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