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