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