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