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