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