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