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