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