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