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