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