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