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