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