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