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