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