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