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