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