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