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