This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
No response. He straightens his cap. TONY We got Seminoles. they are in there for a reason. If there are Indians in the swamp. Mosquitoes land on his neck. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. Tony glowers. pale-eyed. 7 INT. in the swamp. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat.S. whispers into his C. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford.pg. his lips. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. and come to rest on a woman typing. Nothing. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. OFFICE . skinny as a stick. TONY Barry.MID-MORNING Tony. RANGER'S TRUCK . 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. Tony waits for a response. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty. his nose.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker.. gets out of the truck. . 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. ORLEAN (V.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. Indians in the swamp. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth.B. He pulls over down the road.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. 8 INT.O. a ranger. Nothing. It's Susan Orlean: pale. Tony clears his throat into the radio.. watches the vehicles through binoculars. Indians do not go on swamp walks. delicate and blond.
She looks up at him. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. Uncomfortable silence. KAUFMAN That's.. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. it's no fun. Kaufman sees her watching it.MIDDAY Kaufman. We are. sits with Valerie. She -VALERIE We think you're great. her breasts. She sees him seeing her watching it. Boy.. (CONTINUED) . L. They pick at salads. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. 4 9 INT. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. She thinks I'm old. KAUFMAN Oh. I appreciate that. it is. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. They are. She thinks I'm fat. Thank you. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. her hair. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. wow. He quickly swabs. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. That's nice to hear.pg. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. looks down. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. thanks. He blanches. She looks at her salad.A. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. Valerie watches it.
too. an orchid heist movie or something. great. sprawling New Yorker stuff. VALERIE Oh. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. Great. Well. I think it's a great book. flips through the book. Indians.. stalling. VALERIE Okay. I mean. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours... pretends not to notice. let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven.. I like to let my work evolve. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . That sounds interesting. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. Plus her musings on Florida.. and also not force it into a typical movie form. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. So. In one motion. great.pg. I'm intrigued. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means. what you're saying. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. orchid poaching. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. Like. I'd want to remain true to that. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. KAUFMAN Absolutely. His brow is dripping again. isn't he? Kaufman nods. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. KAUFMAN First.. KAUFMAN Oh. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of.
Valerie is quiet.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like.pg. or car chases. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. 10 INT. Audubon posters. I feel very strongly about this. CALIFORNIA. It just isn't. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. fake. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. I don't want to cram in sex. It wouldn't happen. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. unpack boxes. OFFICE . but we can't make out the words. a soulful development executive. VALERIE That's what we're thinking.. Or characters learning profound life lessons.DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence.. Life isn't like that. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Kaufman appears in the open doorway. it didn't happen. lots of books. Margaret turns. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. or guns. Definitely. I mean. Y'know? The book isn't like that. Margaret. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. but to me -. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. KAUFMAN Knock knock. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay.
just wanted to say hello. thanks. MARGARET Oh. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. It's all so stupid. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . Margie! MARGARET Well. MARGARET Anyway. about flowers. There's one you might like. Come in. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. KAUFMAN It's great. So what's with you? man.. such an awful picture. Kaufman laughs. Pretty fancy office. Very very cool. sits on the couch. with Robert? Oooh. congratulate you on the promotion. God. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. KAUFMAN You looked great. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs.. nods) So. Margaret sits down next to him. Kaufman enters. Take a load off. covers by talking. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. Mostly crap.pg. at the closeness. KAUFMAN (smiles.
sex and drug deals and violence. I dunno. man. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. yelling) I don't care. he's scored.. MARGARET Susan Orlean. Thanks. MARGARET You should definitely do it. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by.pg. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. (presses button on phone) Andy. Robert. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. Jesus. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. . MARGARET I'll read it. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. (hangs up.. Cool. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. And it sounds exciting. (looking up. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. You're all the recommendation I need. About orchids. MARGARET I don't care. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. it would be you. somebody needs to save us all.
(conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff.pg. He points out a turtle on a rock.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. Laroche spots something else. KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. 11 EXT. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water. dirty.MORNING Hot. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. 12 EXT. SWAMP . tenderly caresses the petals. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. Although. A ghost. miserable. That I can't speak to. closer.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. The Indians ignore him. 13 INT. Russell pulls out a hacksaw. maybe you fellas specifically. His eyes widen in reverent awe. begins sawing through the tree. closer. They trudge. MURKY POOL OF WATER . Laroche stares at a single beautiful. circles the tree. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. 13 (CONTINUED) . you can teach me. Soon there are millions of them. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. Then. RESTAURANT . He stops. until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. Russell. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around.
The boy returns to his search. BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. That's nice to hear.plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. anemic-looking little girl. KAUFMAN Yeah. I don't want to get by on quirkiness. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. PET STORE (1972) . show people heaven in a wildflower. at a small turtle in an aquarium. studying the inhabitants.pg. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. I want to think differently. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. who is sitting with a frail. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. He turns to his frumpy mother. This one.. BOY Any animal at all. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN .. KAUFMAN Thanks. 14 INT. As Blake said. It's like. But I'm ready to challenge myself. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. ma? She nods sweetly. My stuff tends to be weird. listless.
The book is just amazing. (CONTINUED) * * * . KAUFMAN God. this guy I'm seeing. I think David. SWAMP . 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. Margaret raises a glass. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids.MORNING As Laroche supervises. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. I'm just so pleased you liked it. would enjoy it. (He takes a breath) Hey. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. thrilled. Russell. Randy. All I do is tell him how great you are. He's a naturalist. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. Kaufman.pg. too.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. man. 16 INT. of course. 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. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. Sure. clicks glasses. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . He probably hates you already.
(to Kaufman) ... okay.. 16 Oh. MARGARET (cont'd) . then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know... KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I'm sure you know. kind of post-coital dreamy.. long time ago. The entrees arrive. anyway... He can no longer look up at Margaret. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel. MARGARET So I was lying there. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business.... in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. MARGARET You'll like him. I mean.. a long time ago. David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct. Y'know.pg. He's just honest and smart.. MARGARET Well. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true. (to waiter) Thanks. KAUFMAN He sounds great. Uh-huh. so. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good. You've read that. A bit. Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. right? KAUFMAN Um.
With every fiber of his being. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . recoil. 19 EXT. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. that nature doesn't exist historically.. 18 INT.O. building upon itself. TROPICAL RIVER .DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf.NIGHT Orlean types..DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER.MORNING Tony waits. who haul the pillowcases. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians. So whereas human history spirals forward. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. nature. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . OCEAN .. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm. As she rings him up.pg. Tony tenses. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 . 21 EXT. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio. the body language. small blind jellyfish collide. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. and hover. he studies their interaction. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. The radio crackles. her lips. Her eyes. sweaty and mosquito bitten.DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH. 17 EXT. 20 INT.. BARNES AND NOBLE . the way she looks at him. carries them to the register. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going. but rather cyclically. ORLEAN (V. she expresses no interest in him. She pulls down her sleeve.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation.
14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river. limping.O. RIVER . JANES SCENIC DRIVE . 23 24 OMITTED EXT.) Schroeder fell to his death.pg. 25 EXT... 22 EXT. pleurisy.O. docks his boat. you absolutely may. and dysentery. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo. Laroche smiles warmly. steals his boat. ORLEAN (V.O. ORLEAN (V.O. ORLEAN (V.) (cont'd) . ORLEAN (V.) Augustus Margary survived toothache. rheumatism.DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff.O. sir. The murderer sails down river. ORLEAN (V.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition.) (cont'd) Laroche loved orchids but I came to believe he loved the difficulty and fatality of getting them almost as much as he loved the orchids themselves.. clutching a flower.DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated.. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. Someone steps from behind a bush.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck. CLIFF . 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. stabs him. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes. (CONTINUED) .
Because he's an Indian and it's his right. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. This is a state preserve. I'm sure. 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. Okay then! Let's see.pg. it is. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. I'm asking then. Florida v. Every one of them. Billie. one of. sir. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him.. even though he has no idea. Did I mention that? You're familiar. TONY Exactly. TONY Okay.. Tony nods. LAROCHE Oh. that's exactly the issue. Well. (afterthought) Oh. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. James E. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. They give it. sir. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. what. LAROCHE Yes. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . one peperomia. nine orchid varieties. About a hundred and thirty plants all told.
the wilderness disappears before your eyes. That's exactly what we use them for. Yeah. they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah. everything is always growing or expanding. RUSSELL He's right. RENTAL CAR .... * 26 * . At the same time.... She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks.O.O. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds. I can't let you fellas go yet.pg. (into radio) Hey. Just hold on while I. Yeah. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation. Orlean drives past endless swampland. ORLEAN (V..DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot. Barry.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. Chickee huts. ORLEAN (V. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT.O. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile. Tony looks at the Indians.. ORLEAN (V. which.) (cont'd) . I believe.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. but I don't. Yeah.
The TV is turned to the hotel information channel.pg." The girls giggle. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed. In a time lapse sequence. RIVER'S EDGE . the plants grow. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater. Charles. my own reflection. continues down the hall. and climbs the stairs. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely. HOTEL ROOM .A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. * (CONTINUED) . THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. DONALD (cont'd) Hey. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy. Orlean finishes organizing her stuff. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE . 28 EXT.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. you'll be glad.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. 30 INT. EMPTY HOUSE . die. Two teenage girls walk by.O. his identical twin brother. 17 27 INT. KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. regards himself glumly. KAUFMAN (V. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. I am repulsive. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time.) I am fat. whither. 29 EXT. then starts to weep inconsolably. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso.
DONALD (cont'd) Okay. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. People come from all over to study his method. clipped from a trade paper. I forgot. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT. KAUFMAN Donald. (CONTINUED) * . don't say "industry.S. okay. paper back under his pillow. I'll pay you back.) In theory I agree with you. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. enters his bedroom. 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan. But I'm doing it right this time. from under his pillow. He gets lost in the picture. buddy.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret.S. this guy knows screenwriting.pg. DONALD Yeah. DONALD (O. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. DONALD (O. EMPTY BEDROOM . Charles.
I never saw it. There's definitely a flower in that. and anybody who says there are. go ahead. McKee writes: "A rule says. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new.. not building a model airplane. is just -DONALD Not rules. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Kaufman waits. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. and has through all remembered time. Donald. fuming." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. principles. principle says. Sorry. Okay. There was a book -DONALD Oh. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me.. Okay. So. Sorry. my point is. Writing is a journey into the unknown. Donald stares at the ceiling. Getting no response. you must do it this way.pg. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. Go. stares at ceiling) Okay. I apologize. there're no guidelines. this works. (lies down. KAUFMAN Look. And it's not a movie. okay. it's about flowers. keep going. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. And a writer should always have that goal. Hey.
. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford.LATE MORNING Ranger.. GIRL Bye. because posited. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. bored and smoking.O. Are you a former Fulbright scholar. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. SWAMP . The Indians lean against their car. He puts the book down. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers.. Lots of sweating. The pillowcases have been emptied. an opposited. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V.. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. and what we have here.) (CONT'D) Each being is.. He says good-bye and walks happily away.. LAROCHE . a conditional and conditioning. 32A INT. puffs out her cheeks. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 . LIBRARY . Both brothers stare at the ceiling.. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite. my friend. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch. sheriff. is . They seem to be enjoying Donald.. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. Kaufman's head is spinning. A guy sprinkles water on them. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata.DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth.pg. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar. uniformed people. 32 INT.
But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. A very good haul. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum.pg. except in your swamp. LAROCHE Yeah. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. Bug spray. Laroche. EMPTY KITCHEN . 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. you really know your plants. KAUFMAN Yeah. KAUFMAN I can do that. Two Catopsi Floribunda. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay.S. I do. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful. the ghost orchid. 35A INT. KAUFMAN Hi. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. (CONTINUED) . Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. So. Tem-pen-sis. Mr. What I really came for. y'know. let's see. I'm one of the world's foremost experts.
gray could. And the water's black. Donald lies on the floor. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. Heavy.. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. something they won't easily bite through. Okay. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. buzzing. Mosquito netting.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room. You'll be trudging through acidic. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. So a strong boot. Donald.O. DONALD (V. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting.. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find.) The most memorable. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * .pg. so you won't be able to see the snakes. Kaufman. With Deet. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. heavy pants. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. EMPTY DINING ROOM . looks over at Donald. thighhigh water. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators. ancient family of perennial plants with. bored. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. Long sleeves. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book.
. DONALD (V. I'm really gonna write this.. she loved my. RENTAL CAR .. do not multiply locations.. past prefab housing.. And.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation.O. mom's paying for the seminar. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world.) Do not proliferate characters.. maybe you and mom could collaborate. Well. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way. and. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch. ORLEAN (V. DONALD You think you're so superior. and people.O. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah. space. telling of my story to her.. 37 * * * * * . They go back to their books. I hear she's really good with structure. Charles. Anyway. okay? The two glare at each other.. ancient family of perennial plants with. 37 INT.pg. he's Charlie's twin.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. Anyway. Rather than hopscotching through time. you suck.) The Orchidaceae is a large.. And you'll see. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho.O." DONALD Sorry. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29." KAUFMAN Hey. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V..
(stops. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. Thank you. KAUFMAN (V. EMPTY BEDROOM .pg. 24 38 INT.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. Alan Lerner. is on the stand. COURT ROOM . types) A white van appears from around a curve. He turns to his typewriter. Laroche. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay.O. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. Laroche. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map. (stops. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. This is John Laroche. sits in the back. both in magazine and book form. the tribe's lawyer. 39 INT. I'm a published author. questions him. I'm a professional plant lecturer. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. and a Hawaiian shirt.) We open on State Road 29. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. I have extensive experience with orchids. This is laboratory work. .DAY The proceedings are in progress. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. not at all like your nursery work. Orlean hurries in. thinks. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style. LERNER Finally. Mr.
he's being hunted by a cop. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. like. like the Holy Grail. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . DONALD (lost) Y'know. She becomes. right -Kaufman groans. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. the unattainable. looks up at the closed door. stares at the ceiling. or what? Go away. in bed masturbating. Cool. wet. I'm just trying to do something. (flicks on light. Even though he's never even met her.pg. and in the process he falls in love with her. And he's taunting the cop.NIGHT Kaufman. 41 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . wait. thanks a lot. waits. What?! The door opens. lies down.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. 41 DONALD Look. there's this serial killer. man. pierced lips. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. you wanna hear my pitch. Kaufman squints at his brother. then in pitch mode:) Okay. KAUFMAN God damn it. She catches him and smiles with red. DONALD (CONT'D) No. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. 25 40 INT. sits up. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. BARNES AND NOBLE . See.
(CONTINUED) * . Okay? How could you. Sybil meets.. Donald waits blankly. how could you have someone held prisoner in a basement and working in a police station at the same time? DONALD Trick photography? KAUFMAN Okay.. KAUFMAN (O. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. is multiple personality. he's really also the cop and the girl. if there's only one character... right?... until the third act denouement. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits.S. KAUFMAN The other thing is. what I'm asking is.) That's not how it's pronounced. What exactly would the. See. Kaufman gives up. but there's a twist. Very taut. proud. Listen closely. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay... I dunno. Okay? See.pg. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person.. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder. Kaufman dresses and exits. Dressed to Kill. gets out of bed. I really liked Dressed to Kill. there's no way to write this.. in the reality of this movie.. Did you consider that? I mean. DONALD (calling after) Cool. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. that's not what I'm asking.
Laroche scowls. 42 Okay. follows Buster. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. COURTHOUSE . 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. and Buster Baxley. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. walks away. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . They're all smoking intently. Laroche cracks his neck. yes. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. Right? ORLEAN Right. Lerner walks off. apologetic for the intrusion.pg. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. LERNER Buster.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. for crying out loud. Orlean tries some more. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. Vinson. smokes furiously. 42 * 41 Oh. ORLEAN Mr. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. stubs his cigarette. Laroche? Orlean smiles. we'll deal with all this at trial. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. I swear to God. The New Yorker. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. Vinson shrugs. the New Yorker. I handled it. EXT.
42 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I'm right, and I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court. That judge can screw herself. Orlean scribbles on her pad. Laroche twists his head to see that she's writing "Judge can screw herself." LAROCHE (cont'd) That for real would go in? ORLEAN Absolutely. Laroche smiles his toothless smile at Orlean. LAROCHE I'll have to speak to my advisors. 43 EXT. FIELD - MORNING MUSIC: lush, profound orchestral piece. A glorious orange, large-petalled orchid blooms in dramatic time-lapse. We slowly, lovingly circle the flower. SENSUOUS FEMALE NARRATOR The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient family of perennial plants with one fertile stamen and a three petalled flower. In most orchid species, one petal is enlarged into a lip and is the most conspicuous part of the flower. 44 INT. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN - DAY Kaufman, in a booth, reads The Orchid Thief, takes notes. KAUFMAN (V.O.) The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient... He's bored, looks up, watches a waitress with glorious, orange hair, pouty lips, soulful eyes, and a voluptuous form, turning slowly around, scanning her station. She sees Kaufman, approaches, and smiles warmly down at him. Her badge reads: Alice, Arcadia, CA. Kaufman sweats. ALICE So what looks good today? KAUFMAN Um, hi. The key lime pie, please. A small slice. I'm watching my... And a coffee, please. Skim milk. Please. (CONTINUED) * 44 * 43 * * * * * 42
44 CONTINUED: ALICE (sees book) Orchids! I absolutely love orchids. Kaufman goes blank. Cool! KAUFMAN A small awkward pause. * 44
He flinches at his lameness.
ALICE So, I'll be right back with your pie. She smiles warmly again and leaves. 45 EXT. ORCHID SHOW - DAY Alice, in her CPK uniform, and Kaufman walk hand-in-hand, inspecting sexy orchids together. She smiles warmly at him. ALICE I think these flowers are so sexy. Alice stands very close to Kaufman. Her bare arm touches his. Kaufman looks at the touching arms. Alice continues to study the flower but intertwines her fingers in Kaufman's. ALICE (cont'd) Let's see what's around back. She leads Kaufman behind the display to a quiet, wooded area. She unbuttons her uniform. It falls to the ground, leaving her naked, dappled in sunlight, her beautiful red hair glowing. Kaufman drops to his knees in front of her and kisses her thighs, caresses her ass. Alice glides Kaufman's head to her crotch. 46 INT. EMPTY ROOM - NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. 47 INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON, OHIO, FORTY-THREE YEARS EARLIER He lies lonely in the dark. 47 * 46 * * Kaufman is humiliated. 45
* * * *
It's dark. A lonely, little girl in a nightgown lies on her bed, holds a flashlight in one hand and writes in her diary with the other.
47 CONTINUED: LITTLE GIRL (V.O.) Today I played with Mary. We had fun. We played Mommy and Daddy. I got to be the Mommy. It was very fun. Footsteps in the hall. The little girl flicks off the flashlight, closes her eyes. The door opens. A middle-aged woman walks in, bumps tipsily into the dresser, sits on the edge of the bed, looks at her daughter and cries quietly. 48 EXT. HOTEL PARKING LOT - MORNING Orlean leans against a car and smokes. A tiny, lost figure. There's a honk. Orlean snaps out of her reverie to see Laroche screeching to a stop in his banged-up van. ORLEAN (V.O.) A few days after the hearing, Laroche took me to an orchid show in Miami. She opens the passenger door. Hi. ORLEAN (cont'd) Thanks for picking -48 47
* * * * *
LAROCHE I want you to know this van is a piece of shit. When I hit the jackpot, I'll buy myself an awesome car. What are you driving? An Aurora. Awesome. ORLEAN It's my father's. He lives --
LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.
Orlean nods, climbs in, and tries to rearrange some of the junk on the front seat so she'll have a place to sit. LAROCHE (cont'd) Sit on top of that. You won't hurt it. She situates herself on the edge of the seat, rests her feet on an open bag of potting soil. Laroche lurches off. 49 INT. VAN - DAY Laroche drives manically. Orlean watches the road and holds one hand against the dashboard. 49 *
Orlean tries to figure a way in. with a small jerk of the head. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. Florida can't touch us. sell 'em. I researched it. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates.pg. Uh-huh. Orlean smiles back. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp." * (CONTINUED) . pulls out a notebook. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. Laroche clams up. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. yeah. He doesn't take the hint. As long as I don't touch the plants. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. that he might want to watch the road." Uh-huh. And that's the ghost. LAROCHE The plan was. She's writing: "skinny as a stick." Laroche looks over and smiles. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. posture of al dente spaghetti. Orlean writes. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. Collectors covet what is not available. steers with knees as he lights another.
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)
The tape recorder is on between them. we'd better get started. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. VAN . huh. ORLEAN Wow. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. her sad eyes wet and glistening. I lost interest right after that.DAY Laroche drives.pg.. She underlines it. Orlean studies him for a moment. They drive in silence. * * * ORLEAN I guess I'd like to know how you can just detach from something when you've invested so much of your soul -LAROCHE Ditched fossils for resilvering old mirrors. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. that's some story. ORLEAN So.. Collected the shit out of 'em. 55 INT. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere. solemnly nodding his head. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. Oh. Perhaps you read about us. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. Orlean watches a flying heron.
I vow to never set foot in the ocean again.pg. THERAPIST Red hair. not a lot a lot. Chaetodon capistratus.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. Kaufman nods. (beat) No. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. I once fell deeply. 56 57 OMITTED INT. * * (CONTINUED) . I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. Anisotremus virginicus. You name it. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. fuck fish. I renounce fish. Holacanthus ciliaris. Different woman. that's how much fuck fish. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. profoundly in love with tropical fish. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. THERAPIST Uh-huh. The new girl I'm obsessed with. Then one day I say. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen.
. SEMINOLE NURSERY . ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. He gently reaches out and touches it.. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. Orlean approaches. Yes. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. My * * * * * * . VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola.. He's handsome. Oy. Hi. right? I saw you at the courthouse. A few Indians are hauling plants..DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. She's taken. Thank you. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. ORLEAN Oh. His eyes are gentle. VINSON John's not here today.. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. heart holds yours. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair.. so. ORLEAN Susan Orlean.. VINSON I can see your sadness.. Hi.. His longblack hair is braided. I washed it this morning. Anyway.. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her.. Oh. I'm using a new conditioner and.pg. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. is how I know. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired..
yeah. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . I am. ALICE Well. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. I'm just a sweetie.pg. Still * Thank you. She winks at him. He touches her hand and heads back to work. completely present. That sounds great. hair combed. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. 58 INT. Just like that. immersed in the activity. Preferred customer. watching Alice. grows right on a tree branch. muscles straining against his shirt. KAUFMAN Yes. Vinson smiles. It cuts right through her. She watches him haul potted plants.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. I hope. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. She smiles warmly. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . It's not personal. He tenses as she comes up to him. sits nervously in a booth. ain't I. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. He's so in love. She just stands there. It's the Indian way. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. reading about orchids. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay.
They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. Epiphytes grow on trees. I was also wondering. (CONTINUED) . huh? Yeah. ALICE Well.pg. anyway. but they're not parasites. KAUFMAN I apologize. that's a lot. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. KAUFMAN That's great. I'm impressed. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. still smiling. Alice turns back. well -I'm sorry. She smiles and turns to leave. He beams. I'm sorry. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. ALICE Oh. KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. ALICE Wow. Awkward pause. um. so. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte.. Her warmth dissipates. I'm just learning..
copies something from her notebook onto the computer..DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts. They are dull. I have to get out of here right now.O. NEW YORKER . who pay him no mind. 59 INT. 60 EXT. at her desk. all glowing. I am old. He nods.) (cont'd) . Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. personalities. He tries to study the flowers... some in garish clothing. like a school teacher. one looks like an octopus. He sweats. one looks like a gymnast. One looks. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. He forces himself to look. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world.O.O. colors.. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) .) I am fat. obligingly eats.MORNING Orlean. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then..) .. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. ORLEAN (V.pg.O.. One species looks like a German shepherd. The other waitress brings his pie.) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species.. One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen. One has eyes that dance. Fuck the pie. KAUFMAN (V. ORLEAN (V. one looks like an onion. ORLEAN (V. The other waitress looks over at him. He is sick with adoration for the women. some in subtle clothing.
We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. war. admiring a view. commerce. He does it fast and unintentionally. I don't need to know what their jobs is. We see murder and procreation. an arm slipped through an arm. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . a shared look. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid.O.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. The way I like them. He quickly shifts back to her face. eating meat. We see Alice serving food. We see the history of architecture. religion. I don't need to know them at all. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. Those love them. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. A million women walking down the street.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. love them madly. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. We see old age and birth. * 63 * * * . 63 INT. The entire sequence takes two minutes. 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. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear.pg. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. smiling at customers.
ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. ORLEAN I don't know. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk.O. fondles its petals. LAROCHE Once you get the sickness. into which life was first breathed. Look at me. Noisy chatter and calliope music. fish. He finds The Portable Darwin. Uh-huh. Kaufman paces and reads. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. EMPTY BEDROOM . It's all I think about. 42 64 INT. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin.NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. mirror resilvering.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. 65 INT. Hegel. 66 . 66 INT. BOOK-LINED STUDY . SHOW HALL .) 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. etc. it takes over your life. You'll see.pg. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. DARWIN (V. plastic clowns. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you.
NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. This isn't a pissing contest.pg. the world lives. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. by the way -. Silence.proboscis means nose. And this attraction. Everyone thought he was a loon. like a lover. is so much larger than either of them. EMPTY BEDROOM . Crowds. 67 * 68 68 EXT. Then. Think about it. sure enough. thinking. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. Neither understands the significance of this interaction..) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. The flower insists. But because of it. KAUFMAN We start before life.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. SHOW HALL . he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal. All is silent. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. It finds an orchid which it resembles. 43 67 INT. LAROCHE (V. LAROCHE (V. 69 EXT. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 .DAY Blasting music. this passion. Suddenly. MEADOW .O.O.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means.. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it.
FEMALE GUEST Oh. 70 INT.O. No front teeth. jabber passionately. Orlean nods. covered in pollen. HUSBAND He's a great character. You have to. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. It's unexpected. One of those trailer guys. covered with pollen. carries it off. that's a great detail. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. Orlean looks at Laroche. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. carry boxes of plants. You're supposed to. buzzing around flowers.orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. flies away. not too educated. She is detached here as well. stare deep into nectaries. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. SHOW HALL . (CONTINUED) . then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. Once you learn anything about orchids.pg.) (cont'd) The insect. Right. APARTMENT . falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying.
74 INT.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. BATHROOM . ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V.. which she loves. NEW YORKER OFFICES . 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) . LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM . They smile at each other. but his voice goes under.) What is it about people who collect. we hear them in voice-over.) .) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking.EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom. 73 INT. but it isn't part of my constitution... 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So..O. HUSBAND (O. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V.S.. Orlean cries and types.O.O. who get obsessed with these. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. but there's a terrible distance between them. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion.pg.O. As the words appear on her screen. He's a sweaty mess.. 72 INT.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background. ORLEAN (V. Susie gets to do a natural history thing.
DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. into the night. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. See. presses "play. lust. No response from Kaufman. You'd love him. He's all for originality. Donald waits for a response. All is silent. heaving with excitement. Charles. we have to realize we all write in a genre. too. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . just like you! But he says. And the movie begins. This has never been attempted in a movie before. farming.. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. then." As he listens. hunting. religion. so we must find our originality within that genre. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. He rewinds the recorder. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . war. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. evolved. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. Yearning. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. Then. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. in the last seconds of the montage.. It breaks every rule. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. after the history of life on the planet. adapted.pg. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits.
what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . too. 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. Through an open door.O. my wife. then types. to ask me stuff. to admire me. John.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. ORLEAN'S STUDY . did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. CUSTOMER #1 John. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. 47 76 INT. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. We opened a nursery. From Peru. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. sits sadly for a moment. NURSERY . LAROCHE (V. Laura was such a class act.O. stare into space. Say. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. She was beautiful. browse.) People started coming out of the woodwork. LAROCHE (V. to admire my plants. One guy pulls Laroche aside.pg.) I got married.
For a person. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. She waves back. maybe I can help. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. Orlean looks at him.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. VAN . 89 INT. Hey. 88 INT. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. (CONTINUED) . MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. People can't sometimes. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. Kaufman looks at Marty. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. it's almost shameful to adapt. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. They just move on to what's next.pg. his full head of hair. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. Adaptation is a profound process. It's like running away. Orlean looks out at the dark night. it's easier for plants. Marty smiles at him. After a long silence. I should've just stuck with my own stuff. AGENT'S OFFICE . ORLEAN Well. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. keeps walking. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. they have no memory.NIGHT Laroche drives.
He's funny. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know. (uncertain) I think they are." So Orlean "digresses in long passes.. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. I wanted to grow as a writer. Show people how amazing flowers are. MARTY Make one up. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book. The book's a jumping off point. Anyway. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you.. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. Oh man. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. The book has no story. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers. I have a responsibility. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. MARTY Look. do something profound and simple. I can't structure this. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass.pg.. You're the king.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . "No narrative really unites these passages." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -. It's someone else's material.." Blah blah blah. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by.
. (CONTINUED) .) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. Buster. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche. smoking and ranting at Orlean.pg. COURTHOUSE . He lies there. KAUFMAN (V. alone in bed. 89A INT. MARTY Charlie. talks to reporters.. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER . She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit.O. LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. EMPTY BEDROOM . ejaculates.DAY Kaufman. The judge is a moron. 89B EXT. Reporters talk to video cameras. I think it would be a terrible career move. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience. at the end of the day. After a few moments.DAY A crowd of people. at his car. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. He reads the page. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche.
) Okay. 89C INT. They were nailed on a technicality. who I found so maddening. He's funny. not even the goddamned Indians. the trial. Okay. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. She sips iced tea. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. A park official is being interviewed. especially Laroche. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. RESTAURANT . 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. ORLEAN Hence the branches. KAUFMAN (V.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . Nobody's allowed to take those. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. Please don't put in I said. So that's what we got 'em on. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches.pg. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. what with the protection the Native Americans have. he says. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy.O. goddamned Indians. flowers. It was all so maddening. The rapid fire click-click of typing. Indians. Orlean. we open with Laroche. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. I love to mutate plants. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.. papers coffee cups. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. that's why I'm so smart. David's out of town.O.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. He picks up The Orchid Thief.. Just thought I could get some more info. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. opens it. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. ORLEAN Oh. I don't mean to bother you. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . okay -91 INT. Okay we open at the beginning of time. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. How about you? Nothing.that's funny. 92 93 OMITTED INT. Orlean is silent for a moment. dense. I was mutated as baby. we have the court case. He peers through the darkness at the books. EMPTY BEDROOM ......no. we show flowers.O. Enthusiastic off-screen typing. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. John.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward.pg. I'm just hanging out. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . okay. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. They had to confront what a dark. reads. ORLEAN Ah. We show Laroche. ORLEAN (V. Okay. overabundant place might have hidden in it.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. he says.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches.
(CONTINUED) 95 * . 94 INT.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. mother. Orlean starts to tear up. His father watches TV. honey. We're finally pulling out of debt. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. his mother and uncle in back. MOTHER Amen. Laroche smiles back at his mother. Buddha. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. LAROCHE'S CAR . but sometimes bad things happen. then gets professional to cover. 95 INT. Laroche pulls into traffic. his wife in front. Darkness descends. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . Vishnu.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. and uncle out of the house. This last year's been a dream. tell me.pg. his front teeth fly in all directions. LAROCHE It was going well. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. dad? His father doesn't respond.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . I'm telling you. And all the rest of 'em. Uncle Jim. Praise Allah. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. ORLEAN So.
No one can judge you if you almost died. on the cordless phone.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral.pg. STREET . ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. Laroche. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. 97 INT.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. stares out at the street where the accident took place. 96 EXT. 98A INT. too. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. (CONTINUED) . Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. jerking her forward and landing on top of her. I think I'd leave my marriage. She regains control and flips it down to talk. wood. CEMETERY . in his mourning suit.DAY Laroche. 98B EXT. She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard.DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. ORLEAN If I almost died. And then. and the green pulp that was once plant life. adding insult to injury. sits by his comatose wife. LAROCHE'S STOOP . HOSPITAL ROOM . 98 EXT. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. It's like a free pass. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her.
to get their nursery going. She's drunk. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V.pg. I understand. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. MARGARET (cont'd) So. I can't figure out how to make it work. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . I took the job. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. an expert. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. John. He tries to duck but she spots him. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. beer in hand. She runs over and hugs him.O. MARGARET (beat) Well. sit. I was gonna give them something amazing. (CONTINUED) . PARTY HOUSE . I'm full of shit. 98C INT. Oh. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters.) Everything. how's the script. sit. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. Margaret. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. I wanted to do something amazing. MARGARET You hate me. 99 INT. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. I know. Hey. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. I don't know. There's no story. You don't call me no more.
Hey. (to Kaufman) Charlie.. Hey. story.. Kaufman and David shake hands.. MARGARET No. DAVID No? I was fascinated. Davey. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. this is my friend David. Marg. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. Boy. but. Oh. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it.pg.. A young man approaches. MARGARET Hey you. we should head. (CONTINUED) . 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. Cool. It is a challenging one. I'll get Marg to send it to you. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. Man. God bless you for trying. Charlie. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. wow. KAUFMAN That'd be great. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well.
Yeah. man. I'm banned. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . hand on Margaret's ass. She kisses his ear. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. dangerous. sits there. And you are amazing. 100 INT. You're the best. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark.pg. Donald. I'd like you to take me. Hey." Orlean closes the book. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . EMPTY BEDROOM . hey. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. as dense as steel wool. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. She dials the phone. 102 INT. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. Hey. but if it doesn't. but. 'Course. I'll have something honest to give the world. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. NEW YORKER OFFICE . Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. 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. Goddamn crucified me. put that in the article! 101 INT.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. I don't know if it'll kill me. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off.
DONALD Charles. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . God.O.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. counted fifty and stopped. 104B INT. impracticable. Hey. So. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. ORLEAN (V. I'm so glad to be home. AIRPLANE .NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. sweetie. AIRPLANE . Full of monstrous alligators. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT.O. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension.pg. 105 INT. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. I'm putting a song in.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V. try to think of a song about multiple personality. alligators. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around." Donald looks up from his work. SWAMP .DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. 104A EXT. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. STUDIO APARTMENT .
takes his seat. He heads up the aisle. One of the stewardesses laughs.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom.) The swampy part of the Fakahatchee is hot and wet and buggy and full of cottonmouth snakes and diamond back rattlers and alligators and snapping turtles and poisonous plants and wild hogs and. He takes notes. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. She regards Kaufman blankly. SWAMP . RENTAL CAR . then goes back to her conversation.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. AIRPLANE . Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. adjusts himself. unbuttons her blouse. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT.O. She sighs contentedly. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing.pg. 106 INT. ORLEAN (V. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. I've waited all day to feel you inside me.. About that. Five or six. He tenses. Okay. probably in the world. Kaufman. stands. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. The stewardess slips out of her blazer.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. pulls up his pants. Five to six thousand years old. and exits the bathroom. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . 107 INT.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. which is completely dry..
nineteen to twenty.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. there's usually water. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. HOTEL ROOM . three to five miles wide. across the room reading a book. four and a half. There were snakes and alligators. ORLEAN (V. black water. 120 INT.. So. She sighs. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. or nineteen.. again. and right here it's about five miles wide. holds a phone to her ear.pg. Good for us today.O. KAUFMAN Um. We've been going through a bit of a drought. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. And I had this thought. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. I called Laroche. five. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face. nineteen. it's twenty miles long. It was sweltering.NIGHT Orlean types. It's about twenty miles long. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. MIKE OWEN Well.O. 120 . She glances at her husband. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. ORLEAN (V. continues typing.
fleeting and out of reach. RESTAURANT .NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief.NIGHT Orlean. * VALERIE We're big fans.. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. He finds himself lost in it.O. is on the phone. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean.) .. Laroche is such a fun character. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT.'" VALERIE (O. ORLEAN Thanks very much. 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me.) Beautifully written..clears throat) Jesus Christ. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ". Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine. KAUFMAN (V. He hi-lites the passage. (CONTINUED) . 124 INT. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved. Thank you.. Really unique. PLANE . dirty from the swamp.C. thanks. ORLEAN Well. VALERIE It's funny and fresh.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd. ORLEAN Yeah. Thank you.pg. And sad in a way. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me. HOTEL ROOM . John's a character all right.
These things mostly never get made. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. um. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . but seems to be enjoying herself now. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. ORLEAN More John. Orlean holds on. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. VAN .DAY 127 * * Laroche. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. Orlean is charmed. 127 INT. the nursery lot. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. (CONTINUED) . So I'll be doing that.DAY 128 * * * EXT. we'd really like to option this. * 126 VALERIE Y'know.pg. more orchids. Florida Seminole reservation.
BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number.pg. John. shares the seat with it. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. Now it's "Crazy White Man. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. Back! (hangs up) Hey. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. looks at some papers on his desk.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. I'll study the shit out of acting. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. TRAILER . LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. He waits. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. Before Orlean can respond. yes! Yeah. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. Orlean moves the junk over. While you write. I'll take acting classes. 129 INT. Buster. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door." That's a good title for the movie.
BUSTER Listen. turn 'em into big ones. so all the dead shrubs. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. VAN . Orlean holds on. Buy little ones.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. Her heart is breaking for him. He glances over at Orlean. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. all they do is smoke weed all day. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. It's fixed. sell 'em at a profit. I been meaning to talk to you about that.pg. The sprinklers were busted for a while.. Buster. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. what she can to make herself invisible. There are tears welling in her eyes. Laroche looks back at Buster. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. But I got it fixed. Laroche stops short. No. Buster stares back. humiliated in front of her. Simple plant multiplication for the masses. BUSTER John.I got lot's of ideas. I'm really excited about. BUSTER No kidding. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication.. So if it's a question of productivity -. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . we're not closing shop. the guys on my crew here.
DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT. There is nothing on the walls. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn. Oooh. LAROCHE (O. crazy white man.. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. Look.. The room looks sad. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John. it's Susan.. * . I'll sue. empty. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence.C. PHONE BOOTH .C. If they fire me.C. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. LAROCHE (O.) ORLEAN . Crazy. It rings for a long time..) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. They can't fire me. Orlean dials the phone. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. and anonymous. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more. We don't see Laroche at all.) I'm no longer interested in orchids. And I ain't going to quit.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. Don't just abandon me down here. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . Susan who? LAROCHE (O. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. 131 132 OMITTED INT. I'm pursuing other avenues. I already did some legal research on this.pg.
ORLEAN Goddamnit. attends orchid shows.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. TEENAGE GIRL (V. but it's a teenager's room now. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. (CONTINUED) . What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. visits nurseries.O. She flips through her address book.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. sits in lecture halls. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. HOTEL ROOM . on the floor are records and books. how perfect. so present. A blonde. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. a NOW button. 137A INT. And I thought. PHONE BOOTH . Orlean stands there for a moment. She is bored and distracted. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. Laroche hangs up. it's starting already.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. so beautiful. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. I couldn't stop. On the dresser. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. 66 134 INT. There is no one to call. She is so pure. her journalist persona on. lonely and lost. infant eyes.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. Then I cried. make-up. OHIO. Susan. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT. On the walls are posters of Dylan.pg. GIRL'S BEDROOM . At one point. a tampax box. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina.
how. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. y'know. honey. Um. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. Work good? Good. dolled-up. thanks for coming. After a long beat she dials the phone. Yeah. ORLEAN Yeah.. HOTEL BAR . Uh-huh. hon. Hey. I was just fascinated with this story and.. eyes herself in the mirror.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. anxiously gets ready to go out. Yeah. She waves. VINSON I don't know. HOTEL ROOM .LATER 137B Orlean.. okay. um. It must've been crazy! Boy.No. Okay. I'll speak to you in the morning. The phone rings. ORLEAN Um. There's Vinson's phone number.. large the scope was and. y'know.. her trembly fingers.pg. all the Native American aspects and. (CONTINUED) . Not really. it might be late. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. plays with her hair. There's a silence. okay. Let me call you in the morning. He saunters over and sits. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. She picks up. So. Vinson enters. VINSON Sure thing.. 137B INT. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. She sips a glass of champagne. After a few moments. This should be really helpful. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. 137C INT. what was it like for you.
. look. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. he seems bored and impatient. I just -.. Orlean just sits there. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. um... man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. here. Native American. do you want to get laid or not.. for me.Did I -communicate something? No. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. Um. looks up. No. fuck. we can talk here. DONALD How was Florida. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. Orlean is at a loss. He barely looks at her. Y'know. She's shaking. Gosh.. 138 139 OMITTED INT. ORLEAN Oh. typing furiously at his desk.pg. Donald. She finishes her drink. so I thought it would be helpful. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. No. ORLEAN Oh.. um. VINSON I drove an hour to get here.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs.this seems fine. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. I just wanted to get some. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . if -Ah. EMPTY HOUSE . You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. ORLEAN (cont'd) . DONALD Hey.. I think we can -. no. I apologize.
I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. I've posted one over both our work areas. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. Okay. He looks over at the clock. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. Good night. it's just good writing technique. Donald. EMPTY BEDROOM . Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. 141 142 OMITTED INT. one of the greatest screenplays ever written.pg. EMPTY BEDROOM . did exactly that. his eyes darting back and forth. but Bob says Casablanca.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. They look at each other. Donald breaks the tension. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. smiles. then:) Oh. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. 140 INT. It's 3:32. I got a song! "Happy Together. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. (types. (lies down on floor) Hey. DONALD No." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. slept in a week. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . Kaufman disappears upstairs. DONALD Cool. sweating. Mixed genres.
70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. Donald is no longer in the room. She smiles at him throughout. I can't sleep. melancholy face. You've written a beautiful book. Whittle it down. I'm losing my hair. Its smile broadens. too many directions to go. So true. You're not. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. He looks at the still smiling photo. flips through it. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. sad insights. He stares at the photo. (CONTINUED) . but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. He reads one. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. 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. KAUFMAN (V. The photo smiles warmly at him.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. Kaufman switches on a lamp. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. smiling author photo. Kaufman flips to the glowing. making love. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. It talks. begins to jerk off. Focus on one thing in the story. He's in love. Kaufman closes his eyes. heaving.O. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together.pg. It seems somehow sleepy now. They finish. Kaufman studies her delicate. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. too. Charlie.
sees Caroline with Donald. KITCHEN . 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . beautiful. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. The killer flees on horseback with the girl. haunted by loneliness. 143 INT.. CAROLINE Really. really good ones. too. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. typing at her desk.." Donald. in his underwear. hey. It's like a * CAROLINE God. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. delicate. I'm good.MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder... (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy.pg. We hear her voice-over. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. Morning. enters with Caroline. this morning. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. Hey. skinny as a stick. smiles. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. fragile.
) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. man. At him? 150 INT. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. NOW button. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. Like technology versus horses. distraught. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. peasant blouse. why am I here? She thinks. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. KAUFMAN (V.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. She thinks. Thanks. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. EMPTY BEDROOM . Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. women snicker. who is this man? She thinks. DONALD Thanks.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground.A. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. right? DONALD Hey. EMPTY BEDROOM ." 149 EXT. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph.O. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband. that's the big pay-off. STREET . it sounds exciting. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. L.pg. Bergman's Persona.
EMPTY BEDROOM . 73 151 INT. He smiles at Orlean's photo. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. get to merge our thoughts.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed.pg. We see the loneliness of her childhood. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . It's intimate. She kisses him on the cheek. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. Her drunken mother enters. 151 * * * * 152 INT. and how it forever scars the little girl. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. her mother's disappointment at life. Kaufman is immensely pleased.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. KITCHEN . They kiss and fall onto the new couch. It now looks warm and inviting. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. I love that. I'm finding you. sits on young Susan's bed and cries. 152 153 INT. 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. like a marriage. The phone rings.
or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. KAUFMAN Um. KAUFMAN I think really good now.. for me it's distracting to. Just bugging you again.. y'know.pg. uh-huh.. All color drains from Kaufman's face. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi.. before I finish. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. Tell her I said that. I'll let her know.. well.. Charlie. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. So. It's Valerie. Good. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair.. How's everything going? Good. Great. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. Say I think she's a great writer. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. As she sees fit. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. Okay..
EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Caroline. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. EMPTY BEDROOM . why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. 155 INT. EMERGENCY ROOM . KAUFMAN Nice talking to you. Okay. Maybe it's even smirking. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out.O.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. KAUFMAN (V. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall. 156 INT.) She thinks I'm repulsive. Kaufman paces frantically. Kaufman storms in.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. KAUFMAN (V. She glances over in his direction. She thinks. but not at him. sips coffee and skims a magazine. like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you. mocking the seriousness of what I do.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. doubles over. Charlie.pg. I'm completely selfinvolved. She looks through him. It's still smiling. on the floor. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up.O. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean. Just keep us posted. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. It's not glowing. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. 154 INT.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. holding his stomach. He smiles.
) Movie opens. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. HOTEL ROOM . It's fascinating. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. old. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. bald. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. fat. yeah. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. I'm doing pornography. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. naked women adorn the walls. how's it going? 161A INT. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. Charlie Kaufman. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. Oh. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM .O. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. And I was hoping. paces. look. but I still haven't seen a ghost. I am fat. I'll take you in. I know.pg." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. "I am old. John! .NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. His voice-over carpets the scene.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment.
I changed it a little. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. anyway. Also. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. But. EMPTY BEDROOM . Donald appears in the doorway with a script. DONALD I don't think so. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. he's also eating himself to death. like. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. (CONTINUED) * * * . The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. who's really him. ridiculous. I wanted to thank you for your idea. It's.pg. The cassette player plays. DONALD I don't know what that means. DONALD I finished my script. repugnant. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. to eat herself. Because at the end when he forces the woman.NIGHT Kaufman types. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. 77 162 INT. It was very helpful. doesn't say anything.
It's solipsistic. DONALD Hey. The car veers onto the shoulder.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. Charles. It's eating itself. Oh. I'm pathetic.pg. DONALD That's kinda weird. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. paying little attention to the road. Because I have no idea how to write. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. That's it. Because I'm pathetic. I'm Ourobouros. It looks hot. I'm fat and pathetic. That's what I have to do. 163 164 OMITTED INT. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. I'll meet her. Charles. CAR . DONALD I don't know what that word means. It's pathetic. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . I'm eating myself. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. Orlean is tense. he lazily corrects it. It's narcissistic. Because I suck. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. You're an artist.
MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET .DAY Kaufman. desolate. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it.O. Bees. sweaty and anxious. walks along. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii. But my mom said. Laroche points to a yellow flower. I wanted to turn back. SWAMP .most for something exceptional. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. Something big runs by in the distance. They drive in silence for a little while. there it'll be. We couldn't find one. not an aberration -. Encyclia tempensis. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. 164A EXT. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. They sink to their knees. So we walked. Laroche lights a cigarette. We walked for hours.pg. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT. y'know. and dragonflies hover. Frogs croak. past hopelessness.) He made it sound like a Bible story. sun blasted. (CONTINUED) . my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. Things slither past in the water. The ground is soft. if you keep searching for something past doubt. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. ORLEAN (V. even at their peril. I never thought many people in the world were like John. something to pursue.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. the hopeful journey through darkness into light. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. rather than abide an ordinary life. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. John. Birds screech. LAROCHE Here we go.
NEW YORK CITY STREET . (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. anxious. SWAMP . frizzed hair. I'll show you every orchid you want today. But I'm no snob. 171 EXT. isn't it? Orlean examines it. The doors open. I'm interested in all orchids. . He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. presses "lobby". The elevator continues up. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. Kaufman is panicked. 172 Kaufman follows her.DAY Orlean walks along. That's an ugly-ass orchid. Uh-huh. Orlean gets out. studies the back of her head. It stops a few times. Just follow me. scraped.pg. Not just pretty ones. Orlean is a sweaty mess. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. ELEVATOR . You know that.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. 169 170 OMITTED INT. Kaufman sweats. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. The elevator arrives at the lobby. people get off and on. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. 172 171 * * EXT. Orlean laughs appreciatively. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid. Kaufman sweats. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. and faces front. The doors close. Orlean looks at him blankly. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. This time Orlean gets on. Kaufman hesitates.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. Kaufman hates himself. dirty. I found you two already. Nobody gets off or on.
O. She watches him start off in one direction. The waitress nods and leaves. KAUFMAN (V.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself.O.O.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. tries to tear them. Interesting! 174 EXT. KAUFMAN (V.pg. drinks iced tea. He paces. stop. 175 INT. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. He scribbles in his notebook. swings them wildly.O. RESTAURANT . ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. Good character details. yanks the sheets from the bed. LAROCHE We're not lost. He's frustrated. Thanks. KAUFMAN (V. HOTEL ROOM .) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean. SWAMP . reading Vanity Fair. Kaufman sits a few tables away. KAUFMAN (V. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair. 81 173 INT.NOON Orlean follows Laroche. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb. then go in another direction.) (cont'd) Likes tuna.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes. hysterical.) Reads Vanity Fair. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * .
Good. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. I mean. KAUFMAN Marty. I have an appointment. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. It's been okay. Two fucking talented guys in one family. don't say that.pg. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. (CONTINUED) . it's Marty. Um. bends to pick up the broken glass. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. still holding the glass. Y'know. The phone rings. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. heaves. buddy. fair enough. Oh. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. He answers it. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. edgy thriller. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. Best script I've read this year. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. KAUFMAN I gotta go. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought.
Rage and panic sweep across her face. comes up with a straight twig. her fists clench into balls. She looks at Laroche. She stares at him. We want to be heading southeast. Laroche looks down at it. He pokes around on the ground for something. knocks over the twig. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. sees her staring at him. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. amigo. This relaxes Laroche. he puts the twig back. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. LAROCHE Well. I'll just set this up. Without looking at Orlean. Orlean takes a cracker. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. He won't look at her.pg. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. He looks up at her. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. It is so. (CONTINUED) .LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. He stretches his legs. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. stares at it. wait a few minutes. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. SWAMP .
Out of here. overweight men wandering the streets also. can't write. 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. I am repulsive. Laroche seems unaware.O. some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. I am old. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. Orlean is stony.) I am fat. look. He eyes other sad-looking.MORNING Kaufman wanders. There's a sadness. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. I just say to myself. They rise. bald man on the street. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. 179 EXT. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. . 177 178 OMITTED EXT. KAUFMAN (V. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. SWAMP . fuck the sundial. screw it. I am just one more old. I mean. balding. logically. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. Whenever everything's killing me. fat. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. and go straight ahead.pg. we have to get out as long as we walk straight. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche.
I have sold out. KAUFMAN (V. 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. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. I am a loser.) I have failed.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. a mic clipped to his lapel.. glowing in the sun. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. 85 180 EXT. First. I am worthless. (CONTINUED) * .. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. last. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. * * MCKEE So. walks toward it. I am fat.pg..) I am pathetic. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. KAUFMAN (V. 182 INT.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. AUDITORIUM .O. I am panicked. Kaufman waits in line. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. except for Kaufman who looks pained. I.O. LOBBY . I am fat. NYC STREET . The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. and always the imperative is too tell a story. The audience laughs.. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT.
. And here I am. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. "Flaccid. when storytelling goes bad in a society. "Any idiot. (CONTINUED) . The audience members take copious notes.O. AUDITORIUM .. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks.. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. Aristotle said. Kaufman looks up. (deadpan) Well. Easy answers. 183 INT. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing." writes the guy on one side of him. my friends." writes the guy on the other side.. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . Kaufman sweats. sloppy writing.. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here. Well.) It is my weakness. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. KAUFMAN (V.pg. I should leave here right now. the result is decadence.. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. startled. McKee seems to watching him. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. just look around you.
87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. Real people are not interesting. energetic as ever. We are not recreating life on the screen.the rapid exchange of ideas. NYC STREET . 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. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. McKee. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT. The audience is tired. A long speech in a script. AUDITORIUM . We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. one hour for lunch. The Greeks called it stykomythia -.pg. 185 186 OMITTED INT. but still attentive. wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. Now Kaufman takes serious notes. say a page long.LATER 185 186 * It's late. 184 EXT.and I include myself in this -. And that's an important point.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. AUDITORIUM . His face is troubled. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . holding a cup of coffee.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience.who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. Kaufman wanders by himself. Writers are not tape recorders. There's not a person in this world -. There is no sound.
There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. bleary-eyed. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. Aristotle rises to stretch. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT.MORNING Kaufman. Out of nowhere. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. Kaufman can't get out of the way. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. That's it for tonight. with dark circles under his eyes. sits in the back. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. 190 INT.pg. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. AUDITORIUM . Kaufman. they don't have any epiphanies. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. A violent fight ensues. HOTEL . deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. where people don't change. He walks around the table. sips his coffee. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . Remember. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. then. It's silent and tense. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. collapsing it. He turns. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. giggles a little. 188 INT.
thanks. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. A shaky. leaning against the building. my friend.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. Kaufman waits. MCKEE Oh. tired Kaufman approaches him. then you. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. NYC STREET . 191 EXT. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. (CONTINUED) . Nice to see you. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. right. McKee emerges. okay. you'll bore your audience to tears. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all.pg. carrying his brown leather bag. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. Mr.
my even standing here is very scary... But what you said this morning shook me to the bone. my friend. ORLEAN (V. Kaufman closes the book. MCKEE I'm sorry. KAUFMAN .O.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon.O. I don't meet people well. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. It's about my choices as a human being. we could see the gleam of a fender. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. Please. 192 EXT. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. McKee..NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. far down the diagonal of the levee. ORLEAN (V. There's a pause. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . looking only straight ahead. and there.pg. SWAMP . I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. BAR .DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose. 193 INT. all the way to the road. ORLEAN (V. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. MCKEE I could use a drink. KAUFMAN Mr. McKee hesitates for a moment. Soon there is silence..O. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car.
91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. You can have an uninvolving. He's the one who got me to come. * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. Find an ending. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. My twin brother Donald. I'm way past my deadline. but wow them at the end. (CONTINUED) . and you've got a hit. I wanted to present it simply. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. acts. eyes Kaufman. It's about disappointment. Do that and you'll be fine.pg. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. McKee sips his beer. The last act makes the film. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. (beat) That's not a movie. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. I can't go back. tedious movie. Kaufman hugs him. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. McKee recognizes his bulk.
HOTEL ROOM . He rubs his temples. 194 INT. Julius and Philip Epstein.pg. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. tries to read Story.O. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. Listen.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. Caroline giggles in the background. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. sits at his desk and writes.) Climax. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. 195 INT. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -.NIGHT McKee.who wrote Casablanca were twins. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. 196A INT. MCKEE (V. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. dials the phone. Donald. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . 196 INT.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. like Darwin before him. (CONTINUED) .NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. MCKEE'S OFFICE .
please. KEENER (O. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. You should hang out with her. She's great. 196B INT. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. We're playing Boggle. please.pg. and Donald laugh. look.. like. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. It's been a wild ride. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. KAUFMAN Yeah. DONALD C'mon. Caroline. Um. please.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. I've been thinking.. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. Donald. (CONTINUED) . HOTEL ROOM . KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great. tipsy) Oh.C. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. long moment. taking this all in. high-sixes against a mill-five. Donald.
yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. Like what? DONALD I don't know. subtext. I don't mind. man. The great Donald. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. I -- DONALD Hey. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. Kaufman paces. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. Y'know. Donald finishes. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . KAUFMAN I know. Maybe you could read it. Just for fun. We're different talents. I'm thinking. is quiet. too. (serious) I feel like you're missing something.pg. Charles. It's funny. Y'know. KAUFMAN Good. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. KAUFMAN I was trying something. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. KAUFMAN So. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. So. huh? Sorry. if you like. HOTEL ROOM . Okay. like.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script.
Someone's got to talk to her.. KAUFMAN Really. (CONTINUED) . yes. KAUFMAN I don't know. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. To know her. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book. it's just a metaphor. KAUFMAN For God's sake. but. I'll go. 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. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 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. DONALD Is she? I mean. (picks up Orchid Thief. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. DONALD Pretend I'm you. Charles. You can't be an asshole. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it." (looks up) First of all.. of course she's that. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. That's inconsistent. You can't be a goofball. look. she said she didn't care about flowers. I can't. You're reaching.pg. DONALD Maybe. I have a reputation to maintain.
I mean. "You know. if you write a couple more books. Donald. doing his best serious writer impression. But the relationship ends when the book ends. DONALD So. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Donald scribbles. Don't laugh how you laugh. I was very interested in everything he had to say. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject.pg. By definition. (CONTINUED) * * * * . dressed as Charlie. sits across from her. 198 INT. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. Thanks. It's an honor. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. You spend a lot of time together. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. No bad jokes. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. you could become a pretty good writer. In the subtext. mumbles under his breath. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. He said. No flirting." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. I get to have people think I'm you. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship.
. just one more question. dressed as Charlie. stares out the window. That's a prepackaged answer. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. Einstein or Jesus. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. She's lying. enters. Okay. She said all the right things. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Very good. DONALD She was nervous. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing.pg. 199 Donald * * * INT. I have an idea. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars.DAY Kaufman paces. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. Too right.. living or dead. watches TV. ORLEAN I'd have to say. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. Charles. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. HOTEL ROOM .
ORLEAN'S OFFICE . and sings and dances around Kaufman. Let's go.pg. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. (talking) C'mon. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer. I do. KAUFMAN Let's go. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT.S. holds it like a microphone. (CONTINUED) 201 . want to be doing this.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. DONALD (O.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. who just stares at him. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. picks up a pen. Leave. A conversation ensues. becoming more and more agitated.) She's upset. She closes her office door. window with binoculars. Orlean waits as the phone rings. KAUFMAN Well. Sadly. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks.
KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Don't tell my old lady. She's at her computer. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site.pg. Orlean looks out her window.) Stop watching her. She hung up the phone. 202 * 201 INT.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. I thought she was done with Laroche. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. Donald." 203 INT. Heh heh. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. HOTEL ROOM . 202 She starts to cry. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . (turns to Kaufman) Hmm.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. my friend. I'm gonna look at it. DONALD Anyway. DONALD She's crying. who watches through binoculars. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys. DONALD United to Miami. Leave her alone. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. DONALD That was no parent phone call.S. Tomorrow morning. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. Research.
goes over to the computer. You wait here. Forget it. incredulously at it. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. CAR . DONALD I'll get a closer look. SUBURBAN STREET . Told ya. guess what? We're going to Miami. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. oh yeah. Kaufman is sweaty. keeping up with the van. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. middle-class house. Hey. 206 EXT. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. RENTAL CAR . KAUFMAN I said. C'mere. 204 INT. DONALD I said. Donald behind the wheel. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. which speeds and swerves through traffic. 205 INT. No. Donald parks up the street. Orlean gets in. The beat-up white van pulls up. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport.LATER 206 Donald follows. Kaufman and Donald drive by. baby. posed but awkward.pg.A BIT LATER Donald drives. (CONTINUED) * . no. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. nervous. naked photo of Orlean. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. gets out. the van speeds off.
I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um..CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. Orlean studies Kaufman. drags him into the house. oblivious. He slinks around back. Laroche waits patiently. Laroche glances at the window. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. it's my. He adjusts them. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. undressing each other. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No.. crawls to the coffee table. HOUSE . right? I mean. There's movement in a window in ducks. DONALD Go for it. bro. peruses house. How did he find me. I mean. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. Donald gets Kaufman's script. looks in. The chair slides across the floor. Orlean pulls away giggling.) Darlin'. I'm just. tips over. have slipped. it should be me.S. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. Orlean and Laroche are laughing. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. in. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. Laroche cuts him off. ORLEAN Who's that. You the man. locks eyes with Kaufman. continues to rub herself. nobody. I should go. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window.. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house. snorts some lines of green powder.. kissing. 207 INT..pg.. Kaufman gets out of the car. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. Orlean. Wrong house.
ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. (CONTINUED) . Laroche looks at Susan. Orlean rises.pg. Laroche begins to write his phone number. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. John. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. it was nice to meet you. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. LAROCHE Okay. ORLEAN I'm freaking. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. Let me give you my number. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. Kaufman rises. 'kay? Kaufman does. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. of course not. Orlean tries to focus.I don't know that. don't let him leave. Well. dude. ORLEAN Shit. Did you follow me? I should go.
ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. I was just -.pg. LAROCHE Oh. LAROCHE I believe him. I'm almost done. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . I don't know. anyway. Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. he's researching his script. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. She looks up. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. Orlean massages her temples. She talks to herself for a while. gestures to herself. right? LAROCHE Good point. Suze. I'm pretty clear on the structure. Kaufman rises. Well.I'm just down here to see the swamp. Hold him.
all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. CLOSET .CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. LAROCHE Yeah.S. He listens. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay. LAROCHE (O. deliberate) Susie. * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. * (CONTINUED) . I have to think. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry. LAROCHE I'm sorry. okay. 208 Laroche closes the door. you need to calm down. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. Charlie. INT. I can't have people -.) Susie. Kaufman gets in. 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. Thank you. I understand.pg. we can't kill anyone.
The bartender shakes a drink. his face lights up red. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. in close-up. He passes behind her. He sifts through a cardboard box. Laroche and Orlean. LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN (O.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O. LIVING ROOM WINDOW .S. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides. holes here.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement.S.S.) Then what? Everyone will find out. occasionally pass between Donald and the camera. 208B INT. There's a long sweaty silence. 208A INT.) I think you just stick them in. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. large. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .CONTINUOUS Unnoticed.S. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. Please.S. in close-up. Donald watches the goings-on. his pants fall down. a little hysterically. BASEMENT . Johnny. descends the basement stairs. She glances down at his off-screen hand. pacing foreground figures. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. chews her fingernail and cries. in close-up.pg.) Protect me. Laroche turns it off. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb. turns it on. Kaufman inhales sharply.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. blurry. 209 INT.S.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche.
I didn't really do it. RENTAL CAR . 210 INT. They drive in silence. Orlean sits next to him. God. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned. holding a gun. KAUFMAN (O. I'm really just interested in orchids. suburban Miami neighborhood. there's an image I could do without. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.) You have a car.S.S.) Of course he does. KAUFMAN Look. She skims Kaufman's screenplay. like he was doing research.S. that's sort of creepy. ORLEAN (O.S.S. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph. I -ORLEAN (O. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead." Jesus. LAROCHE (O. here's me again! (mockingly reading from screen) "Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. no. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O.pg.) I.S.) Okay.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . I don't care what you're doing. KAUFMAN It's a story. um. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock. ORLEAN Hey. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. That sounds like a real thing that could happen.
ORLEAN (considers) No. Chill. It's sad.pg. I'll sign anything. I know. Bully for you. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. Get a cup of coffee. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. this isn't easy for me either. Charlie-boy. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. That's a quote from your book. I do. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. ORLEAN Yeah. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . We can do whatever you want. KAUFMAN Look." Orlean laughs derisively. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. if you don't tell me. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. We can forget I ever came here. but I didn't make that up. KAUFMAN You can laugh. ORLEAN Listen. KAUFMAN We can turn around. I'll tell you the truth now. you don't have to kill me. From a weirdo with no teeth. I'm laughing at who I used to be. It was orchids. Can we do that? We can talk this out.
I went back one night to pick up something. something I didn't tell you.. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking.. It's just a flower. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look. He spots something on a tree..DAY Laroche drives. long as I'm here. my porn site is gonna be big. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. ORLEAN It's a flower.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp. I think this might help you. stands there awestruck. okay? I know you're going through some shit. VAN . Orlean stares out the window. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. LAROCHE Might as well grab it. It wasn't my thing. .. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan.) I'd just started up the nursery.. I want to tell you. About the ghost. can't. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER . circles it.pg..O. SWAMP . I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. They drive in silence. LAROCHE (V. No reaction. 211B EXT. 211A INT. but some of the Indians. 108 211 EXT. I want you to know this.
. fascinated. Some stare off. That's what I wanted to tell you. Laroche. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. 109 211C INT. your sadness is fascinating to me. Vinson lived on that shit.DAY Orlean seems interested now. TRAILER BACK ROOM .) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. One sings to himself. too. stoned Indian men. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. My sadness. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. Y'know. they liked to get stoned. 211D INT. they ran out. I think you'd like it. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. It seems to help people be.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room. VAN . Susie.pg. A bunch of young. . LAROCHE It does that. Two of the men make out. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. I know how. My hair.. but -Vinson. like I told you. but the young guys. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. I watched. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. I want to do this. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. It had been a ceremonial thing. Oh. Jesus. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. As I said.O. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug.
a little tipsy. Okay. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. 110 211E INT. Friday. HOTEL ROOM . HOTEL BAR . Please. picks up the baggie.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. I didn't know.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. 211G INT. you should. 211F INT. ORLEAN (V. Maybe I could get laid. You too. sniffs inside. ORLEAN I was so sad that night.pg. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT 211H Orlean. if you're not going to let me go. 211I INT.O. let me be. Orlean hangs up. RENTAL CAR . reviews some notes. you should. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. rolls it up.) I went down to the bar. (CONTINUED) . A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. Yeah. picks it up. 211H INT. There's a small package outside one door. He's pasty white with fear. The place is empty. paces. hovers over the green powder. He's barely listening.NIGHT Kaufman drives. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. Her name is written on it. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. puts it down. HOTEL HALLWAY . stares at it. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. All right then. He needs to hear how you feel. trying to remember her room number. This must be her room. Something. talks on the phone. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. hon.NIGHT So drained.
HOTEL ROOM . 211J INT. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. I figured. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. holding the phone to her ear.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth.O. listening to the dial tone. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. on the scrubbing sound. what the fuck. She tugs at a strand. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. HOTEL BATHROOM . who really cares about anything anymore. She sighs. She snorts the rest. stands. 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. She giggles. Ms. How exquisite! She cries.) (CONT'D) I figured. dully watches herself in the mirror. sucks it. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . She snorts a small amount. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. stands again. tries to feel something.pg. HOTEL ROOM . doesn't. what the hell. 211M INT. It's so beautiful. She tries to open the window for a better look. 211L INT. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. HOTEL ROOM . She's never seen anything more beautiful. 211K INT. She tries to sing along with it. discovers it does not open." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. She feels nothing. rolls it around in her fingers. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. I figured. the colors. sniffs it.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. She watches her grinning face with love.
SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. eight to five-thirty. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. Operator. Orlean dials again. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours.. how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my..pg. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Good night. ma'am. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. ORLEAN Well. It's so pretty. ma'am. to you. Okay. ma'am.? ORLEAN In your dial tone.
She listens to it. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. There's a pause. She imitates a dial tone. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. ORLEAN John. Hello? Hi. forgets to pick up the phone. all the time. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. There's a pause. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. stares at the ceiling. . that would be so helpful. LAROCHE She studies her feet. ORLEAN Johnny. John.pg. The phone rings. I'm very happy now. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. Finally she remembers. pitch. I'm glad. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord.
Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. . LAROCHE They will be. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. I do. ORLEAN Huh. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. Okay. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. I think toes should be with their fellows.pg. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Do you like socks. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. too? Yes. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong.
Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. but not talking. Here. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. understand me. Nobody liked me. too.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. except someone else. on the phone. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . RENTAL CAR . ORLEAN We spoke all night. HOTEL ROOM . I'm a person. Please think about what you're doing.pg. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Like my mom. She stares out the window at the early morning light. 212B INT. someone would come around and just. just like you. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. y'know. Kaufman stares straight ahead. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. We're twins. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. Johnny.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor.
Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. anyway. Orlean is flabbergasted. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. lost in her story. The back doors are open. RENTAL CAR . 212D INT. Back.pg. "yes". I wasn't guilty about my marriage. I couldn't care. Not like that. They pass very few cars now. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. It'd send someone. Laroche seems clumsy. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. . She glances past Laroche at the moon. who stares straight ahead. You will not take this away. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. just like that. Or fantasizing about someone else. Orlean smiles. She pulls him to her and kisses him. 212C INT. then at Laroche's straining face. and quietly say. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel.NIGHT Kaufman drives. Laroche starts to cry. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. VAN . I won't go back. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. I couldn't focus. John.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. The junk is pushed to the sides. back on the book. Orlean looks with love at these items. She remains silent. pale and sweaty. a bag of soil. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. she'd look at me. Adapting. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. Alive. ORLEAN Back in New York. I was just there.
all the way to the road. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN'S OFFICE . The sun is warm on her skin. There are no other cars. I need a ticket to Miami. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD . ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. They're very shiny. darlin'. and we followed it. LAROCHE Well.. hi. it ain't controlled.. 117 212E INT.. Done. 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. RENTAL CAR . I like you. Orlean lies on the grass outside. if I do say.. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. (back to business) The cool part is. transfixed by a colony of ants. A Laroche kind of plan. like a beacon. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. is why.DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids. but we should introduce this to the general public.pg. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists.NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive.. 214 INT..NIGHT Orlean paces. Make a shitload of change. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene.. She types at the computer standing up. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. ORLEAN So.. (dials phone) Yeah. Suze.
getting some equipment. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. We call it "Passion. he sees Donald.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. blocking him in." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. Laroche is in the rear of his van. on the floor in the back. hitting her and sending her flying. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. 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.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. Laroche parks behind. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. ORLEAN Come around. We see the lovely Coke can. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp.pg. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . LOGGING ROAD . 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. gun on him. 218 EXT. SWAMP . 216 217 OMITTED EXT. please. Kaufman does. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. wild-eyed. searching for flashlights. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. trip over unseen vines. 215 EXT. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead.
C. LAROCHE (O. The beams search the darkness near the brothers. * Laroche and Orlean move off. God.) That's all I could tell. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized.C. * * * Thanks. I've wasted it.) This really complicates things. And you're not gonna die. I get that. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. ORLEAN (O. ORLEAN (O. I've wasted my life.) I know. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. breathing hard. Orlean and Laroche are very close now. John. I couldn't move. Donald. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. DONALD You did not. DONALD I don't think so. Their voices get far away. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. KAUFMAN They're going to find us.pg.C. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now.) We need to split up.C. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp. LAROCHE (O. They sit and wait in silence.C. * LAROCHE (O. All right.) It was a guy? Fat.
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)
220 INT. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. Kaufman gets in behind him. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. They pass Orlean next to the van. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. The driver's side airbag deploys. Then. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush.pg. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. the front of his body a bloody mess. looks nice.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. Give me some of that shit. starts the car. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital. RENTAL CAR . The vehicles collide and spin violently around. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. Donald flies through the windshield.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. a ranger truck comes barreling. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. doesn't know what to do. Laroche approaches the car. Donald is hit in the arm. (CONTINUED) * * . Kaufman finds the keys. from around a curve. John! ORLEAN (O. spaced on pash. To everyone's surprise it fires. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys. Donald yelps.S.
It's only right. Kaufman must be next. You're gonna be okay.pg. running from two different directions. SWAMP . 221 EXT.. KAUFMAN Donald. The three stare at each other. I do.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. She follows. He angles in to cut him off.B. To think about the one you love. stop. Kaufman starts to sing. approaching from down the road. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. Her mouth is open. (CONTINUED) . Just don't go to sleep. who is conscious. MIKE OWEN We need help here. at the body of Donald. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. Orlean and Laroche arrive. She can't look down at Owen. Orlean's eyes well with tears. He slumps to the ground. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. sees Kaufman running into the woods. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. heave. Kaufman stares at the body. A battered-looking. Bad car accident. it's gonna be okay. she looks horrified. sees the two Kaufmans. Donald is dead. Donald's eyes close. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. There's nowhere to go.. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. but fading fast. Alligators swim in it. is confused. He bolts into the swamp. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. fascinated. Logging road twelve.
suddenly feeling so much for this person. Let me be a baby again. Kaufman watches. I want my life back. shooting crazily until it's dead.An alligator: it awakens. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . Orlean screams. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. maybe. then looks to Kaufman. The sun is rising. Orlean looks at his body. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. drops her gun. sobbing. that helps other people feel not so lonely. Everything is a lie. Everything's over. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. I think it can touch people. Orlean collapses into a heap. It helped me. I want to be new. stunned. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. desperate. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. I did everything wrong. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. dude. old. I want to be new. His rifle fires at nothing. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. KAUFMAN No. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Laroche is dead. KAUFMAN Your writing.pg. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. startled and angry. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. I want it back before it got all fucked up. Kaufman watches. I'm not a killer. She glows. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God.
both crying. mom. I'm going to get a couch. I just wanted. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. I just wanted. Yeah.. Make it really comfortable in here. a coffee table. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . * * MOTHER I worry about you. some overstuffed chairs. Charles. * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. I think. Susan. They look at each other from across the room. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. they meet in the middle and hug. There's a silence. KAUFMAN I know. Wordlessly.DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes.. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. MOTHER You should get some furniture. That's a good thing. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted.pg. That's all.
but -I don't know. Margaret. MARGARET You able to work at all. KAUFMAN Thank you. 225 INT. I'm almost done! Great! ready. I'm just stupid. KAUFMAN That sounds good. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) .pg. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. * She look compassionately into his face.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. I understand. hugs him. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Thanks. MARGARET'S OFFICE. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. I came by for a reason. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain. (deep breath. He meets her gaze. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. KAUFMAN Knock knock. Margaret looks up. They sit. really. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. KAUFMAN No.
pg. I'm glad I know you is all. Charlie. Kaufman rolls down his window. y'know. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. Kaufman smiles. CAR . I can love you. I'm just saying. Hey. I'm not saying that at all. anyway. Okay then. gets up. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. Hey. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. nervously kisses him.um. I'm glad you're in the world. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . being honest. I mean. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. embarrassed) So. That's really great. I'll send you the script when it's done. in the parking garage. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. so he plows on. Margaret appears in front of his car. (laughing. MARGARET Wow. 226 INT. thanks for being in the world. waits in line with his validated ticket. Wow. can't. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . I don't have to get anything back. say. thanks for telling me. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. looking a little pale. Stupid job. Margaret. MARGARET That sounds good.
Lieutenant.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . and hops in the passenger side. Hurt each other. runs around the front of the car. both staring ahead. The way fish can't see the ocean. They drive off. FADE TO BLACK. And so we envy each other.pg. 'Cept we can't see the body." . 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. that sounds good. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell. hooky before. Like cells in a body. That's what I've come to realize. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. Hate each other.
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