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