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