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