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