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