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