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