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