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