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