
She looks at Laroche. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. amigo. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. Without looking at Orlean.pg. We want to be heading southeast. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. he puts the twig back. She stares at him. LAROCHE Well. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. He won't look at her.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. knocks over the twig. I'll just set this up. Laroche looks down at it. her fists clench into balls. comes up with a straight twig. This relaxes Laroche. He pokes around on the ground for something. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. Rage and panic sweep across her face. It is so. wait a few minutes. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. sees her staring at him. He stretches his legs. He looks up at her. Orlean takes a cracker. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. (CONTINUED) . stares at it. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. SWAMP . but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food.
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. screw it. I am just one more old.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. Laroche seems unaware. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. bald man on the street.pg. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. Out of here.) I am fat. KAUFMAN (V. we have to get out as long as we walk straight. can't write. 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. overweight men wandering the streets also. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. fat. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. I am old. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. I just say to myself. . and go straight ahead. balding. 177 178 OMITTED EXT. Orlean is stony. There's a sadness. I mean. SWAMP . I am repulsive. logically. He eyes other sad-looking. fuck the sundial. 179 EXT. Whenever everything's killing me. They rise. look.O.MORNING Kaufman wanders.
they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her.) I am pathetic. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. KAUFMAN (V. I. I am panicked. walks toward it.O. NYC STREET . AUDITORIUM . glowing in the sun. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar.) I have failed. The audience laughs. KAUFMAN (V. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. I am fat. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. (CONTINUED) * .. 182 McKee paces the stage with MCKEE Years from now you'll be standing around a posh cocktail party congratulating yourself on how you spent an entire weekend locked in a room with an asshole from Hollywood for your art. a mic clipped to his lapel. and always the imperative is too tell a story. I am worthless. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough..A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. 85 180 EXT. I have sold out. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under.. last. except for Kaufman who looks pained. First. 182 INT..pg.O.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. LOBBY . The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. * * MCKEE So. Kaufman waits in line. I am a loser. I am fat.
. "Flaccid.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. The audience members take copious notes. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated." writes the guy on one side of him. "Any idiot. just look around you.) It is my weakness.. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.. I should leave here right now.. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. Well. (deadpan) Well. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. sloppy writing. my friends. 183 INT. And here I am. Aristotle said. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid...O. AUDITORIUM . the result is decadence. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. Kaufman sweats. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. (CONTINUED) . startled. McKee seems to watching him. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke.pg. Kaufman looks up. when storytelling goes bad in a society. KAUFMAN (V. Easy answers." writes the guy on the other side.
There is no sound. one hour for lunch.pg. say a page long. AUDITORIUM . NYC STREET . McKee.and I include myself in this -. 184 EXT. holding a cup of coffee. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. His face is troubled. AUDITORIUM .A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * .who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT. wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. but still attentive. Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is. And that's an important point. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid. 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.LATER 185 186 * It's late. energetic as ever. 185 186 OMITTED INT. There's not a person in this world -. The Greeks called it stykomythia -.the rapid exchange of ideas. Now Kaufman takes serious notes. Writers are not tape recorders. The audience is tired. Real people are not interesting. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. A long speech in a script. Kaufman wanders by himself. We are not recreating life on the screen.
pg. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. they don't have any epiphanies. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. sips his coffee. bleary-eyed. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. sits in the back. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM .MORNING Kaufman. Out of nowhere. HOTEL . giggles a little. He turns. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. Kaufman can't get out of the way. 188 INT. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. AUDITORIUM . Darwin flies face forward into the card table. It's silent and tense. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. Remember. collapsing it. A violent fight ensues. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. Aristotle rises to stretch. Kaufman. 190 INT. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . where people don't change.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. then. He walks around the table.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. That's it for tonight. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. with dark circles under his eyes. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head.
carrying his brown leather bag. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis.pg. Nice to see you. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. NYC STREET . McKee emerges. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. A shaky. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. you'll bore your audience to tears.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. leaning against the building. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. my friend. Kaufman waits. then you. thanks. (CONTINUED) . MCKEE Oh. 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. tired Kaufman approaches him. okay. 191 EXT. Mr. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. right.
. BAR . Kaufman closes the book. SWAMP . I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. I don't meet people well.. all the way to the road. and there.O. 192 EXT.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. looking only straight ahead. we could see the gleam of a fender.O. KAUFMAN Mr.pg.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. KAUFMAN . Please.O. There's a pause. ORLEAN (V. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone. MCKEE I could use a drink. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. my even standing here is very scary. ORLEAN (V. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk. Soon there is silence. ORLEAN (V. It's about my choices as a human being. McKee. McKee hesitates for a moment... my friend. MCKEE I'm sorry. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose. 193 INT.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon. far down the diagonal of the levee. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 .
but wow them at the end. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. Kaufman hugs him. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. McKee recognizes his bulk. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. I can't go back. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret.pg. eyes Kaufman. acts. I wanted to present it simply. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. McKee sips his beer. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. (beat) That's not a movie. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. Find an ending. My twin brother Donald. Do that and you'll be fine. I'm way past my deadline. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. The last act makes the film. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. He's the one who got me to come. You can have an uninvolving. tedious movie. and you've got a hit. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. (CONTINUED) . It's about disappointment.
195 INT. 194 INT.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. Julius and Philip Epstein. Donald.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. HOTEL ROOM . sits at his desk and writes. 196 INT. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. (CONTINUED) . 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters.who wrote Casablanca were twins. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . MCKEE'S OFFICE .O. He rubs his temples. HOTEL ROOM . tries to read Story.NIGHT McKee.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game.) Climax. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener.pg. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah. like Darwin before him. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. dials the phone. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. Listen. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. MCKEE (V. Caroline giggles in the background. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. 196A INT.
pg. You should hang out with her. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. KEENER (O. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. tipsy) Oh..CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. high-sixes against a mill-five. taking this all in. She's great. It's been a wild ride. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. please. and Donald laugh. like. I've been thinking. Um. please. 196B INT.C. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. DONALD C'mon. Donald. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. Caroline. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. (CONTINUED) . And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. KAUFMAN Yeah. long moment. Donald. We're playing Boggle. look. please.. HOTEL ROOM .
Y'know. Charles. So. Maybe you could read it. man. Y'know. I -- DONALD Hey. too. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. It's funny. HOTEL ROOM . How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. Like what? DONALD I don't know. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. like. KAUFMAN I was trying something. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. I'm thinking. Just for fun. if you like. KAUFMAN Good.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. Donald finishes. subtext. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. is quiet. Okay. huh? Sorry. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. The great Donald. KAUFMAN I know. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. Kaufman paces.pg. I don't mind. We're different talents. KAUFMAN So.
she said she didn't care about flowers. Charles. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN For God's sake. KAUFMAN Really. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down.pg. I'll go. That's inconsistent. You're reaching. it's just a metaphor. of course she's that." (looks up) First of all. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. You can't be a goofball.. look. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman.. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. but. (picks up Orchid Thief. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book. I have a reputation to maintain. KAUFMAN I don't know. To know her. I can't. DONALD Maybe. Someone's got to talk to her. yes. You can't be an asshole. 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. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. DONALD Pretend I'm you. DONALD Is she? I mean. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers.
96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. if you write a couple more books. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. Donald. (CONTINUED) * * * * . certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. By definition. It's an honor.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . But the relationship ends when the book ends. I was very interested in everything he had to say. Donald scribbles. No flirting. No bad jokes. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. DONALD So. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. doing his best serious writer impression. "You know. you could become a pretty good writer. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. mumbles under his breath. dressed as Charlie. He said. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. Thanks. You spend a lot of time together." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. I mean. I get to have people think I'm you. 198 INT. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask.pg. In the subtext. Don't laugh how you laugh. sits across from her.
KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. She's lying. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. dressed as Charlie. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. Charles. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. Einstein or Jesus.DAY Kaufman paces. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. Too right. DONALD She was nervous.pg. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . 199 Donald * * * INT. ORLEAN I'd have to say. enters. She said all the right things.. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. living or dead.. That's a prepackaged answer. HOTEL ROOM . watches TV. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. I have an idea. stares out the window. Very good. Okay. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. just one more question.
ORLEAN'S OFFICE . I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer. picks up a pen. Let's go. (talking) C'mon. Orlean waits as the phone rings. KAUFMAN Well. becoming more and more agitated. want to be doing this.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you.) She's upset.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. window with binoculars. and sings and dances around Kaufman.pg. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . (CONTINUED) 201 . I do. DONALD (O. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. KAUFMAN Let's go. A conversation ensues.S. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT. Leave. holds it like a microphone. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. Sadly. who just stares at him. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. She closes her office door.
DONALD Anyway. HOTEL ROOM . Heh heh. my friend. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. DONALD That was no parent phone call. who watches through binoculars. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. DONALD United to Miami. I thought she was done with Laroche. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O." 203 INT. DONALD She's crying. Orlean looks out her window.) Stop watching her. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . Leave her alone. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story.S. Tomorrow morning. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. Donald. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. She's at her computer. 202 She starts to cry.pg. I'm gonna look at it. 202 * 201 INT. She hung up the phone. Don't tell my old lady. Research.
guess what? We're going to Miami. 206 EXT. SUBURBAN STREET . which speeds and swerves through traffic. 205 INT. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. 204 INT. the van speeds off. incredulously at it. Donald parks up the street. DONALD I said. oh yeah. (CONTINUED) * . gets out. posed but awkward. Kaufman is sweaty. C'mere. baby. Kaufman and Donald drive by. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. Forget it.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. RENTAL CAR . No. CAR . Orlean gets in. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. goes over to the computer. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. Hey.pg. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. no. You wait here.A BIT LATER Donald drives. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. nervous. The beat-up white van pulls up. KAUFMAN I said. Told ya. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. naked photo of Orlean. Donald behind the wheel. middle-class house.LATER 206 Donald follows. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. DONALD I'll get a closer look. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. keeping up with the van.
Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. Orlean studies Kaufman. it should be me. Laroche glances at the window. Orlean. Donald gets Kaufman's script. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. He slinks around back. crawls to the coffee table. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. continues to rub herself. DONALD Go for it.. locks eyes with Kaufman. peruses house.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. bro. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. He adjusts them. drags him into the house. You the man.S. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. Laroche waits patiently. have slipped. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window... trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house.pg. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. looks in. 207 INT. kissing. The chair slides across the floor.. I'm just. How did he find me. right? I mean.. nobody. it's my. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. undressing each other. tips over. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. snorts some lines of green powder. There's movement in a window in ducks. in. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. ORLEAN Who's that. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. Orlean and Laroche are laughing. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. Laroche cuts him off. Wrong house. HOUSE . oblivious.. I should go.) Darlin'. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Orlean pulls away giggling. I mean. Kaufman gets out of the car.
Well. ORLEAN Shit. Did you follow me? I should go. Let me give you my number.pg. dude. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. John. (CONTINUED) . Orlean tries to focus. LAROCHE Okay. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. ORLEAN I'm freaking. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is.I don't know that. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. Laroche begins to write his phone number. Kaufman rises. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. of course not. it was nice to meet you. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. Laroche looks at Susan. Orlean rises. don't let him leave. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. 'kay? Kaufman does.
What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. I was just -. She looks up.I'm just down here to see the swamp.pg. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. LAROCHE I believe him. anyway. LAROCHE Oh. Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. Suze. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. Kaufman rises. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. I'm pretty clear on the structure. he's researching his script. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. I'm almost done. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. I don't know. Well. She talks to herself for a while. gestures to herself. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. right? LAROCHE Good point. Orlean massages her temples. Hold him. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure.
Thank you. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay.pg.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. I have to think. * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry.S. Kaufman gets in. okay. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. * (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. you need to calm down. LAROCHE Yeah. LAROCHE I'm sorry. He listens. INT. I can't have people -. we can't kill anyone. LAROCHE (O. 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 understand. Charlie. 208 Laroche closes the door. deliberate) Susie.) Susie. CLOSET .
208A INT. He passes behind her. in close-up.S. Donald watches the goings-on. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. ORLEAN (O.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. in close-up. 208B INT. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .S. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb. a little hysterically. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. pacing foreground figures. Johnny. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. Kaufman inhales sharply. Laroche turns it off. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . She glances down at his off-screen hand.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. blurry. BASEMENT .) I think you just stick them in. chews her fingernail and cries.S. Laroche and Orlean.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. descends the basement stairs. large. occasionally pass between Donald and the camera.pg. holes here. Please. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. his face lights up red. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides.) Protect me. his pants fall down.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. turns it on. in close-up.S. LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. 209 INT. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll.S. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. The bartender shakes a drink.) Then what? Everyone will find out. He sifts through a cardboard box. There's a long sweaty silence.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O.S. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O.
That sounds like a real thing that could happen. RENTAL CAR . We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp.S. ORLEAN (O. that's sort of creepy. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O.) I. I'm really just interested in orchids. LAROCHE (O. holding a gun.S." Jesus. I -ORLEAN (O.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice. I don't care what you're doing. there's an image I could do without.) Of course he does. God.S. um. 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. like he was doing research. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned. She skims Kaufman's screenplay. no.) Okay.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. suburban Miami neighborhood. ORLEAN Hey.pg. Orlean sits next to him. KAUFMAN It's a story. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something. I didn't really do it. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph. KAUFMAN (O.S. KAUFMAN Look. They drive in silence.S.) You have a car. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead.S. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. 210 INT.
KAUFMAN Look. We can do whatever you want. ORLEAN Yeah. you don't have to kill me. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. I'll tell you the truth now. ORLEAN Listen. From a weirdo with no teeth. I do." Orlean laughs derisively. Bully for you. I know.pg. I'll sign anything. but I didn't make that up. Chill. ORLEAN (considers) No. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. KAUFMAN You can laugh. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. this isn't easy for me either. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . We can forget I ever came here. Get a cup of coffee. It's sad. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. KAUFMAN We can turn around. That's a quote from your book. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. It was orchids. I'm laughing at who I used to be. Can we do that? We can talk this out. Charlie-boy. if you don't tell me.
long as I'm here. ORLEAN It's a flower. They drive in silence. I want you to know this. okay? I know you're going through some shit. I went back one night to pick up something. SWAMP . I want to tell you. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER . 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp.DAY Laroche drives. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look. LAROCHE Might as well grab it.. can't. Orlean stares out the window. stands there awestruck. About the ghost.) I'd just started up the nursery. my porn site is gonna be big. VAN .pg. No reaction. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. LAROCHE (V. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag. I think this might help you. but some of the Indians. .... It wasn't my thing. 211A INT.O. circles it. 108 211 EXT.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. something I didn't tell you. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. 211B EXT. He spots something on a tree. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee.. It's just a flower..
. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it.pg. I want to do this. fascinated. like I told you. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. Susie. I think you'd like it. stoned Indian men. Vinson lived on that shit. 211D INT. they liked to get stoned. but -Vinson.DAY Orlean seems interested now.. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. That's what I wanted to tell you. but the young guys. Two of the men make out. As I said. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. VAN . Oh. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug. I watched. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. It seems to help people be. your sadness is fascinating to me. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. I know how. My sadness. My hair. Some stare off. 109 211C INT. It had been a ceremonial thing.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room.. TRAILER BACK ROOM . Laroche. Jesus. A bunch of young. One sings to himself. too. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you.O. they ran out. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. Y'know. LAROCHE It does that.
NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed.NIGHT So drained. The place is empty. HOTEL ROOM . There's a small package outside one door.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. talks on the phone. 211G INT.NIGHT Kaufman drives. I didn't know. (CONTINUED) . you should. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. let me be. Yeah. sniffs inside. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. hovers over the green powder. 211F INT. He needs to hear how you feel. HOTEL ROOM . ORLEAN I was so sad that night. paces. picks it up. you should. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. rolls it up. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway.pg. trying to remember her room number. picks up the baggie. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No.) I went down to the bar. Please. hon. He's pasty white with fear. Maybe I could get laid.NIGHT 211H Orlean. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. 211H INT. reviews some notes. HOTEL BAR . RENTAL CAR . Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. Something. 110 211E INT. if you're not going to let me go. Orlean hangs up. Okay. puts it down. Friday. You too. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. He's barely listening. HOTEL HALLWAY .O. ORLEAN (V. This must be her room. 211I INT. All right then. Her name is written on it. stares at it. a little tipsy.
doesn't. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. It's so beautiful. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. HOTEL ROOM .A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. holding the phone to her ear.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. sniffs it. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. She feels nothing. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . How exquisite! She cries. She sighs. 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. HOTEL ROOM . dully watches herself in the mirror. the colors. HOTEL BATHROOM . She tries to sing along with it. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. discovers it does not open. She tries to open the window for a better look. 211L INT. She tugs at a strand. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum.O. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. HOTEL ROOM ." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. She giggles. sucks it. what the fuck. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. 211K INT. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. tries to feel something. on the scrubbing sound.pg. stands. Ms.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. She watches her grinning face with love. She's never seen anything more beautiful. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. 211J INT. stands again. I figured. I figured. who really cares about anything anymore. She snorts a small amount. She snorts the rest. 211M INT. what the hell.) (CONT'D) I figured. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. rolls it around in her fingers.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. listening to the dial tone.
how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. Operator. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my. Okay. ORLEAN Good night. eight to five-thirty. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say.pg. It's so pretty. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. Orlean dials again.? ORLEAN In your dial tone. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator.. ma'am. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. ORLEAN Well.. ma'am. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . ma'am. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. to you.
forgets to pick up the phone. There's a pause. LAROCHE She studies her feet.pg. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. The phone rings. There's a pause. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. ORLEAN John. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. ORLEAN Johnny. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. pitch. She listens to it. I'm very happy now. I'm glad. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. Hello? Hi. that would be so helpful. . Finally she remembers. stares at the ceiling. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. John. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. all the time. She imitates a dial tone.
ORLEAN Huh. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Do you like socks. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. . (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. too? Yes. I think toes should be with their fellows. Okay. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. LAROCHE They will be. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes.pg. I do. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when.
(MORE) (CONTINUED) . Like my mom. understand me. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. RENTAL CAR . but not talking. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. HOTEL ROOM . on the phone. someone would come around and just. Please think about what you're doing.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. Kaufman stares straight ahead. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. ORLEAN We spoke all night. Here. She stares out the window at the early morning light. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. Johnny. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. too. We're twins. just like you. 212B INT. except someone else. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. y'know. I'm a person.pg. Nobody liked me.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor.
I won't go back. Laroche seems clumsy. 212C INT. I was just there. Back.NIGHT Kaufman drives. Orlean looks with love at these items. The junk is pushed to the sides. Alive. RENTAL CAR . She pulls him to her and kisses him. She remains silent. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. I couldn't focus. then at Laroche's straining face. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. . just like that. The back doors are open. Orlean is flabbergasted. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. It'd send someone. VAN . John. who stares straight ahead. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. pale and sweaty. They pass very few cars now. 212D INT. Laroche starts to cry. and quietly say. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. Not like that. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. You will not take this away. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. ORLEAN Back in New York. Or fantasizing about someone else. she'd look at me. a bag of soil. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. "yes".NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. She glances past Laroche at the moon. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. Orlean smiles. I couldn't care. lost in her story. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. back on the book. Adapting. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van.pg. anyway.
ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Orlean lies on the grass outside. and we followed it.NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive. There are no other cars. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .NIGHT Orlean paces. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene.. it ain't controlled. She types at the computer standing up.. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. A Laroche kind of plan. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. hi. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me.. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. darlin'. RENTAL CAR . 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. They're very shiny. is why. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. if I do say. like a beacon. I like you. 117 212E INT.. The sun is warm on her skin. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. transfixed by a colony of ants. Suze. Make a shitload of change. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. all the way to the road.. Done. (back to business) The cool part is.. ORLEAN So. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD .pg. LAROCHE Well.. (dials phone) Yeah. 214 INT.. I need a ticket to Miami. but we should introduce this to the general public. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant.DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids.
Donald swings open the back right passenger door. wild-eyed. getting some equipment. Kaufman does. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean.pg. hitting her and sending her flying. gun on him. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. LOGGING ROAD .A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. We call it "Passion. 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.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. he sees Donald. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. We see the lovely Coke can. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. 215 EXT. searching for flashlights. trip over unseen vines. 218 EXT. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . Laroche is in the rear of his van. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. on the floor in the back. please. ORLEAN Come around. Laroche parks behind. blocking him in. SWAMP .
LAROCHE (O. Donald. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. DONALD I don't think so. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. breathing hard. I've wasted it.) We need to split up. I couldn't move. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. And you're not gonna die.) I know. John. LAROCHE (O.C. * Laroche and Orlean move off. I get that. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. * * * Thanks. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp. The beams search the darkness near the brothers.C. All right.pg. DONALD You did not. They sit and wait in silence. God. Orlean and Laroche are very close now. ORLEAN (O.) This really complicates things. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized.C.C. * LAROCHE (O.) It was a guy? Fat. ORLEAN (O. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now. (CONTINUED) . I've wasted my life. Their voices get far away.C.) That's all I could tell. KAUFMAN They're going to find us.
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)
pg. John! ORLEAN (O.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. Give me some of that shit. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. RENTAL CAR . Kaufman finds the keys. spaced on pash. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital. looks nice. starts the car. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. doesn't know what to do. They pass Orlean next to the van. 220 INT. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. (CONTINUED) * * . The driver's side airbag deploys. a ranger truck comes barreling. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys. Then. Donald flies through the windshield. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush.S. To everyone's surprise it fires. Kaufman gets in behind him. the front of his body a bloody mess.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. Laroche approaches the car. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. from around a curve. Donald yelps. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. Donald is hit in the arm.
heave. He angles in to cut him off. Alligators swim in it. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. He slumps to the ground. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. To think about the one you love. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. It's only right. Logging road twelve. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. sees the two Kaufmans. Donald's eyes close. is confused. it's gonna be okay. KAUFMAN Donald. who is conscious. I do. 221 EXT. fascinated. Bad car accident. The three stare at each other. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. She follows. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. A battered-looking. Kaufman stares at the body.B. running from two different directions. Donald is dead. He bolts into the swamp. Her mouth is open. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C.pg. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. There's nowhere to go. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. sees Kaufman running into the woods. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. You're gonna be okay. She can't look down at Owen. stop. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. Orlean's eyes well with tears. Just don't go to sleep. she looks horrified. (CONTINUED) . but fading fast. SWAMP . dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck..CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. gain on Kaufman and limit his options.. Kaufman must be next. approaching from down the road. at the body of Donald. Orlean and Laroche arrive. Kaufman starts to sing. MIKE OWEN We need help here.
Orlean looks at his body. Everything is a lie. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. Everything's over. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. Let me be a baby again. His rifle fires at nothing. shooting crazily until it's dead. that helps other people feel not so lonely. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . sobbing. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. Your book didn't ruin my life at all.An alligator: it awakens. Kaufman watches. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. KAUFMAN No.pg. I want to be new. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. drops her gun. Kaufman watches. desperate. I want my life back. KAUFMAN Your writing. dude. old. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. It helped me. I'm not a killer. suddenly feeling so much for this person. maybe. Orlean collapses into a heap. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. I want to be new. Laroche is dead. I want it back before it got all fucked up. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . then looks to Kaufman. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. Orlean screams. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. stunned. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. I did everything wrong. The sun is rising. She glows. startled and angry. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. I think it can touch people.
That's a good thing. mom. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. a coffee table. Yeah. That's all. * * MOTHER I worry about you. I think. some overstuffed chairs. Charles. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. Wordlessly. I just wanted. * (CONTINUED) .pg. both crying. KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. Make it really comfortable in here. There's a silence. They look at each other from across the room. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself.. KAUFMAN I know. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes. Susan.. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living. I just wanted. I'm going to get a couch. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. they meet in the middle and hug. MOTHER You should get some furniture.
KAUFMAN Knock knock. KAUFMAN That sounds good. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . really. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him.pg. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. 225 INT.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. They sit. MARGARET You able to work at all. KAUFMAN No. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. Margaret. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain. I understand. Thanks. Margaret looks up. MARGARET'S OFFICE. He meets her gaze. KAUFMAN Thank you. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. I came by for a reason. (deep breath. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. hugs him. I'm just stupid. but -I don't know. I'm almost done! Great! ready. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. * She look compassionately into his face. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother.
A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. Stupid job. I can love you. I don't have to get anything back. Kaufman smiles. (laughing. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. so he plows on. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. What do you think? (CONTINUED) .pg. looking a little pale. Wow. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back.um. Kaufman rolls down his window. Margaret appears in front of his car. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. 226 INT. waits in line with his validated ticket. anyway. Charlie. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . gets up. Margaret. Okay then. Hey. CAR . y'know. say. embarrassed) So. MARGARET Wow. can't. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. nervously kisses him. I'm just saying. in the parking garage. thanks for being in the world. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. thanks for telling me. Hey. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. I mean. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. That's really great. I'm glad I know you is all. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. being honest. MARGARET That sounds good. I'm not saying that at all. I'm glad you're in the world. I'll send you the script when it's done.
The way fish can't see the ocean. Like cells in a body. Hate each other. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. that sounds good. and hops in the passenger side. And so we envy each other. runs around the front of the car. They drive off. That's what I've come to realize.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell. hooky before. Lieutenant. both staring ahead." . FADE TO BLACK. 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. 'Cept we can't see the body.pg. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. Hurt each other.
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