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