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