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