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