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