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