This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
TONY We got Seminoles. they are in there for a reason. OFFICE . Tony glowers.. Tony clears his throat into the radio. It's Susan Orlean: pale. gets out of the truck. 8 INT. his lips. Indians do not go on swamp walks. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board.S. Tony waits for a response. a ranger.. watches the vehicles through binoculars. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. No response. TONY Barry. and come to rest on a woman typing. his nose. ORLEAN (V. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. skinny as a stick. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford. in the swamp. pale-eyed. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth. whispers into his C. He pulls over down the road. . 7 INT. Mosquitoes land on his neck. delicate and blond.MID-MORNING Tony. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. Nothing. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. Nothing.B.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. 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. If there are Indians in the swamp. He straightens his cap.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker.pg. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. Indians in the swamp. RANGER'S TRUCK .O.
Kaufman steals glances at her lips. KAUFMAN Oh.pg. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. sits with Valerie. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. her hair. She sees him seeing her watching it. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. her breasts. Thank you. wow. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. She thinks I'm old. L.MIDDAY Kaufman. (CONTINUED) . She looks at her salad. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. She -VALERIE We think you're great. Boy. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. Valerie watches it. it's no fun. Kaufman sees her watching it. That's nice to hear. They are. We are. 4 9 INT. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. She thinks I'm fat. it is. They pick at salads. She looks up at him.. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT .A. looks down. thanks. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. I appreciate that. Uncomfortable silence. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. KAUFMAN That's. He quickly swabs. He blanches..
VALERIE Oh. VALERIE Okay. Like. an orchid heist movie or something. So. Indians. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of. too. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. I'd want to remain true to that. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. flips through the book. great. KAUFMAN Oh.. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag.. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. KAUFMAN Absolutely. orchid poaching. I'm intrigued. I mean.. great. Great. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. In one motion. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. Plus her musings on Florida. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating.. and also not force it into a typical movie form. pretends not to notice. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . VALERIE (cont'd) Good. Well. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. His brow is dripping again.. let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. stalling. That sounds interesting. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means.. KAUFMAN First. I think it's a great book.pg. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. what you're saying. isn't he? Kaufman nods. I like to let my work evolve. sprawling New Yorker stuff.
KAUFMAN Knock knock. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. Definitely. lots of books. a soulful development executive. or guns. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. Or characters learning profound life lessons. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. It wouldn't happen. Life isn't like that.. Valerie is quiet. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. Kaufman appears in the open doorway. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. CALIFORNIA. 10 INT. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. I mean. fake.DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD.pg. Margaret turns. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. unpack boxes.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. Margaret. but to me -. I feel very strongly about this. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. Audubon posters. or car chases. It just isn't. OFFICE . Y'know? The book isn't like that. it didn't happen. but we can't make out the words. I don't want to cram in sex.. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .
Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . Margaret sits down next to him. So what's with you? man. MARGARET Anyway. KAUFMAN It's great. Take a load off. Mostly crap. at the closeness. Margie! MARGARET Well. nods) So..pg. sits on the couch. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. thanks. It's all so stupid.. Come in. about flowers. There's one you might like. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. Very very cool. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. just wanted to say hello. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. such an awful picture. covers by talking. Kaufman laughs. KAUFMAN You looked great. God. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. Kaufman enters. with Robert? Oooh. congratulate you on the promotion. MARGARET Oh. KAUFMAN (smiles. Pretty fancy office. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs.
(looks up at ceiling and yells) God. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. (looking up. sex and drug deals and violence. And it sounds exciting. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. Jesus. he's scored. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. MARGARET I'll read it. (hangs up. man. You're all the recommendation I need. I dunno. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. Thanks. MARGARET You should definitely do it. somebody needs to save us all.. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. Robert. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. yelling) I don't care. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. Cool. MARGARET I don't care. . (presses button on phone) Andy. About orchids. MARGARET Susan Orlean..pg. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. it would be you.
Soon there are millions of them. Laroche stares at a single beautiful. 13 (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. 13 INT. A ghost. Laroche spots something else.pg.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water. He points out a turtle on a rock. miserable. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. closer. tenderly caresses the petals. maybe you fellas specifically. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. That I can't speak to. Russell pulls out a hacksaw.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. SWAMP . MURKY POOL OF WATER . RESTAURANT . (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff. Although. He stops. 12 EXT. dirty. begins sawing through the tree. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. 11 EXT. They trudge. His eyes widen in reverent awe. Then. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. The Indians ignore him. Russell. circles the tree. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool.MORNING Hot. you can teach me. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. closer. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. glowing white flower hanging from the tree.
BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. 14 INT. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. I want to think differently. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . anemic-looking little girl. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium. It's like. KAUFMAN Thanks. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . PET STORE (1972) . studying the inhabitants. who is sitting with a frail. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently. ma? She nods sweetly. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. That's nice to hear. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. He turns to his frumpy mother.pg. But I'm ready to challenge myself. show people heaven in a wildflower. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence. I don't want to get by on quirkiness. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. listless. As Blake said. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake.. This one.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. BOY Any animal at all..plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. The boy returns to his search. KAUFMAN Yeah. at a small turtle in an aquarium. My stuff tends to be weird.
and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. Kaufman.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. 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. He probably hates you already. would enjoy it. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. I think David. clicks glasses.pg. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . Randy. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. too.MORNING As Laroche supervises. Sure. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. The book is just amazing. this guy I'm seeing. I'm just so pleased you liked it. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. thrilled. He's a naturalist. (He takes a breath) Hey. Margaret raises a glass. of course. SWAMP . Russell. KAUFMAN God. man. All I do is tell him how great you are. (CONTINUED) * * * . 16 INT.
. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel. in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. kind of post-coital dreamy.. anyway. I'm sure you know. A bit. He can no longer look up at Margaret. He's just honest and smart.. so. long time ago. right? KAUFMAN Um. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good..pg. a long time ago. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know. (to Kaufman) . Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true.. MARGARET So I was lying there. MARGARET Well.... You've read that. MARGARET You'll like him. I mean. okay.. 16 Oh.. Y'know. The entrees arrive. Uh-huh. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct.. MARGARET (cont'd) . KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History.. KAUFMAN He sounds great. (to waiter) Thanks.. Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food.
ORLEAN (V.DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER. 21 EXT. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover.MORNING Tony waits. With every fiber of his being. So whereas human history spirals forward. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. but rather cyclically. her lips. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio.O.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. who haul the pillowcases. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going.. the way she looks at him. As she rings him up. 20 INT.pg.DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. and hover. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm.NIGHT Orlean types. sweaty and mosquito bitten. 18 INT. he studies their interaction. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. nature. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians. recoil. BARNES AND NOBLE . Her eyes. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . 17 EXT. small blind jellyfish collide. The radio crackles. carries them to the register.DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH. OCEAN . She pulls down her sleeve.. 19 EXT. building upon itself. she expresses no interest in him. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. TROPICAL RIVER . 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . Tony tenses. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 ... the body language. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. that nature doesn't exist historically.
23 24 OMITTED EXT.O. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN (V.DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo.pg. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. ORLEAN (V.O.O. ORLEAN (V.) Augustus Margary survived toothache. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . you absolutely may. steals his boat.) Schroeder fell to his death. ORLEAN (V.) (cont'd) .DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated.. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river.) (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. The murderer sails down river.O. Laroche smiles warmly.. 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes. stabs him. clutching a flower. and dysentery. limping. Someone steps from behind a bush.O.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. docks his boat. 22 EXT. CLIFF ..MORNING Tony steps out of his truck.. 25 EXT. ORLEAN (V. rheumatism. RIVER . pleurisy. sir.
Tony nods. Billie. nine orchid varieties. one of. TONY Exactly. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. Well. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. (afterthought) Oh. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. that's exactly the issue. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. LAROCHE Oh. I'm sure. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. one peperomia. This is a state preserve. Florida v. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. Did I mention that? You're familiar. James E. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. TONY You're aware that it's illegal to remove plants or animals from state owned land? LAROCHE And don't forget these plants are all endangered. sir. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. Okay then! Let's see.. I'm asking then. TONY Okay. it is. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. But -TONY (CONTINUED) .pg. what. LAROCHE Yes. They give it. even though he has no idea.. sir. Every one of them.
Chickee huts. Just hold on while I.. Yeah. That's exactly what we use them for. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT. * 26 * .. ORLEAN (V. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah.pg.O.. everything is always growing or expanding. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks. the wilderness disappears before your eyes.. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile. (into radio) Hey. At the same time. Orlean drives past endless swampland. Yeah..O. they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. Barry. I believe. RENTAL CAR .. Yeah. but I don't.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation. ORLEAN (V. RUSSELL He's right. ORLEAN (V. I can't let you fellas go yet.) (cont'd) .. Tony looks at the Indians. which.O..
They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. 17 27 INT. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. 28 EXT. 30 INT. continues down the hall. 29 EXT.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. HOTEL ROOM . DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely. KAUFMAN (V." The girls giggle. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. then starts to weep inconsolably. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence. the plants grow.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed.) I am fat. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. regards himself glumly. I am repulsive. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. Charles. my own reflection. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. EMPTY HOUSE . KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. die. Orlean finishes organizing her stuff. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE . DONALD (cont'd) Hey.pg. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. * (CONTINUED) . whither. you'll be glad. RIVER'S EDGE . his identical twin brother. and climbs the stairs.O. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. In a time lapse sequence. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso. Two teenage girls walk by.
DONALD (cont'd) Okay. this guy knows screenwriting. I'll pay you back. don't say "industry. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. DONALD (O. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. DONALD Yeah. He gets lost in the picture.S. But I'm doing it right this time. paper back under his pillow.S. Charles. KAUFMAN Donald. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT. buddy. DONALD (O.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit. People come from all over to study his method. 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes.) In theory I agree with you. clipped from a trade paper.pg. enters his bedroom. I forgot. from under his pillow. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. okay. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. EMPTY BEDROOM . (CONTINUED) * .
No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. McKee writes: "A rule says. this works. I apologize. Go. principle says. Sorry. it's about flowers. Okay. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. And it's not a movie. (lies down. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. KAUFMAN Look. Writing is a journey into the unknown. my point is. stares at ceiling) Okay." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. And a writer should always have that goal. I never saw it.. Donald stares at the ceiling. There was a book -DONALD Oh. there're no guidelines. and anybody who says there are. is just -DONALD Not rules.pg. Hey. fuming. Getting no response. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. principles.. keep going. you must do it this way. Sorry. okay. So. Donald. go ahead. and has through all remembered time. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Okay. There's definitely a flower in that. Kaufman waits. not building a model airplane.
an opposited. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite. Kaufman's head is spinning. He puts the book down.. Lots of sweating. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata... Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth.pg.O. sheriff. A guy sprinkles water on them. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window. a conditional and conditioning. my friend. LAROCHE . He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. uniformed people. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch.) (CONT'D) Each being is. because posited..DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT.. puffs out her cheeks. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. The pillowcases have been emptied. and what we have here. bored and smoking. 32 INT. 32A INT. LIBRARY .. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . is . 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. SWAMP . Are you a former Fulbright scholar. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 . GIRL Bye.LATE MORNING Ranger. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers. He says good-bye and walks happily away. The Indians lean against their car.. They seem to be enjoying Donald..
(checks Owen's spelling) Okay. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. you really know your plants. EMPTY KITCHEN . 35A INT. Bug spray. Tem-pen-sis. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. KAUFMAN Hi. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. KAUFMAN I can do that. Mr. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. except in your swamp. I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. LAROCHE Yeah. KAUFMAN Yeah.S. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. the ghost orchid. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. (CONTINUED) .pg.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. A very good haul. y'know. Laroche. Two Catopsi Floribunda. So. What I really came for. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. let's see. I do. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful.
thighhigh water. ancient family of perennial plants with. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. Long sleeves.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. Kaufman. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. bored. whose cheeks are stuffed with food.O.. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators. Donald. gray could. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat.. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. Okay. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. And the water's black. With Deet. So a strong boot. buzzing.pg. DONALD (V. so you won't be able to see the snakes. Donald lies on the floor. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. EMPTY DINING ROOM . looks over at Donald. You'll be trudging through acidic. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . heavy pants. Mosquito netting.) The most memorable. something they won't easily bite through. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find. Heavy.
" KAUFMAN Hey. Anyway.O.) Do not proliferate characters. and people. maybe you and mom could collaborate. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V. Rather than hopscotching through time. ancient family of perennial plants with. I hear she's really good with structure.. he's Charlie's twin. space.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation... They go back to their books. okay? The two glare at each other.. Anyway. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho.) The Orchidaceae is a large. And you'll see. And. ORLEAN (V. Well. DONALD You think you're so superior.. I'm really gonna write this... past prefab housing. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch." DONALD Sorry.O.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. DONALD (V.. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way.pg.. 37 * * * * * . discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world. telling of my story to her. you suck. 37 INT. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah.O. Charles.. do not multiply locations. and. RENTAL CAR . THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29. mom's paying for the seminar. she loved my.
nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map.O. I'm a published author. is on the stand. (stops. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. He turns to his typewriter. This is John Laroche. and a Hawaiian shirt. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. This is laboratory work.DAY The proceedings are in progress. 24 38 INT. the tribe's lawyer. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. I have extensive experience with orchids. sits in the back. (stops. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years.pg. COURT ROOM . I'm a professional plant lecturer. 39 INT. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. KAUFMAN (V.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. types) A white van appears from around a curve. EMPTY BEDROOM .) We open on State Road 29. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. Laroche. Orlean hurries in. LERNER Finally. Thank you. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style. not at all like your nursery work. questions him. thinks. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. Alan Lerner. . (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. Laroche. Mr. both in magazine and book form. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland.
right -Kaufman groans. BARNES AND NOBLE . (flicks on light. looks up at the closed door. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. wait. DONALD (CONT'D) No.NIGHT Kaufman. he's being hunted by a cop. waits. See. DONALD (lost) Y'know. the unattainable. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. And he's taunting the cop. KAUFMAN God damn it. I'm just trying to do something. 41 DONALD Look. thanks a lot. like. She catches him and smiles with red. EMPTY BEDROOM . sits up.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. Even though he's never even met her. or what? Go away. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. and in the process he falls in love with her. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. What?! The door opens. there's this serial killer. like the Holy Grail. man. then in pitch mode:) Okay. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. you wanna hear my pitch. 25 40 INT. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. Cool. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . wet. She becomes. pierced lips.pg. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. Kaufman squints at his brother. in bed masturbating. lies down. stares at the ceiling. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. 41 INT.
Sybil meets. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. 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. Donald waits blankly. that's not what I'm asking. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. right?.pg.. See. KAUFMAN The other thing is. gets out of bed. Okay? How could you. but there's a twist. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits. there's no way to write this. What exactly would the.. Dressed to Kill. is multiple personality. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay.. I dunno. Kaufman dresses and exits. what I'm asking is.. he's really also the cop and the girl... KAUFMAN (O..) That's not how it's pronounced. Okay? See. (CONTINUED) * .S. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut. in the reality of this movie.. proud. Kaufman gives up. Did you consider that? I mean. until the third act denouement. I really liked Dressed to Kill. if there's only one character.. Very taut. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder. DONALD (calling after) Cool.. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom.. Listen closely.
walks away. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. Orlean tries some more. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. LERNER Buster. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. ORLEAN Mr. Laroche scowls. stubs his cigarette. smokes furiously. yes. Vinson shrugs. we'll deal with all this at trial. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. 42 * 41 Oh. I handled it. follows Buster.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. Vinson. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. COURTHOUSE . LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. apologetic for the intrusion. The New Yorker. the New Yorker. I swear to God. Lerner walks off. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. Right? ORLEAN Right.pg. Laroche? Orlean smiles. 42 Okay. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. They're all smoking intently. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. and Buster Baxley. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. EXT. for crying out loud. Laroche cracks his neck.
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 *
Collectors covet what is not available. Orlean writes. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. with a small jerk of the head. And that's the ghost. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. pulls out a notebook. steers with knees as he lights another. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. yeah. Orlean tries to figure a way in. sell 'em. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. posture of al dente spaghetti. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. that he might want to watch the road. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. She's writing: "skinny as a stick." Laroche looks over and smiles. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change. As long as I don't touch the plants. Uh-huh. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. I researched it." * (CONTINUED) .pg. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. He doesn't take the hint." Uh-huh. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. Laroche clams up. Florida can't touch us. Orlean smiles back. LAROCHE The plan was.
49 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE (cont'd) And I stop future poaching by making the flowers readily available in stores. Then I give a big speech at the trial about how the legislature should get rid of loopholes smart people like me can find. I'm a hero. The flowers are saved. Laroche and nature win. Orlean writes: "guy is priceless." LAROCHE (cont'd) Did you get that last part? ORLEAN Yes, of course. 50-52 OMITTED 52A INT. 7 1/2 FLOOR SET - MORNING 50-52 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They nod * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) 49
The set from Being John Malkovich. Crew people bustle about, bending down as they enter the squat set. No one pays any attention to Kaufman, who stands by himself to the side. Donald is at the craft service table, picking at food. Caroline, a pretty, young make-up woman, stops by the table. Kaufman watches nervously as Donald eyes her. Finally Donald says something to her. She looks over, says something back. It's too far away to hear the conversation. Donald says something else and Caroline laughs. The conversation warms up. Kaufman can't believe his eyes. The assistant director appears in the hall. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Scene 23 up next! All keys to set! Catherine Keener and John Cusack pass Kaufman. perfunctorily. Hey. KAUFMAN
Cusack enters the hallway set. I'm fat. KAUFMAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) I'm old --
Keener sees Caroline, who's still chatting with Donald. KEENER (playfully) Caroline, c'mon, jeez. movie here. Let's go!
We're shooting a Let's go!
52A CONTINUED: Kenner grabs Caroline pulls her down the hall. CAROLINE (laughing) You're insane, Keener! Kaufman watches. 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD
KAUFMAN Please don't hit on crew members, Donald. DONALD No, Caroline's a really nice girl. KAUFMAN Just don't embarrass me. Okay? to work with these people. I have
DONALD I won't. Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don't worry! For my script! Ha ha! KAUFMAN I really don't write that kind of stuff. DONALD Oh, man, please. You're the genius. Kaufman stares at Donald, rubs his eyes, sighs. KAUFMAN Here you go. The killer's a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks of his victims' bodies until they die. He calls him "The Deconstructionist." DONALD That's kinda good. I like that.
KAUFMAN See, I was kidding, Donald. DONALD Oh, okay. Sorry. You got me! Ha-ha. Do you mind if I use it, though?
INT. BOY'S BEDROOM (1972) - NIGHT There are now many turtles in aquariums. Many turtle books and posters. The boy, in a turtle T-shirt, looks out the window into the darkness. His eyes are troubled. MOTHER (O.S.) (praying softly) For certain is death for the born/And certain is birth for the dead
INT. LIVING ROOM (1972) - CONTINUOUS The boy comes downstairs. His father, in a backbrace, watches TV; his sister lies on the couch, semi-conscious, more pale than before. His mother pats the girl's head with a damp cloth. There's a little Hindu altar with candles. MOTHER Therefore over the inevitable/Thou shouldst not grieve. (beat) Sweet, sweet Diane. The boy surveys the sad scene. His mother looks up, smiles.
MOTHER (CONT'D) A slice of pie for my turtle expert? The boy beams with pride, then gets solemn. BOY Mom, there's something I feel I have to do. I don't know how to do this, but I feel in my stomach that I have to. MOTHER What do you have to do, honey? BOY Collect one of every turtle in the world. (beat) It's a long list, ma. Cuora galbinifrons, Graptemys versa, Callagur borneoensis, all the Galapagos species, people think there's only one, but that's not true. Cycloderma frenatum, Cuora pani... (sighs) I don't think my life is worth living if I can't do this. The boy and his mother look at each other. (CONTINUED)
ORLEAN So. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. ORLEAN Wow. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. her sad eyes wet and glistening. VAN .pg. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils.. Oh. Orlean studies him for a moment. Collected the shit out of 'em. Perhaps you read about us.DAY Laroche drives. They drive in silence. * * * 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. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . The tape recorder is on between them. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. 55 INT. Orlean watches a flying heron. solemnly nodding his head. I lost interest right after that. that's some story. She underlines it. we'd better get started. Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. huh..
THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. Kaufman nods. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. (beat) No. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. fuck fish. The new girl I'm obsessed with.pg. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. Chaetodon capistratus. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . Anisotremus virginicus. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. that's how much fuck fish. I once fell deeply. You name it. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. profoundly in love with tropical fish. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. Different woman. Holacanthus ciliaris. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. THERAPIST Uh-huh. THERAPIST Red hair. Then one day I say. * * (CONTINUED) . 56 57 OMITTED INT. I renounce fish. not a lot a lot.
ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired.. She's taken. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. His longblack hair is braided. right? I saw you at the courthouse. Oh.. ORLEAN Susan Orlean.... Thank you. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi..DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. Orlean approaches. I washed it this morning. VINSON I can see your sadness.. He's handsome.. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. Oy. Hi. VINSON John's not here today. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair.. I'm using a new conditioner and. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls.pg. Yes.. Anyway. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. My * * * * * * . ORLEAN Oh. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. A few Indians are hauling plants. His eyes are gentle. so. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. Hi. SEMINOLE NURSERY .. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. He gently reaches out and touches it.. heart holds yours. is how I know.
ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. It's not personal. muscles straining against his shirt. Preferred customer.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. She watches him haul potted plants. ALICE Well. He touches her hand and heads back to work. yeah. KAUFMAN Yes. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. I'm just a sweetie. I hope. She smiles warmly. She winks at him. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. She just stands there. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . sits nervously in a booth.pg. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. It cuts right through her. He tenses as she comes up to him. Vinson smiles. ain't I. 58 INT. reading about orchids. completely present. watching Alice. Still * Thank you. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. grows right on a tree branch. hair combed. Just like that. He's so in love. It's the Indian way. immersed in the activity. That sounds great. I am. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one.
KAUFMAN That's great. I'm impressed. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. um. I was also wondering. He beams. still smiling. Alice turns back.. Awkward pause. Epiphytes grow on trees. I'm sorry. ALICE Oh. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. KAUFMAN I apologize. that's a lot. Her warmth dissipates. I'm just learning. (CONTINUED) . 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. ALICE Wow. huh? Yeah. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. but they're not parasites. KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. anyway.. ALICE Well. well -I'm sorry.pg. so. She smiles and turns to leave. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really.
pg.. He nods. I have to get out of here right now. I am old. like a school teacher. They are dull. personalities. He sweats.O. at her desk. 59 INT.. ORLEAN (V. some in garish clothing. One species looks like a German shepherd. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. The other waitress brings his pie.. colors.) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species.O. He is sick with adoration for the women. some in subtle clothing.O. Fuck the pie. One looks. one looks like a gymnast..DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) .MORNING Orlean.) (cont'd) . who pay him no mind. copies something from her notebook onto the computer. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen.. obligingly eats.. ORLEAN (V. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. He tries to study the flowers. one looks like an onion. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . ORLEAN (V. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed.) ..O. all glowing. 60 EXT. The other waitress looks over at him. KAUFMAN (V. NEW YORKER . One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin.. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. He forces himself to look. one looks like an octopus. One has eyes that dance.) I am fat. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then.
He quickly shifts back to her face.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. We see murder and procreation. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. smiling at customers. A million women walking down the street. admiring a view. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts.O. Those love them. He does it fast and unintentionally. war. * 63 * * * . religion. eating meat. an arm slipped through an arm. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. a shared look. We see old age and birth. The entire sequence takes two minutes. 63 INT. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. We see Alice serving food. commerce.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. We see the history of architecture. I don't need to know them at all. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . The way I like them. love them madly. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. I don't need to know what their jobs is.pg. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true.
plastic clowns. Look at me. BOOK-LINED STUDY .pg. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel. mirror resilvering. 42 64 INT. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. Kaufman paces and reads. Noisy chatter and calliope music. You'll see. ORLEAN I don't know. It's all I think about.O. LAROCHE Once you get the sickness. 66 .NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. Hegel. 65 INT. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. EMPTY BEDROOM . into which life was first breathed. fish.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. DARWIN (V. etc. He finds The Portable Darwin. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. 66 INT.) 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. Uh-huh. SHOW HALL . it takes over your life. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. fondles its petals. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin.
SHOW HALL . The flower insists. This isn't a pissing contest. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. EMPTY BEDROOM . The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. KAUFMAN We start before life. But because of it. like a lover. 67 * 68 68 EXT.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. this passion. Silence.pg. sure enough. Then.. LAROCHE (V.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means. is so much larger than either of them. Neither understands the significance of this interaction. Suddenly. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. thinking. Think about it.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower.DAY Blasting music.O. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal.proboscis means nose.. the world lives. by the way -.O. LAROCHE (V. And this attraction. MEADOW . 69 EXT. Crowds. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. Everyone thought he was a loon. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. 43 67 INT.NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. It finds an orchid which it resembles. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . All is silent.
How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. SHOW HALL . LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. She is detached here as well. It's unexpected. (CONTINUED) . APARTMENT . that's a great detail.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. You have to. Once you learn anything about orchids. covered with pollen. carry boxes of plants. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. flies away. HUSBAND He's a great character. One of those trailer guys. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. No front teeth.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT.orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. covered in pollen. buzzing around flowers. 70 INT. not too educated. Right. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. Orlean looks at Laroche.O. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals. carries it off. Orlean nods. FEMALE GUEST Oh. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes.pg. stare deep into nectaries. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it.) (cont'd) The insect. jabber passionately. You're supposed to.
pg. ORLEAN (V.) What is it about people who collect. NEW YORKER OFFICES .S. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So. who get obsessed with these.. BATHROOM .O.O.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. They smile at each other.O. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Susie gets to do a natural history thing. but there's a terrible distance between them.) . but it isn't part of my constitution.O. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. 74 INT..EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk. Orlean cries and types.. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom. 72 INT. but his voice goes under. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking.. we hear them in voice-over. As the words appear on her screen. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN (V.. which she loves. He's a sweaty mess.. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking. HUSBAND (O. ORLEAN (V. 73 INT.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder.
war. so we must find our originality within that genre. All is silent. we have to realize we all write in a genre. You'd love him. after the history of life on the planet.. religion. hunting. This has never been attempted in a movie before. in the last seconds of the montage. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. No response from Kaufman.pg. heaving with excitement. lust. into the night. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. Donald waits for a response. It breaks every rule. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . He rewinds the recorder. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . And the movie begins. evolved. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. just like you! But he says. See. presses "play. too. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. farming. Then. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. adapted. then." As he listens.. He's all for originality. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. Yearning. Charles.
browse. then types. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. NURSERY .EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. Say. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it.) I got married. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.O. Laura was such a class act. LAROCHE (V. One guy pulls Laroche aside. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. ORLEAN'S STUDY . Through an open door.) People started coming out of the woodwork.pg. We opened a nursery. John. stare into space. my wife. too.O. 47 76 INT. to ask me stuff. LAROCHE (V.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. sits sadly for a moment. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . to admire my plants. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. to admire me. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. From Peru. CUSTOMER #1 John. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. She was beautiful.
AGENT'S OFFICE . Hey. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. his full head of hair. They just move on to what's next. Marty smiles at him. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. keeps walking. She waves back. It's like running away. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. After a long silence. they have no memory. Orlean looks at him. ORLEAN Well. 88 INT. it's easier for plants. KAUFMAN It's about flowers.NIGHT Laroche drives. I should've just stuck with my own stuff.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office.pg. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. it's almost shameful to adapt. Adaptation is a profound process. Kaufman looks at Marty. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. VAN . Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. (CONTINUED) . For a person. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. People can't sometimes. Orlean looks out at the dark night. 89 INT. maybe I can help. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely.
. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. Anyway. I can't structure this. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. The book has no story." Blah blah blah. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know... what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time.. I wanted to grow as a writer. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass. I have a responsibility. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . You're the king. MARTY Look.pg." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. MARTY Make one up. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. It's someone else's material. He's funny. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -. The book's a jumping off point. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. "No narrative really unites these passages. (uncertain) I think they are. do something profound and simple. Show people how amazing flowers are. Oh man. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book.
89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER . LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. He reads the page. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. alone in bed.pg. 89A INT. Buster.. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. He lies there. After a few moments. MARTY Charlie. Reporters talk to video cameras.DAY A crowd of people. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche.) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. I think it would be a terrible career move.DAY Kaufman. talks to reporters.O. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. The judge is a moron. Laroche hides around the corner of the building.. at his car. KAUFMAN (V. COURTHOUSE ." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. (CONTINUED) . EMPTY BEDROOM . ejaculates. at the end of the day. smoking and ranting at Orlean. 89B EXT.
it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. A park official is being interviewed. not even the goddamned Indians. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. She sips iced tea. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. goddamned Indians. Okay. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. especially Laroche.pg.) Okay.O. They were nailed on a technicality. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. he says. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . 89C INT. we open with Laroche. The rapid fire click-click of typing. RESTAURANT . ORLEAN Hence the branches. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. I love to mutate plants. what with the protection the Native Americans have. Please don't put in I said. Orlean. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. Nobody's allowed to take those. KAUFMAN (V. Indians. So that's what we got 'em on. He's funny. who I found so maddening. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. the trial. It was all so maddening. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. flowers.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter.
reads. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. EMPTY BEDROOM . papers coffee cups. David's out of town. Okay.O. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. 92 93 OMITTED INT. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. I was mutated as baby. They had to confront what a dark.O.. He peers through the darkness at the books. Enthusiastic off-screen typing. Just thought I could get some more info. ORLEAN (V. dense. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. I'm just hanging out. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork.....) (cont'd) Mutation is fun.no. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. He picks up The Orchid Thief. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. ORLEAN Ah. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . ORLEAN Oh. okay -91 INT. (CONTINUED) . Okay we open at the beginning of time. opens it.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. okay. I don't mean to bother you. we have the court case. we show flowers. We show Laroche. that's why I'm so smart.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward..NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. overabundant place might have hidden in it. John. How about you? Nothing. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . Orlean is silent for a moment.that's funny.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. he says.. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp.pg.
There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. Uncle Jim. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. We're finally pulling out of debt. but sometimes bad things happen. (CONTINUED) 95 * . ORLEAN So. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. tell me. and uncle out of the house. LAROCHE It was going well. MOTHER Amen. And all the rest of 'em. Darkness descends. mother. his wife in front. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. LAROCHE'S CAR . Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. I'm telling you. This last year's been a dream. dad? His father doesn't respond. Praise Allah. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. then gets professional to cover. honey. 94 INT. 95 INT. Orlean starts to tear up. Vishnu.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . his mother and uncle in back. Buddha.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car. Laroche smiles back at his mother. Laroche pulls into traffic.pg. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . His father watches TV. his front teeth fly in all directions.
DAY Laroche. (CONTINUED) . And then. HOSPITAL ROOM . adding insult to injury. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. and the green pulp that was once plant life. 98A INT.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. 98B EXT. stares out at the street where the accident took place. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. Laroche. STREET . 96 EXT. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. ORLEAN If I almost died. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse.pg. She regains control and flips it down to talk. wood.DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. I think I'd leave my marriage. LAROCHE'S STOOP . 97 INT. on the cordless phone. in his mourning suit. It's like a free pass. too. She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. CEMETERY . LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. 98 EXT. No one can judge you if you almost died. sits by his comatose wife. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. jerking her forward and landing on top of her.
I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. I was gonna give them something amazing. Oh. (CONTINUED) . I wanted to do something amazing. MARGARET (beat) Well. sit. I can't figure out how to make it work. 99 INT. There's no story. I understand. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. an expert. beer in hand. I know. She's drunk. 98C INT. He tries to duck but she spots him. I took the job. how's the script.) Everything. Margaret.O. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. PARTY HOUSE . so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. I don't know. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. MARGARET You hate me. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. MARGARET (cont'd) So. John. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. to get their nursery going. sit.pg. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. Hey. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. She runs over and hugs him. You don't call me no more.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. I'm full of shit.
MARGARET Hey you. Davey. It is a challenging one. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. this is my friend David. Oh.pg. but. Boy. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well. MARGARET No. Hey. wow. we should head. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. I'll get Marg to send it to you. Kaufman and David shake hands. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. A young man approaches. DAVID No? I was fascinated. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. Hey. (to Kaufman) Charlie.. KAUFMAN That'd be great. Man. Cool.... 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. Marg. God bless you for trying. story. (CONTINUED) . Charlie. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder.
pg. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. but. Donald. Yeah.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. dangerous. 102 INT. Hey. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. 'Course. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. I'll have something honest to give the world. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . sits there. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. hey. put that in the article! 101 INT." Orlean closes the book. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. I don't know if it'll kill me. 100 INT. hand on Margaret's ass. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. And you are amazing. Goddamn crucified me. You're the best. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. man. as dense as steel wool. EMPTY BEDROOM . She dials the phone. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. Hey. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. Susie-Q! LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * ORLEAN So I was thinking it'd be good for the article for me to go into the Fakahatchee to see a ghost. She kisses his ear. I'm banned. NEW YORKER OFFICE . I'd like you to take me. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. but if it doesn't.
104B INT. counted fifty and stopped. Full of monstrous alligators. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V.O. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT." Donald looks up from his work. sweetie. try to think of a song about multiple personality.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. AIRPLANE . alligators.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. impracticable. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. So. ORLEAN (V. I'm putting a song in. STUDIO APARTMENT . SWAMP . God. DONALD Charles. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. AIRPLANE . 105 INT.O. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. 104A EXT. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension.pg.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. I'm so glad to be home.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. Hey.
pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. RENTAL CAR . which is completely dry. Five to six thousand years old. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. pulls up his pants.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. He tenses. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . I've waited all day to feel you inside me. takes his seat. 107 INT. adjusts himself. ORLEAN (V.) 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.. One of the stewardesses laughs. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. probably in the world. SWAMP . unbuttons her blouse. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing.pg. He takes notes. Kaufman. She regards Kaufman blankly. stands. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. AIRPLANE .O. About that. 106 INT. Okay. He heads up the aisle. She sighs contentedly. Five or six.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. The two men walk easily on peaty ground.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast.. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. The stewardess slips out of her blazer. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. then goes back to her conversation. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. and exits the bathroom. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture.
And I had this thought. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. KAUFMAN Um. She glances at her husband. holds a phone to her ear. black water. It was sweltering.O. nineteen. there's usually water. Good for us today. across the room reading a book. I called Laroche. There were snakes and alligators. again. it's twenty miles long. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. ORLEAN (V. HOTEL ROOM . ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. five.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible.O. four and a half. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face. nineteen to twenty.NIGHT Orlean types.pg. and right here it's about five miles wide. MIKE OWEN Well. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. So.. She sighs. ORLEAN (V. three to five miles wide. or nineteen. continues typing. It's about twenty miles long. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. We've been going through a bit of a drought.. 120 INT. 120 .
Laroche is such a fun character. He finds himself lost in it.. HOTEL ROOM . is on the phone.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. PLANE . Really unique. RESTAURANT . dirty from the swamp. 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT.) Beautifully written. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me.) .. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me.clears throat) Jesus Christ. fleeting and out of reach. 124 INT. He hi-lites the passage. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Yeah. KAUFMAN (V. John's a character all right. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine.C.. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd. ORLEAN Well.NIGHT Orlean.'" VALERIE (O. ORLEAN Thanks very much.O. thanks. Thank you. * VALERIE We're big fans. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. And sad in a way. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved. VALERIE It's funny and fresh.. Thank you.pg. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ".
a real affection for Laroche in her manner. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. ORLEAN More John. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. but seems to be enjoying herself now. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. the nursery lot. Florida Seminole reservation. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . VAN . we'd really like to option this. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. more orchids.DAY 128 * * * EXT. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. Orlean is charmed. (CONTINUED) . um. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. Orlean holds on. So I'll be doing that. These things mostly never get made.pg. 127 INT.DAY 127 * * Laroche.
LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. TRAILER . looks at some papers on his desk. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. He waits." That's a good title for the movie. Orlean moves the junk over.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. Now it's "Crazy White Man. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number.pg. I'll study the shit out of acting. Before Orlean can respond. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door. yes! Yeah. I'll take acting classes. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. Back! (hangs up) Hey. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. Buster. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . shares the seat with it. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. While you write. John. 129 INT. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly.
The sprinklers were busted for a while. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. we're not closing shop. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. what she can to make herself invisible. BUSTER Listen. BUSTER No kidding. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. So if it's a question of productivity -.pg. sell 'em at a profit. Laroche stops short. I'm really excited about. Buster. Orlean holds on. turn 'em into big ones.I got lot's of ideas. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. I been meaning to talk to you about that.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. all they do is smoke weed all day. Buy little ones. It's fixed. No. so all the dead shrubs. He glances over at Orlean. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. Laroche looks back at Buster. VAN . 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. humiliated in front of her. Buster stares back. BUSTER John.. But I got it fixed. There are tears welling in her eyes.. the guys on my crew here. Her heart is breaking for him. Simple plant multiplication for the masses.
I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. And I ain't going to quit. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John. I'm pursuing other avenues. If they fire me. We don't see Laroche at all. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. * .) I'm no longer interested in orchids. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. 131 132 OMITTED INT.. They can't fire me. Susan who? LAROCHE (O. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn.. There is nothing on the walls.. The room looks sad. and anonymous. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. LAROCHE (O.C. Crazy. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence. empty. crazy white man.C. PHONE BOOTH . I already did some legal research on this. LAROCHE (O.C. Don't just abandon me down here.pg. Orlean dials the phone.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. Look.) ORLEAN . it's Susan. It rings for a long time. Oooh.. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT. I'll sue.
PHONE BOOTH . A blonde. At one point. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. Then I cried. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Goddamnit. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. make-up. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. so beautiful. TEENAGE GIRL (V. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. And I thought. HOTEL ROOM . talks to various orchid enthusiasts. sits in lecture halls. lonely and lost. Laroche hangs up. 66 134 INT. a NOW button. I couldn't stop. how perfect. on the floor are records and books. so present.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. There is no one to call. infant eyes. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT. 137A INT. visits nurseries.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed.O. On the walls are posters of Dylan. but it's a teenager's room now. Orlean stands there for a moment. GIRL'S BEDROOM .NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. On the dresser.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. She is bored and distracted. Susan. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. attends orchid shows. She flips through her address book. a tampax box. OHIO.pg. her journalist persona on. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. it's starting already. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. She is so pure.
(CONTINUED) .. Um. After a few moments. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. Yeah. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. okay. Vinson enters.No. She sips a glass of champagne.. Not really.. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. She picks up. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. He saunters over and sits. HOTEL ROOM . Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. dolled-up. I'll speak to you in the morning. It must've been crazy! Boy. Okay. what was it like for you. ORLEAN Yeah. There's a silence. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. plays with her hair. it might be late. The phone rings. I was just fascinated with this story and. 137B INT. y'know. how.pg. y'know. Let me call you in the morning. thanks for coming. Work good? Good. honey. After a long beat she dials the phone. VINSON Sure thing.. This should be really helpful. all the Native American aspects and. ORLEAN Um. HOTEL BAR . eyes herself in the mirror. um.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door.. Yeah. her trembly fingers. okay. There's Vinson's phone number.LATER 137B Orlean. hon. Hey. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. Uh-huh. large the scope was and. VINSON I don't know. 137C INT. So. She waves. anxiously gets ready to go out.. Y'know? Vinson watches Just.
Orlean just sits there. Y'know.. if -Ah. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. so I thought it would be helpful. She's shaking. do you want to get laid or not. ORLEAN (cont'd) . we can talk here.pg. um. typing furiously at his desk... He barely looks at her. Gosh.. fuck. for me.. EMPTY HOUSE . ORLEAN Oh.Did I -communicate something? No. I apologize.this seems fine. Orlean is at a loss.. I just -. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. DONALD Hey. No. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. he seems bored and impatient. She finishes her drink... Native American. look.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. looks up. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back. ORLEAN Oh. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. I just wanted to get some. um. here. 138 139 OMITTED INT. No. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . no. DONALD How was Florida. Um. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. I think we can -. Donald.
EMPTY BEDROOM .CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. Good night. I've posted one over both our work areas. Donald. 141 142 OMITTED INT. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. Kaufman disappears upstairs. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. He looks over at the clock. did exactly that. one of the greatest screenplays ever written. DONALD No. 140 INT. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. Mixed genres. slept in a week. EMPTY BEDROOM . I got a song! "Happy Together. sweating. smiles. it's just good writing technique. but Bob says Casablanca. DONALD Cool. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. It's 3:32. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. Okay. (lies down on floor) Hey. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . his eyes darting back and forth.pg. (types. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. Donald breaks the tension. then:) Oh. They look at each other.
smiling author photo. I can't sleep. heaving. It seems somehow sleepy now. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. Kaufman closes his eyes. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. Kaufman studies her delicate. Kaufman flips to the glowing. Focus on one thing in the story. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. It talks. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. Its smile broadens. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. (CONTINUED) . The photo smiles warmly at him.pg. Donald is no longer in the room. melancholy face. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. begins to jerk off. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. She smiles at him throughout. flips through it. Kaufman switches on a lamp. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. He's in love. Whittle it down. Charlie.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. too many directions to go. KAUFMAN (V. making love. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. They finish. He stares at the photo. You've written a beautiful book. So true. You're not. He looks at the still smiling photo. I'm losing my hair. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag.O. sad insights. He reads one. too.
Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. beautiful.. sees Caroline with Donald. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. fragile. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy. KITCHEN . hey.. really good ones. skinny as a stick. enters with Caroline.. delicate. smiles. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. CAROLINE Really. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . in his underwear." Donald. The killer flees on horseback with the girl. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. this morning. Hey. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. typing at her desk. too.MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. 143 INT. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. We hear her voice-over. haunted by loneliness.. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. It's like a * CAROLINE God.pg. I'm good. Morning.
At him? 150 INT. peasant blouse. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . EMPTY BEDROOM . The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. KAUFMAN (V. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. Like technology versus horses." 149 EXT. man. She thinks. right? DONALD Hey. KAUFMAN (nice) Well.O. STREET . women snicker. that's the big pay-off. distraught. Thanks.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve.A.pg. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses. Bergman's Persona. why am I here? She thinks. EMPTY BEDROOM .NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. L. it sounds exciting. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. DONALD Thanks. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. NOW button. who is this man? She thinks. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband.
The phone rings. She kisses him on the cheek. EMPTY BEDROOM . ORLEAN Not like a marriage. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. 152 153 INT. get to merge our thoughts. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. KITCHEN . Orlean wears a bandana kerchief.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . They kiss and fall onto the new couch. He smiles at Orlean's photo. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . Her drunken mother enters. I love that. We see the loneliness of her childhood. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. 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. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. It now looks warm and inviting. and how it forever scars the little girl. 151 * * * * 152 INT. Kaufman is immensely pleased. like a marriage. her mother's disappointment at life. It's intimate. 73 151 INT. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed.pg. I'm finding you. sits on young Susan's bed and cries.
. before I finish. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair. How's everything going? Good. KAUFMAN I think really good now.pg. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi... well. Great. Just bugging you again. Tell her I said that. Good. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. As she sees fit. It's Valerie. I'll let her know.. Charlie. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. uh-huh. Okay. Say I think she's a great writer. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. All color drains from Kaufman's face. for me it's distracting to. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book.. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. KAUFMAN Um. y'know. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow... So..
KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer.O.pg. sips coffee and skims a magazine. She glances over in his direction.O. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up. 154 INT. Just keep us posted. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. 156 INT. but not at him. Maybe it's even smirking.) She thinks I'm repulsive. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall. She looks through him. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . 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. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. He smiles. Kaufman paces frantically. Caroline. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. I'm completely selfinvolved.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. doubles over. 155 INT. Charlie. mocking the seriousness of what I do. EMERGENCY ROOM . She thinks. Okay. KAUFMAN (V. It's still smiling. KAUFMAN (V. Kaufman storms in. EMPTY BEDROOM . you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. on the floor. It's not glowing.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. holding his stomach. KAUFMAN Nice talking to you.
LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. "I am old. And I was hoping. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. I'm doing pornography. HOTEL ROOM . I am fat. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. Oh. yeah. John! . LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. His voice-over carpets the scene. paces.pg.NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. Charlie Kaufman. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. look.O. I know. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM .CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment. bald. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. It's fascinating. how's it going? 161A INT. old. I'll take you in. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.) Movie opens. but I still haven't seen a ghost. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. naked women adorn the walls. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. fat.
EMPTY BEDROOM .NIGHT Kaufman types.pg. he's also eating himself to death. Also. DONALD I don't know what that means. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. DONALD I finished my script. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. Donald appears in the doorway with a script. The cassette player plays. like. I wanted to thank you for your idea. to eat herself. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. repugnant. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. ridiculous. DONALD I don't think so. It was very helpful. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. But. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. (CONTINUED) * * * . It's. doesn't say anything. 77 162 INT. Because at the end when he forces the woman. anyway. who's really him. I changed it a little. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks.
paying little attention to the road. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. It's narcissistic. I'm Ourobouros. It's pathetic. It's eating itself. I'm eating myself. DONALD That's kinda weird. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. I'll meet her. It's solipsistic.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. The car veers onto the shoulder. DONALD Hey. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. You're an artist. Oh. he lazily corrects it. It looks hot. I'm pathetic. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. I'm fat and pathetic. Because I suck. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel.pg. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. DONALD I don't know what that word means. Because I have no idea how to write. Charles. Charles. 163 164 OMITTED INT. Orlean is tense. CAR . That's what I have to do. That's it. Because I'm pathetic.
past hopelessness.most for something exceptional. if you keep searching for something past doubt. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. Encyclia tempensis. Birds screech.O. John. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. desolate. even at their peril. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. I never thought many people in the world were like John.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. y'know. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. there it'll be. Bees. They drive in silence for a little while. They sink to their knees. Things slither past in the water. rather than abide an ordinary life. We couldn't find one. Laroche lights a cigarette. (CONTINUED) . 164A EXT. walks along. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. So we walked. But my mom said. something to pursue. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. Frogs croak. and dragonflies hover. The ground is soft. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . We walked for hours. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. not an aberration -.DAY Kaufman. sweaty and anxious. LAROCHE Here we go. Something big runs by in the distance. Laroche points to a yellow flower.pg. ORLEAN (V. sun blasted. I wanted to turn back. SWAMP . snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii.) He made it sound like a Bible story. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT. the hopeful journey through darkness into light.
Kaufman sweats. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. ELEVATOR . Kaufman hesitates. NEW YORK CITY STREET . Orlean looks at him blankly. SWAMP . anxious.DAY Orlean walks along.pg. Just follow me. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. I found you two already. Orlean is a sweaty mess. Nobody gets off or on. 169 170 OMITTED INT. Kaufman hates himself.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. The elevator continues up. Kaufman is panicked. and faces front. The elevator arrives at the lobby. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. The doors open. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. The doors close. Orlean laughs appreciatively. . scraped. 172 Kaufman follows her. dirty. studies the back of her head. That's an ugly-ass orchid. Uh-huh. 171 EXT. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. presses "lobby". LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. Orlean gets out. I'll show you every orchid you want today. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. I'm interested in all orchids. You know that. Kaufman sweats. frizzed hair. But I'm no snob. It stops a few times. isn't it? Orlean examines it. This time Orlean gets on. people get off and on. 172 171 * * EXT. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. Not just pretty ones.
pg.) (cont'd) Likes tuna. He's frustrated. tries to tear them. KAUFMAN (V. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair. RESTAURANT . (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * . SWAMP . Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. 81 173 INT. KAUFMAN (V. He paces.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes. reading Vanity Fair. The waitress nods and leaves. yanks the sheets from the bed. 175 INT.O.O. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean. drinks iced tea. LAROCHE We're not lost. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. HOTEL ROOM . She watches him start off in one direction.O. KAUFMAN (V. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. Kaufman sits a few tables away. Good character details.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined.NOON Orlean follows Laroche. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. Thanks. He scribbles in his notebook. stop.) Reads Vanity Fair. hysterical.O. then go in another direction. swings them wildly. Interesting! 174 EXT. KAUFMAN (V.
pg. Good. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. KAUFMAN I gotta go. don't say that. still holding the glass. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. I mean. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. It's been okay. Best script I've read this year. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. (CONTINUED) . edgy thriller. Oh. bends to pick up the broken glass. heaves. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. He answers it. buddy. Y'know. Um. The phone rings. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. Two fucking talented guys in one family. KAUFMAN Marty. fair enough. it's Marty. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. I have an appointment.
knocks over the twig. This relaxes Laroche. She looks at Laroche. I'll just set this up.pg. stares at it. Rage and panic sweep across her face. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. comes up with a straight twig. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. Laroche looks down at it. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. She stares at him. He stretches his legs. It is so. amigo. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. He looks up at her. Orlean takes a cracker. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. Without looking at Orlean. He pokes around on the ground for something. her fists clench into balls. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. he puts the twig back. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. He won't look at her. wait a few minutes. LAROCHE Well. sees her staring at him. SWAMP .LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. We want to be heading southeast.
84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. 177 178 OMITTED EXT. some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. 179 EXT. Laroche seems unaware. look. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. I am old. balding. I am just one more old. Orlean is stony. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. 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. SWAMP .MORNING Kaufman wanders. I am repulsive. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. There's a sadness. fuck the sundial.pg. overweight men wandering the streets also. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. He eyes other sad-looking. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk.O. screw it. I just say to myself. KAUFMAN (V. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. Out of here. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. can't write. and go straight ahead.) I am fat. They rise. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. I mean. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. bald man on the street. logically. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. fat. . Whenever everything's killing me. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . we have to get out as long as we walk straight.
what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. I am fat. LOBBY . Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze.. KAUFMAN (V. I. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. I am fat. * * MCKEE So. KAUFMAN (V. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. AUDITORIUM . The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. 85 180 EXT.) I have failed.pg. 182 INT. NYC STREET . The audience laughs.) I am pathetic.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something.. a mic clipped to his lapel.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room.. 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. I am worthless. First. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough.O. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. except for Kaufman who looks pained. and always the imperative is too tell a story. last. (CONTINUED) * . I have sold out.. I am panicked. walks toward it.O.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. glowing in the sun. Kaufman waits in line. I am a loser.
KAUFMAN (V. And here I am.. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago.. Kaufman looks up. just look around you.pg. AUDITORIUM . startled. The audience members take copious notes." writes the guy on the other side. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. I should leave here right now. "Any idiot.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. 183 INT. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience.O.) It is my weakness. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. Easy answers. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new.. the result is decadence. Kaufman sweats.. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing. when storytelling goes bad in a society. "Flaccid. Aristotle said. Well. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. (deadpan) Well. McKee seems to watching him. my friends. sloppy writing. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke.. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . Rules to short-cut yourself to success. (CONTINUED) . and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here." writes the guy on one side of him. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated..
And that's an important point. A long speech in a script. The audience is tired. say a page long. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. The Greeks called it stykomythia -. Look at the second hand on your watch as it makes one complete rotation around the clock face and you'll get an idea of how intolerable that would be for an audience. energetic as ever. There's not a person in this world -. 185 186 OMITTED INT.who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. There is no sound. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. McKee. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. 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. 184 EXT. Writers are not tape recorders.pg. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience. Real people are not interesting. Now Kaufman takes serious notes.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. We are not recreating life on the screen. one hour for lunch.and I include myself in this -. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. but still attentive. Kaufman wanders by himself. holding a cup of coffee.the rapid exchange of ideas.LATER 185 186 * It's late. NYC STREET . wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. AUDITORIUM . AUDITORIUM . His face is troubled. Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is.
Kaufman can't get out of the way. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM .DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. He turns. giggles a little. Kaufman.MORNING Kaufman. AUDITORIUM .pg. Aristotle rises to stretch. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. 188 INT. HOTEL . More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . collapsing it. That's it for tonight. sits in the back.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. sips his coffee. they don't have any epiphanies. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. then. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. Remember. It's silent and tense. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. A violent fight ensues. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. with dark circles under his eyes. He walks around the table. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. bleary-eyed. Out of nowhere. 190 INT. where people don't change. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand.
Kaufman waits. MCKEE Oh. Mr. 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. right. (CONTINUED) . if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. 191 EXT. 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. thanks. NYC STREET . leaning against the building. tired Kaufman approaches him.pg. McKee emerges. you'll bore your audience to tears. okay. carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. then you. A shaky. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. Nice to see you. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. my friend.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out.
) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. my even standing here is very scary.O. It's about my choices as a human being.O. KAUFMAN . But what you said this morning shook me to the bone.. my friend. MCKEE I could use a drink. all the way to the road. 193 INT. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. we could see the gleam of a fender. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk. 192 EXT.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight. ORLEAN (V.. ORLEAN (V.. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. looking only straight ahead. MCKEE I'm sorry. and there. Kaufman closes the book. KAUFMAN Mr. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. BAR . Please. McKee. I don't meet people well.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose. SWAMP . McKee hesitates for a moment.. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. ORLEAN (V.O.pg.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. Soon there is silence. far down the diagonal of the levee.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. There's a pause.
My twin brother Donald. He's the one who got me to come. tedious movie. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. I wanted to present it simply. but wow them at the end. You can have an uninvolving. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. (beat) That's not a movie. I can't go back. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. eyes Kaufman. * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. McKee recognizes his bulk. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. I'm way past my deadline. The last act makes the film. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. McKee sips his beer. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. (CONTINUED) .pg. Do that and you'll be fine. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. Find an ending. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. It's about disappointment. acts. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. and you've got a hit. Kaufman hugs him.
As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. (CONTINUED) . 194 INT.who wrote Casablanca were twins. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. Donald.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game.NIGHT McKee. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. tries to read Story.) Climax.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. He rubs his temples.O. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. MCKEE'S OFFICE . 196A INT. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah. 195 INT. Caroline giggles in the background. HOTEL ROOM . 196 INT. like Darwin before him. Listen. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .pg. Julius and Philip Epstein. sits at his desk and writes. MCKEE (V. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. dials the phone.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. HOTEL ROOM . KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey.
please. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down.pg. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. and Donald laugh. Donald. taking this all in. please. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. please. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. She's great. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. DONALD C'mon. You should hang out with her. KAUFMAN Yeah. long moment. HOTEL ROOM .. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. KEENER (O. It's been a wild ride. Um. high-sixes against a mill-five. Caroline. tipsy) Oh.. (CONTINUED) . maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. look.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. I've been thinking.C. We're playing Boggle. 196B INT. like.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. Donald.
So. I'm thinking. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. huh? Sorry. It's funny. HOTEL ROOM . if you like. We're different talents. KAUFMAN I was trying something. Y'know. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. Maybe you could read it. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . Charles. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me.pg. KAUFMAN I know. subtext. Y'know. Just for fun. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. Okay. Like what? DONALD I don't know. Donald finishes. I -- DONALD Hey. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. KAUFMAN So.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. too. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. like. is quiet. Kaufman paces. I don't mind. The great Donald. man. KAUFMAN Good. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up.
yes. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. Someone's got to talk to her. I can't. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. KAUFMAN I don't know. I'll go. You're reaching. KAUFMAN For God's sake. it's just a metaphor. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. (picks up Orchid Thief. of course she's that. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. You can't be an asshole. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. look. she said she didn't care about flowers. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. That's inconsistent.pg. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. I have a reputation to maintain. Charles.. DONALD Pretend I'm you. You can't be a goofball. and the flower is so marvelous you can't believe there was a time all you saw in front of you was a paper ball and a glass of water.. DONALD Is she? I mean. DONALD Maybe. but. KAUFMAN Really." (looks up) First of all. (CONTINUED) . To know her. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book.
I get to have people think I'm you. It's an honor. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. But the relationship ends when the book ends. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. No bad jokes. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Don't laugh how you laugh. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. you could become a pretty good writer. I was very interested in everything he had to say. doing his best serious writer impression. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. In the subtext. sits across from her. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. (CONTINUED) * * * * . dressed as Charlie. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. By definition. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. I mean. 198 INT.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. DONALD So. Donald scribbles. No flirting. Donald." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. You spend a lot of time together. mumbles under his breath. He said. if you write a couple more books. "You know.pg. Thanks.
199 Donald * * * INT.pg. dressed as Charlie. Very good. Okay. living or dead. ORLEAN I'd have to say. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. Too right. Charles. I have an idea. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. stares out the window. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing.. Einstein or Jesus. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. That's a prepackaged answer.. HOTEL ROOM . 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. DONALD She was nervous. watches TV. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. She's lying.DAY Kaufman paces. enters. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. She said all the right things. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. just one more question.
is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. picks up a pen. Let's go. holds it like a microphone. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. and sings and dances around Kaufman. want to be doing this.) She's upset. window with binoculars. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer. A conversation ensues. She closes her office door. I do. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. KAUFMAN Well. becoming more and more agitated. (CONTINUED) 201 . ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Orlean waits as the phone rings. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. (talking) C'mon. Sadly. KAUFMAN Let's go. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . DONALD (O.pg.S. Leave. who just stares at him.
DONALD Anyway. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . who watches through binoculars. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. DONALD That was no parent phone call.) Stop watching her. my friend. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. Tomorrow morning.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. Research. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. 202 * 201 INT." 203 INT. Heh heh. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys. 202 She starts to cry. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. Donald. Don't tell my old lady. DONALD United to Miami.pg. HOTEL ROOM . DONALD She's crying. Leave her alone. She's at her computer. She hung up the phone. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . I'm gonna look at it. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. I thought she was done with Laroche.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. Orlean looks out her window.S.
RENTAL CAR . Orlean gets in. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. naked photo of Orlean.pg.A BIT LATER Donald drives. Kaufman and Donald drive by. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. Kaufman is sweaty. incredulously at it.LATER 206 Donald follows. 205 INT. No. Forget it. Told ya. nervous. which speeds and swerves through traffic. gets out. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. DONALD I said. guess what? We're going to Miami. goes over to the computer. baby. 204 INT. Hey. Donald parks up the street. no. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. C'mere. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. You wait here. Donald behind the wheel. oh yeah. middle-class house. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. posed but awkward. SUBURBAN STREET . the van speeds off. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. 206 EXT. (CONTINUED) * . keeping up with the van. The beat-up white van pulls up. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. DONALD I'll get a closer look.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. KAUFMAN I said. CAR .
ORLEAN Who's that. bro. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. continues to rub herself.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. drags him into the house. Donald gets Kaufman's script. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. How did he find me. Wrong house. The chair slides across the floor... locks eyes with Kaufman. it should be me. have slipped. kissing. undressing each other. HOUSE . Laroche glances at the window.. Orlean studies Kaufman. Orlean pulls away giggling.. right? I mean. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house.. Orlean. snorts some lines of green powder. in. DONALD Go for it. tips over. Orlean and Laroche are laughing.pg. Kaufman gets out of the car. He adjusts them. There's movement in a window in ducks. crawls to the coffee table. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just.) Darlin'. oblivious. nobody.S. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. looks in. Laroche cuts him off. it's my. You the man. He slinks around back. I mean. 207 INT.. peruses house. I'm just. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. I should go. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. Laroche waits patiently.
of course not. Well. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. Orlean rises. ORLEAN I'm freaking.pg. dude. Orlean tries to focus. John. Kaufman rises. Laroche begins to write his phone number. don't let him leave. it was nice to meet you. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. 'kay? Kaufman does. (CONTINUED) . Did you follow me? I should go.I don't know that. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. Laroche looks at Susan. Let me give you my number. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. LAROCHE Okay. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. ORLEAN Shit. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -.
Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. I was just -. LAROCHE Oh. I don't know. She looks up. Well. She talks to herself for a while. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. anyway. I'm pretty clear on the structure.pg. I'm almost done. Orlean massages her temples. he's researching his script. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. gestures to herself. LAROCHE I believe him. right? LAROCHE Good point. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . Kaufman rises. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. Suze. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. Hold him.I'm just down here to see the swamp.
LAROCHE (O. 208 Laroche closes the door. I understand. * (CONTINUED) . INT. He listens. CLOSET . Kaufman gets in.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry. LAROCHE Yeah. * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay. You're getting a little emotional and you -ORLEAN Don't talk to me like I'm a mental patient! I hate when you do that! I'm not. I can't have people -. Thank you. Charlie. deliberate) Susie.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked.pg.) Susie. LAROCHE I'm sorry. I have to think. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. you need to calm down. we can't kill anyone.S. okay. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow.
Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. He passes behind her. He sifts through a cardboard box. 209 INT. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . The bartender shakes a drink. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. Please. 208A INT. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. Laroche turns it off. holes here. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. She glances down at his off-screen hand.S.S. There's a long sweaty silence. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN (O. in close-up. Laroche and Orlean.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O.S.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. descends the basement stairs. large. chews her fingernail and cries.S.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. his face lights up red. 208B INT. in close-up.S. LAROCHE (O. pacing foreground figures. blurry.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. Donald watches the goings-on. his pants fall down.) Protect me. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . in close-up. a little hysterically. turns it on.pg. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . occasionally pass between Donald and the camera. Johnny.) I think you just stick them in.S.) Then what? Everyone will find out. BASEMENT . Kaufman inhales sharply.
like he was doing research. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock. KAUFMAN (O. suburban Miami neighborhood. Orlean sits next to him. RENTAL CAR . that's sort of creepy. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O. um. They drive in silence.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. KAUFMAN It's a story. there's an image I could do without. She skims Kaufman's screenplay.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice.S.S.S. here's me again! (mockingly reading from screen) "Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. I'm really just interested in orchids. ORLEAN Hey." Jesus. KAUFMAN Look.S.) Okay. I didn't really do it. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp. I don't care what you're doing.S.) I. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * .) (cont'd) He could be found drowned.S.) Of course he does. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. God.pg.) You have a car. LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN (O. no. 210 INT. That sounds like a real thing that could happen. I -ORLEAN (O. holding a gun. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph.
I'll tell you the truth now. Get a cup of coffee. ORLEAN (considers) No. Charlie-boy. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. We can forget I ever came here. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. this isn't easy for me either. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. It was orchids. ORLEAN Yeah. KAUFMAN You can laugh. I know. Chill." Orlean laughs derisively. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . I'm laughing at who I used to be. if you don't tell me. you don't have to kill me. I do. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. Can we do that? We can talk this out. It's sad. I'll sign anything. Bully for you. KAUFMAN We can turn around. From a weirdo with no teeth. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. ORLEAN (cont'd) So.pg. ORLEAN Listen. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. KAUFMAN Look. We can do whatever you want. but I didn't make that up. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. That's a quote from your book.
can't. something I didn't tell you. . ORLEAN It's a flower.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. VAN ... I want to tell you.) I'd just started up the nursery. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. It's just a flower. They drive in silence. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it.. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER . stands there awestruck. I think this might help you.. I want you to know this. my porn site is gonna be big.. LAROCHE (V. He spots something on a tree. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. I went back one night to pick up something. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp. long as I'm here.pg. circles it. SWAMP . 211B EXT. but some of the Indians. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. It wasn't my thing. No reaction.DAY Laroche drives. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy.. okay? I know you're going through some shit. LAROCHE Might as well grab it.O. 211A INT. About the ghost. 108 211 EXT. Orlean stares out the window. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look.
A bunch of young. TRAILER BACK ROOM .O. I watched. Susie. It had been a ceremonial thing. One sings to himself. like I told you. Y'know. My hair. Jesus. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. Laroche.. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. My sadness. 109 211C INT. It seems to help people be. . too. I think you'd like it. I want to do this. stoned Indian men. Two of the men make out. Oh. but the young guys. Some stare off. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug.. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. I know how. they ran out. Vinson lived on that shit. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. 211D INT. they liked to get stoned. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors.DAY Orlean seems interested now.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room. fascinated. but -Vinson. your sadness is fascinating to me.pg. VAN . One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. That's what I wanted to tell you. As I said. LAROCHE It does that.
211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. Friday. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. He's pasty white with fear. This must be her room. puts it down. you should. HOTEL BAR .NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. a little tipsy. He needs to hear how you feel. 211F INT. paces. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. stares at it. Orlean hangs up. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. you should. pours some onto the glass-topped desk.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. He's barely listening.pg. talks on the phone. 211G INT.NIGHT 211H Orlean. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. HOTEL HALLWAY . ORLEAN I was so sad that night. ORLEAN (V. HOTEL ROOM . The place is empty. All right then. picks it up. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. hon. reviews some notes. You too. Please. rolls it up. There's a small package outside one door. sniffs inside. I didn't know. Yeah. trying to remember her room number. let me be. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it.NIGHT Kaufman drives. Something. Okay. 110 211E INT. 211I INT. 211H INT.) I went down to the bar. RENTAL CAR .O. HOTEL ROOM . Maybe I could get laid. (CONTINUED) . Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. picks up the baggie. hovers over the green powder. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. Her name is written on it.NIGHT So drained. if you're not going to let me go.
Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . stands. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin.O. doesn't. She's never seen anything more beautiful. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. She watches her grinning face with love. I figured. She tries to sing along with it. She snorts a small amount. 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. sucks it. 211M INT. who really cares about anything anymore.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. She tugs at a strand. Ms. on the scrubbing sound. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. She tries to open the window for a better look. She feels nothing. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. tries to determine if it's going to kill her.) (CONT'D) I figured. the colors. I figured. tries to feel something. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. She giggles. what the hell.pg. 211J INT. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. discovers it does not open.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. HOTEL ROOM ." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. holding the phone to her ear. 211L INT. She snorts the rest. dully watches herself in the mirror. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. She sighs. sniffs it. what the fuck. How exquisite! She cries. 211K INT. stands again.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. She bends in to the mirror for a better look.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. listening to the dial tone. HOTEL ROOM . It's so beautiful. HOTEL ROOM . rolls it around in her fingers. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. HOTEL BATHROOM .
.pg. Operator. ma'am. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. ma'am. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. Orlean dials again. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. eight to five-thirty. ORLEAN Good night. ORLEAN Well. Okay. to you. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my.. ma'am. It's so pretty.? ORLEAN In your dial tone.
113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. I'm very happy now. She listens to it. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. LAROCHE She studies her feet. I'm glad. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. all the time. that would be so helpful. There's a pause. . Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. forgets to pick up the phone. Finally she remembers. ORLEAN Johnny. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. pitch. There's a pause. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. The phone rings. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John.pg. stares at the ceiling. John. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. She imitates a dial tone. ORLEAN John. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. Hello? Hi.
Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. ORLEAN Huh. 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. too? Yes. I do. I think toes should be with their fellows. . (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. Do you like socks. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy.pg. Okay. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. LAROCHE They will be. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice.
HOTEL ROOM . Like my mom. ORLEAN We spoke all night. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. I'm a person. Kaufman stares straight ahead.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor. Johnny. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. Nobody liked me. RENTAL CAR . except someone else. y'know. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. just like you. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Please think about what you're doing. on the phone. She stares out the window at the early morning light. 212B INT. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. understand me. too. someone would come around and just. but not talking.pg. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Here. We're twins. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes.
KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. VAN . . ORLEAN Back in New York. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. Laroche starts to cry. Orlean looks with love at these items. It'd send someone. anyway. She remains silent. a bag of soil. Alive. just like that.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. then at Laroche's straining face. and quietly say. I couldn't care. Or fantasizing about someone else. "yes". They pass very few cars now. Laroche seems clumsy. Orlean is flabbergasted. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. Orlean smiles. Back. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. who stares straight ahead. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. Not like that. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. The junk is pushed to the sides. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. I couldn't focus. She glances past Laroche at the moon. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. lost in her story. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. She pulls him to her and kisses him. RENTAL CAR . Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. The back doors are open.pg. John. she'd look at me. 212C INT. I was just there. You will not take this away. I won't go back. back on the book. pale and sweaty. 212D INT. Adapting. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel.NIGHT Kaufman drives.
. (dials phone) Yeah. but we should introduce this to the general public. if I do say.. 214 INT. Make a shitload of change.. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van.. is why. ORLEAN So. it ain't controlled. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. hi. Orlean lies on the grass outside..DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids. A Laroche kind of plan. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene. LAROCHE Well. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN'S OFFICE .NIGHT Orlean paces. The sun is warm on her skin. transfixed by a colony of ants. Done. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. (back to business) The cool part is. 117 212E INT. 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT..NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive. They're very shiny. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy.. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD . I need a ticket to Miami. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. all the way to the road. She types at the computer standing up. RENTAL CAR . LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. darlin'.pg. and we followed it. Suze. There are no other cars.. I like you. like a beacon.
A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. gun on him. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. searching for flashlights. getting some equipment. Kaufman does." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . We see the lovely Coke can. We call it "Passion. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. wild-eyed. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. on the floor in the back. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. blocking him in. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead. hitting her and sending her flying. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. keeping the 216 217 * * Orlean pulls herself up and drags herself over to the van as Laroche is throwing things around in the messy back. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. Laroche is in the rear of his van. SWAMP . 215 EXT. ORLEAN Come around. 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. Laroche parks behind. he sees Donald. LOGGING ROAD . trip over unseen vines.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car.pg. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. (CONTINUED) 218 * * .CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. please. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. 218 EXT.
) This really complicates things.C.C. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. I've wasted it. * LAROCHE (O. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. * Laroche and Orlean move off. And you're not gonna die. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. (CONTINUED) . Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. LAROCHE (O. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now. KAUFMAN They're going to find us. John.C.) It was a guy? Fat. I get that. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. The beams search the darkness near the brothers.) That's all I could tell. I've wasted my life. Orlean and Laroche are very close now. LAROCHE (O. DONALD You did not.C. They sit and wait in silence. ORLEAN (O. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized.) We need to split up. * * * Thanks.pg. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp. Donald.) I know. Their voices get far away.C. All right. breathing hard. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. I couldn't move. DONALD I don't think so. God. ORLEAN (O.
218 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN it. I admire you, Donald, I spend my whole life paralyzed what people think of me and you just oblivious. 218
I wasted y'know? worrying - you're
DONALD I'm not oblivious. KAUFMAN No, you don't understand. I say that as a compliment. I really do. (beat) There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh. DONALD Oh, God. I was so in love with her. KAUFMAN I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was really sweet to you. DONALD I remember that. KAUFMAN Then when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. It was like they were laughing at me. You didn't know at all. You seemed so happy. I knew. DONALD I heard them. * * *
KAUFMAN How come you looked so happy? DONALD I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. can love whoever I want. KAUFMAN She thought you were pathetic. DONALD That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago. (CONTINUED)
218 CONTINUED: (3) Kaufman and Donald sit there for a long while in silence. Kaufman starts to cry softly. What's up? Thank you. For what? DONALD (cont'd) KAUFMAN DONALD 218
Slogging sounds. Orlean and Laroche are getting close again. Flashlight beams miss Kaufman and Donald by inches. ORLEAN (O.C.) We looked here already. No. LAROCHE (O.C.)
ORLEAN (O.C.) I recognize this tree. LAROCHE (O.C.) Suzy, I know every tree in here. ORLEAN (O.C.) I'm thinking this is a bad idea, John. On Orlean and Laroche. LAROCHE What do you mean? ORLEAN It was the Pash. My head is clearing now and suddenly this whole idea seems completely fucked up. LAROCHE Well, y'know, I said that. I said this was crazy. I tried to reason with -I know. ORLEAN I'm sorry. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED)
LAROCHE Yeah, anyway, what do we do now? ORLEAN Maybe we talk to the guy. killing people. We can't go
218 CONTINUED: (4) LAROCHE If you recall, that's what I said before. ORLEAN I made a mistake. want from me? Jesus. What do you 218 * * * * * * * * * * Donald * * * * *
Laroche shakes his head, mutters, then: LAROCHE (calling) Charlie! We're not going to hurt you. We just want to talk! On Kaufman and Donald. shakes his head "no." They look at each other.
ORLEAN We're really sorry!
It's just that...
The flashlights shine elsewhere and the voices go far away. DISSOLVE TO: 219 EXT. SWAMP - EARLY MORNING 219
The light is gray, pre-dawn, murky. Donald and Kaufman are asleep. Donald awakens, looks around. The rental car is still there, but there's no van. Donald nudges Kaufman. He wakes, looks at Donald, who indicates the missing van. They gone? KAUFMAN
DONALD I don't know. Maybe. They quietly slog toward the road. There's no sign of Laroche or Orlean. Donald looks back and smiles at Kaufman. They're getting out of here. Kaufman feels a new, profound affection for his brother. He pats Donald on the back. It's an awkward tap, something never attempted before. Donald gives a cheerful thumbs-up without looking back. They arrive at the car. Donald is heading around to the passenger side and stops dead in his tracks. Kaufman looks over to see what's caught Donald's eye: there, sitting propped against a tree, sleeps Laroche, his rifle on the ground next to him. Kaufman and Donald are momentarily frozen. Then: ORLEAN (O.S.) (in the distance) John! (CONTINUED)
123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. Donald flies through the windshield. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. a ranger truck comes barreling. To everyone's surprise it fires.S. doesn't know what to do. Laroche approaches the car. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital. Then. spaced on pash. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. Kaufman finds the keys. RENTAL CAR . starts the car. Kaufman gets in behind him. John! ORLEAN (O. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. Donald yelps. Give me some of that shit. the front of his body a bloody mess.pg. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. looks nice. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. 220 INT. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. from around a curve. (CONTINUED) * * . 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. Donald is hit in the arm. They pass Orlean next to the van. The driver's side airbag deploys.
it's gonna be okay. Donald is dead. Logging road twelve. is confused. fascinated. The three stare at each other. He angles in to cut him off. Orlean's eyes well with tears. sees the two Kaufmans. It's only right.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. To think about the one you love. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. He slumps to the ground. I do. approaching from down the road.B. Kaufman must be next. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. she looks horrified. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head.. 221 EXT. MIKE OWEN We need help here. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. KAUFMAN Donald. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. Kaufman stares at the body. running from two different directions. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. Just don't go to sleep. You're gonna be okay. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. Alligators swim in it. SWAMP .pg. There's nowhere to go. Donald's eyes close. She follows. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. at the body of Donald. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. sees Kaufman running into the woods. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. Kaufman starts to sing. but fading fast. Her mouth is open. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. Bad car accident. He bolts into the swamp. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. who is conscious. (CONTINUED) . Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald.. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C. She can't look down at Owen. Orlean and Laroche arrive. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. A battered-looking. heave. stop.
His rifle fires at nothing. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. The sun is rising. Orlean looks at his body. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. Orlean collapses into a heap. maybe. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. I did everything wrong. dude. I want my life back. that helps other people feel not so lonely. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . suddenly feeling so much for this person.pg. Let me be a baby again. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. stunned. desperate. Laroche is dead. Orlean screams. I want to be new. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. old. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . KAUFMAN No. Everything is a lie. KAUFMAN Your writing. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. It helped me. I'm not a killer. I want to be new. Kaufman watches. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. Everything's over.An alligator: it awakens. sobbing. shooting crazily until it's dead. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. I think it can touch people. She glows. startled and angry. I want it back before it got all fucked up. then looks to Kaufman. drops her gun. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. Kaufman watches.
There's a silence. * * MOTHER I worry about you. they meet in the middle and hug. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. I just wanted. I think. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. a coffee table. Make it really comfortable in here. Charles. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that.pg. That's a good thing. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. both crying.DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes. I just wanted. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT.. Wordlessly. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. mom. KAUFMAN I know. Yeah. MOTHER You should get some furniture. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. I'm going to get a couch. Susan.. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. some overstuffed chairs. They look at each other from across the room. * (CONTINUED) . I just didn't want to die living the life I was living. That's all.
I'm just stupid. Thanks. MARGARET'S OFFICE. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. I'm almost done! Great! ready. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . He meets her gaze. KAUFMAN That sounds good. but -I don't know. hugs him. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain. really. * She look compassionately into his face. (deep breath.pg. I understand. KAUFMAN Thank you. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. I came by for a reason. 225 INT. They sit. Margaret. KAUFMAN Knock knock. Margaret looks up. 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. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door.
Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. Margaret. Hey. Kaufman rolls down his window. say. being honest. in the parking garage. embarrassed) So. Kaufman smiles. I mean. Okay then. MARGARET Wow. waits in line with his validated ticket. Wow. Margaret appears in front of his car.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. That's really great. 226 INT. I'm not saying that at all. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . looking a little pale. I'm just saying. I'm glad you're in the world. so he plows on. (laughing. I'm glad I know you is all.um. MARGARET That sounds good. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. CAR . anyway.pg. I can love you. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. I don't have to get anything back. I'll send you the script when it's done. thanks for being in the world. Stupid job. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. gets up. nervously kisses him. Hey. Charlie. can't. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . y'know. thanks for telling me.
both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. and hops in the passenger side. Hurt each other. They drive off. FADE TO BLACK. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell." . The way fish can't see the ocean. 'Cept we can't see the body. both staring ahead. hooky before. And so we envy each other. that sounds good. Like cells in a body. runs around the front of the car. Lieutenant.pg. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. That's what I've come to realize. Hate each other.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um.