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