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