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