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