This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
Mosquitoes land on his neck. in the swamp. If there are Indians in the swamp. Tony waits for a response. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.O. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth. We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty. a ranger. Tony clears his throat into the radio.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. pale-eyed. 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. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. delicate and blond. 8 INT. Nothing. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp. Indians in the swamp. TONY We got Seminoles. He pulls over down the road.pg. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. It's Susan Orlean: pale. OFFICE .CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. his lips. Nothing. RANGER'S TRUCK . gets out of the truck.S.. they are in there for a reason. whispers into his C. and come to rest on a woman typing. his nose.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat.. 7 INT. No response. Indians do not go on swamp walks. skinny as a stick. Tony glowers. ORLEAN (V. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford.B. watches the vehicles through binoculars. TONY Barry. He straightens his cap. .MID-MORNING Tony.
Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . 4 9 INT. We are.. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. She thinks I'm old. Thank you. She looks up at him. sits with Valerie. her breasts. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. Uncomfortable silence. looks down. He quickly swabs. wow.pg. L. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. Kaufman sees her watching it.. I appreciate that. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. She sees him seeing her watching it. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. They pick at salads. That's nice to hear. She thinks I'm fat. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. thanks.MIDDAY Kaufman. Valerie watches it. Boy.A. He blanches. She looks at her salad. KAUFMAN Oh. it is. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. They are. (CONTINUED) . Kaufman steals glances at her lips. KAUFMAN That's. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. She -VALERIE We think you're great. it's no fun. her hair.
let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. too. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. great. I'm intrigued. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means.pg. His brow is dripping again. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of. I mean. what you're saying. flips through the book. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. and also not force it into a typical movie form. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. Plus her musings on Florida. stalling.. orchid poaching. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet.. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. great. Well. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. KAUFMAN Oh. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. pretends not to notice. Indians.. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . I think it's a great book. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover.. I like to let my work evolve. In one motion. KAUFMAN First. sprawling New Yorker stuff.. isn't he? Kaufman nods. I'd want to remain true to that. an orchid heist movie or something. That sounds interesting. So.. Like. KAUFMAN Absolutely. VALERIE Oh. VALERIE Okay. Great.
I don't want to cram in sex. 10 INT. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. Or characters learning profound life lessons.. CALIFORNIA. I feel very strongly about this. but to me -. but we can't make out the words. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . fake. Kaufman appears in the open doorway. a soulful development executive. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. It wouldn't happen.pg. unpack boxes. lots of books. Margaret. Audubon posters. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. I mean. it didn't happen. Y'know? The book isn't like that. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. Life isn't like that. Margaret turns.. or car chases. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. Definitely. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. It just isn't. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end.DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD. or guns. Valerie is quiet.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. KAUFMAN Knock knock. OFFICE .
KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. congratulate you on the promotion. such an awful picture. KAUFMAN You looked great. Take a load off. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. It's all so stupid. MARGARET Anyway. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh.. about flowers. Come in. MARGARET Oh. So what's with you? man. Pretty fancy office. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN (smiles.. sits on the couch. just wanted to say hello. Very very cool. Kaufman laughs. thanks. KAUFMAN It's great. at the closeness. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. God. Kaufman enters. with Robert? Oooh. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. covers by talking. There's one you might like.pg. Margie! MARGARET Well. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. Mostly crap. Margaret sits down next to him. nods) So.
. Cool. MARGARET You should definitely do it. somebody needs to save us all. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. sex and drug deals and violence. MARGARET I'll read it. it would be you. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled.. MARGARET I don't care. MARGARET Susan Orlean. . KAUFMAN I loved the book is all. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers.pg. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. Thanks. he's scored. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. You're all the recommendation I need. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. (presses button on phone) Andy. I dunno. Jesus. man. yelling) I don't care. (looking up. (hangs up. About orchids. And it sounds exciting. Robert. KAUFMAN I'd like to try.
miserable. Russell pulls out a hacksaw. closer. He stops. you can teach me.MORNING Hot. 12 EXT. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. SWAMP . Laroche stares at a single beautiful. Soon there are millions of them. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water.pg. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. RESTAURANT . business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. Russell. They trudge. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. A ghost. He points out a turtle on a rock. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. MURKY POOL OF WATER . Although.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. 13 (CONTINUED) . tenderly caresses the petals. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff. His eyes widen in reverent awe. closer. That I can't speak to.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. circles the tree. The Indians ignore him. maybe you fellas specifically. Laroche spots something else. Then. 13 INT. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. begins sawing through the tree. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. until we see a singlecell organism multiplying. dirty. 11 EXT.
I don't want to get by on quirkiness. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . show people heaven in a wildflower. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake.. The boy returns to his search. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. I want to think differently. PET STORE (1972) ..DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. But I'm ready to challenge myself. BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. BOY Any animal at all. anemic-looking little girl. As Blake said. This one. My stuff tends to be weird. 14 INT. KAUFMAN Yeah. ma? She nods sweetly. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond.plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. studying the inhabitants. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence. who is sitting with a frail. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . That's nice to hear. KAUFMAN Thanks. 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. at a small turtle in an aquarium. He turns to his frumpy mother. listless. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder.pg. It's like. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently.
this guy I'm seeing. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. 16 INT. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. All I do is tell him how great you are. He's a naturalist. (He takes a breath) Hey. 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. The book is just amazing. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. (CONTINUED) * * * . Margaret raises a glass. too. clicks glasses.pg. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. would enjoy it. Russell. Randy. I think David. thrilled. SWAMP . ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . Kaufman. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. He probably hates you already. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. man.MORNING As Laroche supervises. of course. Sure. I'm just so pleased you liked it. KAUFMAN God.
. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business. Y'know. MARGARET So I was lying there. okay.. A bit. The entrees arrive. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct. I'm sure you know.. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good.. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know.. 16 Oh. (to Kaufman) . KAUFMAN He sounds great.pg. MARGARET (cont'd) . Uh-huh. I mean.. He can no longer look up at Margaret. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true.. Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. long time ago. You've read that. so. a long time ago.. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel.. David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. He's just honest and smart.. MARGARET Well.. (to waiter) Thanks. right? KAUFMAN Um. anyway. KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment. MARGARET You'll like him. kind of post-coital dreamy...
18 INT. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . 20 INT. sweaty and mosquito bitten. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians.. BARNES AND NOBLE . Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. and hover. the way she looks at him. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going.. OCEAN .pg. JANES SCENIC DRIVE .DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf.O. small blind jellyfish collide. 19 EXT. but rather cyclically. She pulls down her sleeve. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm.DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER.. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. Tony tenses. ORLEAN (V. building upon itself. 17 EXT.DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH.NIGHT Orlean types. that nature doesn't exist historically. Her eyes.. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 . who haul the pillowcases. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. As she rings him up. 21 EXT. carries them to the register.MORNING Tony waits. nature. the body language. With every fiber of his being. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover. TROPICAL RIVER . her lips. The radio crackles. he studies their interaction. So whereas human history spirals forward. she expresses no interest in him. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. recoil.
DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff. Someone steps from behind a bush.O.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck.. ORLEAN (V. 22 EXT. sir.) (cont'd) . CLIFF .) (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. Laroche smiles warmly. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river.O.) Schroeder fell to his death. ORLEAN (V.. stabs him. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes.DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated.) Augustus Margary survived toothache. ORLEAN (V.O.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. you absolutely may. limping. and dysentery. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. (CONTINUED) . rheumatism. clutching a flower. 23 24 OMITTED EXT. ORLEAN (V. 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning. RIVER .O. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . ORLEAN (V. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo. pleurisy. steals his boat... docks his boat. The murderer sails down river.O.pg. 25 EXT.
(peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. This is a state preserve. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. even though he has no idea. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. James E. Every one of them. TONY Okay. sir. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. They give it. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. what. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. Billie. TONY Exactly. Tony nods. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. sir. I'm sure. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions.pg... one of. LAROCHE Yes. 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. I'm asking then. (afterthought) Oh. LAROCHE Oh. Well. nine orchid varieties. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. Okay then! Let's see. one peperomia. that's exactly the issue. Did I mention that? You're familiar. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. Florida v. it is.
they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. Chickee huts. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah. everything is always growing or expanding. Yeah. RUSSELL He's right.. Yeah. (into radio) Hey. ORLEAN (V. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT. ORLEAN (V. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds. I believe.) (cont'd) .O.. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile. I can't let you fellas go yet.O.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle.. ORLEAN (V. Orlean drives past endless swampland. At the same time. That's exactly what we use them for. which. but I don't. Barry. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks..) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. Just hold on while I..pg.O. Tony looks at the Indians. Yeah. * 26 * .. RENTAL CAR . the wilderness disappears before your eyes...
Two teenage girls walk by. KAUFMAN (V. I am repulsive. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. his identical twin brother. In a time lapse sequence. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. Orlean finishes organizing her stuff.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. then starts to weep inconsolably. 29 EXT. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence. RIVER'S EDGE .) I am fat. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. whither. my own reflection.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. die. 30 INT. continues down the hall. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed. HOTEL ROOM . you'll be glad. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely.O. EMPTY HOUSE ." The girls giggle. 17 27 INT. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE .pg. * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. and climbs the stairs.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. DONALD (cont'd) Hey. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy. Charles. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. the plants grow. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. 28 EXT. regards himself glumly. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso.
don't say "industry. enters his bedroom. DONALD Yeah. this guy knows screenwriting. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret.) In theory I agree with you. DONALD (O. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. KAUFMAN Donald. buddy. DONALD (O. I'll pay you back.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry. paper back under his pillow. But I'm doing it right this time. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes. from under his pillow. Charles.pg. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT.S. I forgot. DONALD (cont'd) Okay.S. People come from all over to study his method. (CONTINUED) * . clipped from a trade paper. He gets lost in the picture. okay. 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. EMPTY BEDROOM . please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit.
and has through all remembered time. principle says. my point is. there're no guidelines. Getting no response. you must do it this way. So. Sorry. Okay. Hey. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that.pg. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. is just -DONALD Not rules. keep going. There was a book -DONALD Oh. stares at ceiling) Okay. it's about flowers. Donald stares at the ceiling. go ahead. I never saw it. Go. not building a model airplane. Kaufman waits. There's definitely a flower in that. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. fuming. I apologize.. And a writer should always have that goal. And it's not a movie. (lies down. Sorry. KAUFMAN Look. principles. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. Donald. okay. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. this works. McKee writes: "A rule says. Okay. and anybody who says there are. Writing is a journey into the unknown. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow..
SWAMP . He puts the book down.DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. sheriff. 32A INT. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls.. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch. LIBRARY . uniformed people.. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. my friend. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window. Kaufman's head is spinning. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter.. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite. a conditional and conditioning.LATE MORNING Ranger. He says good-bye and walks happily away.. an opposited.. 32 INT. The Indians lean against their car. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 . GIRL Bye. LAROCHE . the plants lie on black plastic sheets. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry.. and what we have here. bored and smoking. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. Are you a former Fulbright scholar. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar.pg.) (CONT'D) Each being is. puffs out her cheeks. 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT.. They seem to be enjoying Donald.. The pillowcases have been emptied. Lots of sweating. because posited.O. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata. is . A guy sprinkles water on them.
A very good haul. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. Two Catopsi Floribunda. I do. Mr. the ghost orchid. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay. So. What I really came for. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. except in your swamp. (CONTINUED) . Bug spray. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. Tem-pen-sis. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. LAROCHE Yeah. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. you really know your plants.S. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful. KAUFMAN Hi. y'know. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. EMPTY KITCHEN . I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. KAUFMAN I can do that. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii.pg. Laroche. let's see. KAUFMAN Yeah. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. 35A INT.
bored. Donald lies on the floor. With Deet.O. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. Okay. EMPTY DINING ROOM . Mosquito netting. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. So a strong boot. ancient family of perennial plants with. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. heavy pants. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. Long sleeves. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. Donald. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room. buzzing. DONALD (V.. You'll be trudging through acidic. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large.pg.. Heavy. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. Kaufman. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. gray could. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find.) The most memorable. looks over at Donald. thighhigh water. something they won't easily bite through. And the water's black. so you won't be able to see the snakes.
I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch. mom's paying for the seminar.. DONALD You think you're so superior. do not multiply locations..) The Orchidaceae is a large. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world. And you'll see. 37 INT. past prefab housing. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way. 37 * * * * * . ORLEAN (V. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29. you suck. okay? The two glare at each other. space. he's Charlie's twin. and people.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think.. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah.." DONALD Sorry.. I'm really gonna write this.. maybe you and mom could collaborate. she loved my. And. Anyway. ancient family of perennial plants with. Well.pg. RENTAL CAR .. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho.. I hear she's really good with structure. and. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V.O. DONALD (V. telling of my story to her." KAUFMAN Hey. Rather than hopscotching through time...O. They go back to their books.) Do not proliferate characters.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation.O. Anyway. Charles.
Thank you. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. both in magazine and book form. Alan Lerner. KAUFMAN (V.pg. This is John Laroche. Orlean hurries in. Laroche. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. thinks.DAY The proceedings are in progress.) We open on State Road 29. (stops. LERNER Finally. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map. sits in the back. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. I have extensive experience with orchids. I'm a published author. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. types) A white van appears from around a curve. Mr. (stops. Laroche. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay. 39 INT. questions him. is on the stand. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. EMPTY BEDROOM . This is laboratory work. He turns to his typewriter. the tribe's lawyer. . COURT ROOM . and a Hawaiian shirt. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style.O. I'm a professional plant lecturer. not at all like your nursery work. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. 24 38 INT. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses.
pierced lips. sits up. man. BARNES AND NOBLE . looks up at the closed door.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. stares at the ceiling. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. DONALD (CONT'D) No. you wanna hear my pitch. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. thanks a lot.pg. (flicks on light. She catches him and smiles with red. And he's taunting the cop. wait. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. 25 40 INT. wet. See. 41 INT. there's this serial killer. in bed masturbating. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. or what? Go away. Cool. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. then in pitch mode:) Okay. KAUFMAN God damn it. he's being hunted by a cop.NIGHT Kaufman. and in the process he falls in love with her. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. right -Kaufman groans. waits. 41 DONALD Look. lies down. EMPTY BEDROOM . What?! The door opens. like the Holy Grail. I'm just trying to do something. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. She becomes. DONALD (lost) Y'know. the unattainable. like. Kaufman squints at his brother. Even though he's never even met her.
* * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom.. (CONTINUED) * . I dunno. Kaufman dresses and exits. there's no way to write this.. if there's only one character. is multiple personality. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. See.) That's not how it's pronounced.. gets out of bed. KAUFMAN (O. Okay? See..S. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay.. DONALD (calling after) Cool.pg. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. Okay? How could you. until the third act denouement... proud. that's not what I'm asking.. What exactly would the. Donald waits blankly. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut. what I'm asking is. Kaufman gives up. 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. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits. Listen closely. in the reality of this movie. Sybil meets. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder.. Dressed to Kill.. I really liked Dressed to Kill. right?. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. but there's a twist. Did you consider that? I mean. Very taut. KAUFMAN The other thing is.. he's really also the cop and the girl.
* * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here.pg. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. Lerner walks off. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. stubs his cigarette. yes. apologetic for the intrusion. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. I handled it. Laroche cracks his neck. The New Yorker. we'll deal with all this at trial. COURTHOUSE . Right? ORLEAN Right. They're all smoking intently. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. the New Yorker. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. ORLEAN Mr. LERNER Buster. smokes furiously. 42 Okay. walks away. and Buster Baxley. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. Laroche? Orlean smiles. Laroche scowls. Vinson shrugs. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. follows Buster. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. I swear to God. Vinson. for crying out loud. EXT. Orlean tries some more. 42 * 41 Oh.
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 *
We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. Orlean tries to figure a way in. Collectors covet what is not available. steers with knees as he lights another. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder." * (CONTINUED) ." Laroche looks over and smiles. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. pulls out a notebook. Laroche clams up. Orlean smiles back. And that's the ghost. sell 'em. I researched it. with a small jerk of the head. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. that he might want to watch the road. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change.pg. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it." Uh-huh. Uh-huh. yeah. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. She's writing: "skinny as a stick. As long as I don't touch the plants. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. Florida can't touch us. LAROCHE The plan was. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. He doesn't take the hint. posture of al dente spaghetti. Orlean writes. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp.
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)
that's some story. Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere. VAN . * * * ORLEAN I guess I'd like to know how you can just detach from something when you've invested so much of your soul -LAROCHE Ditched fossils for resilvering old mirrors. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. Orlean studies him for a moment. huh. Collected the shit out of 'em. we'd better get started. I lost interest right after that. They drive in silence. solemnly nodding his head. Oh. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. ORLEAN Wow. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN So. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. Perhaps you read about us. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad.pg.DAY Laroche drives. The tape recorder is on between them. her sad eyes wet and glistening.. She underlines it.. Orlean watches a flying heron. 55 INT.
I renounce fish. Different woman. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. The new girl I'm obsessed with.pg. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. * * (CONTINUED) . THERAPIST Uh-huh. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. fuck fish. 56 57 OMITTED INT. Kaufman nods.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. THERAPIST Red hair. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. Anisotremus virginicus. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. I once fell deeply. profoundly in love with tropical fish. You name it. (beat) No. not a lot a lot. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . that's how much fuck fish. Holacanthus ciliaris. Then one day I say. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. Chaetodon capistratus.
Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. Hi.. ORLEAN Susan Orlean. VINSON I can see your sadness... She's taken..DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. He gently reaches out and touches it. is how I know. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. Oy. VINSON John's not here today. He's handsome. My * * * * * * . Oh.. SEMINOLE NURSERY .. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. ORLEAN Oh. so. I'm using a new conditioner and..pg. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche.. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to.. right? I saw you at the courthouse. Anyway. Yes. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. Thank you.. His longblack hair is braided. His eyes are gentle. Orlean approaches. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired.. I washed it this morning. A few Indians are hauling plants. Hi. heart holds yours..
in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. She winks at him. She smiles warmly. It's the Indian way. muscles straining against his shirt. He touches her hand and heads back to work. reading about orchids. He tenses as she comes up to him. hair combed. I'm just a sweetie. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. watching Alice. Just like that. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. completely present. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) .pg. grows right on a tree branch. She just stands there. ain't I. He's so in love. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. I am. She watches him haul potted plants. It's not personal. 58 INT. KAUFMAN Yes. ALICE Well.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. Vinson smiles. That sounds great. sits nervously in a booth. yeah. Preferred customer. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. It cuts right through her. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. Still * Thank you. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . immersed in the activity. I hope.
that's a lot. but they're not parasites.. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. ALICE Oh. She smiles and turns to leave. Awkward pause. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. ALICE Well. still smiling. well -I'm sorry. I'm impressed. Her warmth dissipates. He beams. I'm just learning. I'm sorry. I was also wondering. um.. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. ALICE Wow. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. anyway. KAUFMAN I apologize. huh? Yeah. so.pg. KAUFMAN That's great. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. Epiphytes grow on trees. Alice turns back. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But.
O. 60 EXT.) (cont'd) . copies something from her notebook onto the computer. colors.O. He is sick with adoration for the women.. like a school teacher. one looks like an octopus. He sweats.pg. all glowing. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen. The other waitress looks over at him.. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. obligingly eats. some in garish clothing. They are dull.O. One has eyes that dance. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) . He forces himself to look. one looks like a gymnast. NEW YORKER . KAUFMAN (V..DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts. ORLEAN (V. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. ORLEAN (V.O.MORNING Orlean. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then.) .. some in subtle clothing. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. at her desk. who pay him no mind. ORLEAN (V. He nods. I am old.. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW .) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species. One looks. I have to get out of here right now. Fuck the pie. One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin. personalities. The other waitress brings his pie.. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. 59 INT. One species looks like a German shepherd. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes.. He tries to study the flowers. one looks like an onion.) I am fat..
63 INT. admiring a view. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see murder and procreation.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. The entire sequence takes two minutes. religion. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. We see Alice serving food. commerce. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. I don't need to know them at all.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. an arm slipped through an arm. The way I like them. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . We see it again and again at dizzying speed. He does it fast and unintentionally. smiling at customers. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. We see the history of architecture.O. I don't need to know what their jobs is. a shared look. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles.pg. He quickly shifts back to her face. love them madly. * 63 * * * . Those love them. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. A million women walking down the street. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. eating meat. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. war. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. We see old age and birth. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. We see man interacting with his environment: farming.
NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. fondles its petals. Kaufman paces and reads. He finds The Portable Darwin. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel. EMPTY BEDROOM . ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. fish. plastic clowns. 65 INT. Hegel. 42 64 INT. You'll see.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. Noisy chatter and calliope music. 66 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. DARWIN (V. Look at me. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin. BOOK-LINED STUDY .pg. mirror resilvering. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. Uh-huh. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. into which life was first breathed. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. it takes over your life.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. ORLEAN I don't know. etc. SHOW HALL . I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower.O. It's all I think about. 66 . LAROCHE Once you get the sickness. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you.
Neither understands the significance of this interaction. Silence. this passion. EMPTY BEDROOM .pg. It finds an orchid which it resembles. 43 67 INT.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means.NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. Then. LAROCHE (V. All is silent.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. thinking. the world lives. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. Think about it..O. KAUFMAN We start before life. by the way -. And this attraction. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal. MEADOW . (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . 67 * 68 68 EXT.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. Suddenly. sure enough. SHOW HALL . But because of it. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. Crowds.DAY Blasting music.. is so much larger than either of them. 69 EXT. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. The flower insists.O. like a lover. This isn't a pissing contest. Everyone thought he was a loon. LAROCHE (V.proboscis means nose.
APARTMENT . 70 INT. (CONTINUED) . In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. One of those trailer guys. stare deep into nectaries. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. covered in pollen. FEMALE GUEST Oh.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple.O. carry boxes of plants. flies away. HUSBAND He's a great character.orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. carries it off. not too educated. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT.) (cont'd) The insect. No front teeth. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -.pg. buzzing around flowers. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. You have to. Orlean nods. Orlean looks at Laroche. She is detached here as well. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. jabber passionately. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. Right. You're supposed to.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. covered with pollen. Once you learn anything about orchids. It's unexpected. that's a great detail. SHOW HALL .
As the words appear on her screen.. which she loves.pg. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background.O.O. 74 INT.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants.O. 72 INT.. BATHROOM . He's a sweaty mess. but his voice goes under. who get obsessed with these.. but it isn't part of my constitution. ORLEAN (V. They smile at each other. Susie gets to do a natural history thing.. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. ORLEAN (V. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking.O. NEW YORKER OFFICES . Orlean cries and types..) . HUSBAND (O. 73 INT. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking. we hear them in voice-over.. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) .EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. ORLEAN (V.S. but there's a terrible distance between them.) What is it about people who collect. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM .
This is amazing! The taped voice continues. into the night. No response from Kaufman. Charles. He rewinds the recorder. Yearning.. so we must find our originality within that genre. Then. evolved. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. too.pg. after the history of life on the planet. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. farming. hunting. And the movie begins. heaving with excitement. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . It breaks every rule. All is silent. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. in the last seconds of the montage. He's all for originality. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. religion.. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. See. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. Donald waits for a response." As he listens. You'd love him. lust. just like you! But he says. This has never been attempted in a movie before. then. we have to realize we all write in a genre. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. presses "play. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. adapted. war.
we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. LAROCHE (V. NURSERY . One guy pulls Laroche aside. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. We opened a nursery. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. to ask me stuff. Through an open door. CUSTOMER #1 John. 47 76 INT.) I got married. to admire me. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . John. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. sits sadly for a moment.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. too. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.O. ORLEAN'S STUDY .pg. to admire my plants. She was beautiful. Say.) People started coming out of the woodwork. Laura was such a class act. LAROCHE (V. browse. my wife. From Peru. then types.O.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. stare into space. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John.
After a long silence. his full head of hair. keeps walking.pg. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. They just move on to what's next. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. 88 INT. ORLEAN Well. People can't sometimes. Marty smiles at him. 89 INT. For a person. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. Kaufman looks at Marty. AGENT'S OFFICE . maybe I can help. It's like running away. She waves back.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. it's easier for plants. (CONTINUED) . I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. VAN . Orlean looks out at the dark night. it's almost shameful to adapt.NIGHT Laroche drives. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. they have no memory. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. Adaptation is a profound process. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. Orlean looks at him. Hey. I should've just stuck with my own stuff.
I have a responsibility. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit.. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. It's someone else's material. MARTY Look.pg. The book has no story.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . Oh man. I can't structure this. MARTY Make one up. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass." Blah blah blah. do something profound and simple... 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers. "No narrative really unites these passages. He's funny. Show people how amazing flowers are. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. Anyway. The book's a jumping off point.. (uncertain) I think they are. I wanted to grow as a writer. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. You're the king. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book.
(CONTINUED) . MARTY Charlie. 89A INT. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER . He lies there. talks to reporters. After a few moments. I think it would be a terrible career move. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche.) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. The judge is a moron. ejaculates. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche.pg.DAY A crowd of people. alone in bed.. COURTHOUSE . at his car.. at the end of the day. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. He reads the page.DAY Kaufman. smoking and ranting at Orlean. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. Buster. 89B EXT. KAUFMAN (V. EMPTY BEDROOM . LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified.O. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience. Reporters talk to video cameras.
So that's what we got 'em on. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. He's funny. 89C INT. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. especially Laroche. he says. goddamned Indians. Indians. They were nailed on a technicality. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. flowers. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. what with the protection the Native Americans have. Orlean. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. She sips iced tea. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. It was all so maddening. Okay. Nobody's allowed to take those. ORLEAN Hence the branches. The rapid fire click-click of typing. I love to mutate plants. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly.pg.) Okay. the trial. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. Please don't put in I said. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. who I found so maddening. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. A park official is being interviewed. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. we open with Laroche. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped.O. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . RESTAURANT .DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. KAUFMAN (V. not even the goddamned Indians.
I'm just hanging out.O.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. David's out of town.. he says. ORLEAN (V. okay -91 INT. I was mutated as baby.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. 92 93 OMITTED INT.O. They had to confront what a dark.no. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. that's why I'm so smart. papers coffee cups. ORLEAN Ah.. John. (CONTINUED) .. Enthusiastic off-screen typing.. Okay we open at the beginning of time.. we have the court case. We show Laroche. reads. I don't mean to bother you. Just thought I could get some more info. He peers through the darkness at the books. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. Okay. Orlean is silent for a moment. He picks up The Orchid Thief.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. ORLEAN Oh. we show flowers. How about you? Nothing. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. overabundant place might have hidden in it. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .pg. dense... opens it.that's funny.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. okay. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp. EMPTY BEDROOM .
UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. Laroche smiles back at his mother.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. (CONTINUED) 95 * . 94 INT. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. This last year's been a dream. His father watches TV. Buddha. LAROCHE'S CAR . what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. and uncle out of the house. his mother and uncle in back. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . ORLEAN So. his wife in front. Orlean starts to tear up. I'm telling you. Vishnu. Praise Allah. mother. MOTHER Amen. but sometimes bad things happen. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. dad? His father doesn't respond. Laroche pulls into traffic. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. Uncle Jim. his front teeth fly in all directions.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come.pg. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . honey. tell me. LAROCHE It was going well. then gets professional to cover. And all the rest of 'em. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. 95 INT. We're finally pulling out of debt. Darkness descends.
Laroche. adding insult to injury. STREET .DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. LAROCHE'S STOOP . LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. on the cordless phone. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. No one can judge you if you almost died. too.DAY Laroche. in his mourning suit. She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. 98B EXT.pg. I think I'd leave my marriage. jerking her forward and landing on top of her. And then. wood. She regains control and flips it down to talk.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. stares out at the street where the accident took place. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. and the green pulp that was once plant life. 98 EXT. sits by his comatose wife. (CONTINUED) . CEMETERY . 97 INT. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. It's like a free pass. 98A INT. ORLEAN If I almost died. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. HOSPITAL ROOM . 96 EXT.
) Everything. There's no story. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. Oh. Margaret. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. I can't figure out how to make it work. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . PARTY HOUSE . I know. MARGARET (cont'd) So. 98C INT. She runs over and hugs him. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. You don't call me no more. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. sit. He tries to duck but she spots him. sit. an expert. She's drunk. I was gonna give them something amazing. MARGARET (beat) Well. 99 INT. I don't know. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. MARGARET You hate me. I'm full of shit. Hey. I understand. I took the job. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi.pg.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. beer in hand. John. to get their nursery going.O.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. how's the script. I wanted to do something amazing. (CONTINUED) . sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah.
Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. (to Kaufman) Charlie.pg. DAVID No? I was fascinated. Oh. Hey.. Kaufman and David shake hands. Charlie. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. MARGARET Hey you. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. Cool.. Marg.. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. Davey. but. KAUFMAN That'd be great. It is a challenging one. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well. (CONTINUED) . so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. this is my friend David. Boy. God bless you for trying. Man.. MARGARET No. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. wow. story. A young man approaches. we should head. Hey. I'll get Marg to send it to you.
I'd like you to take me. 100 INT. dangerous. Donald. Hey. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. man. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. You're the best. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. put that in the article! 101 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . 102 INT.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. 'Course. She kisses his ear. but if it doesn't. 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." Orlean closes the book. Goddamn crucified me. I'm banned.pg. NEW YORKER OFFICE . Hey. I don't know if it'll kill me. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. She dials the phone. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. but. hand on Margaret's ass. as dense as steel wool. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. And you are amazing. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. hey. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * .CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. Yeah. sits there. I'll have something honest to give the world.
counted fifty and stopped. I'm so glad to be home.O.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. God. STUDIO APARTMENT . 104B INT. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart.pg.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. impracticable.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. sweetie.O. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V. Full of monstrous alligators. Hey. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. alligators. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . SWAMP . ORLEAN (V. So. 105 INT.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. I'm putting a song in. try to think of a song about multiple personality. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT. DONALD Charles." Donald looks up from his work. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension. AIRPLANE .DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. 104A EXT. AIRPLANE .
Five to six thousand years old.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. She regards Kaufman blankly. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. He takes notes. She sighs contentedly. RENTAL CAR .pg. AIRPLANE . which is completely dry. The stewardess slips out of her blazer.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. probably in the world. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. stands.) 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. and exits the bathroom. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. pulls up his pants.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. takes his seat. He tenses. 107 INT. 106 INT. Five or six.. He heads up the aisle.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. One of the stewardesses laughs. Kaufman. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . About that. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . Okay. SWAMP . slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing.O. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. unbuttons her blouse. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. then goes back to her conversation. ORLEAN (V. adjusts himself.. I've waited all day to feel you inside me.
Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp.NIGHT Orlean types. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger. across the room reading a book. again. She glances at her husband. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. holds a phone to her ear.pg.O. 120 INT. five. or nineteen.O. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. It's about twenty miles long. So..) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. HOTEL ROOM . why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. ORLEAN (V. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. KAUFMAN Um. She sighs.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. We've been going through a bit of a drought. nineteen.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. it's twenty miles long. black water. I called Laroche. Good for us today. And I had this thought. 120 . It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. MIKE OWEN Well. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. there's usually water. continues typing. three to five miles wide. There were snakes and alligators.. nineteen to twenty. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . It was sweltering. ORLEAN (V. four and a half. and right here it's about five miles wide.
Really unique. Laroche is such a fun character.O. He hi-lites the passage... 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT. Thank you. ORLEAN Well.NIGHT Orlean. VALERIE It's funny and fresh.. 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. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT. (CONTINUED) .pg.. ORLEAN Thanks very much. 124 INT. ORLEAN Yeah. He finds himself lost in it. KAUFMAN (V. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me. HOTEL ROOM . Thank you.C. PLANE .MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd.) Beautifully written. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ".clears throat) Jesus Christ.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. * VALERIE We're big fans. is on the phone. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me. RESTAURANT . then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean.'" VALERIE (O. fleeting and out of reach. thanks. John's a character all right.) . LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved. dirty from the swamp. And sad in a way.
wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. Orlean is charmed. more orchids. These things mostly never get made. So I'll be doing that. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. what's next? ORLEAN Oh.DAY 128 * * * EXT. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. Orlean holds on. ORLEAN More John. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . but seems to be enjoying herself now. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. VAN . 127 INT. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. (CONTINUED) . VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. we'd really like to option this. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. Florida Seminole reservation.pg.DAY 127 * * Laroche. the nursery lot. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. um. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood.
Before Orlean can respond. 129 INT. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. He waits. yes! Yeah. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery.pg. Now it's "Crazy White Man. John. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. Buster. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. looks at some papers on his desk. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. I'll study the shit out of acting. I'll take acting classes. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . Orlean moves the junk over. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly." That's a good title for the movie. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. Back! (hangs up) Hey. shares the seat with it. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door. TRAILER . While you write.
we're not closing shop. Buster. turn 'em into big ones. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. humiliated in front of her. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. But I got it fixed. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. Orlean holds on. Laroche stops short. Simple plant multiplication for the masses.I got lot's of ideas. Her heart is breaking for him. Buy little ones.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. ORLEAN I'll wait outside. BUSTER No kidding..pg. So if it's a question of productivity -. sell 'em at a profit. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. BUSTER John. There are tears welling in her eyes. so all the dead shrubs. No. The sprinklers were busted for a while. what she can to make herself invisible.. BUSTER Listen. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. He glances over at Orlean. I'm really excited about. the guys on my crew here. all they do is smoke weed all day. Buster stares back. I been meaning to talk to you about that. VAN . Laroche looks back at Buster. It's fixed. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .
crazy white man.) ORLEAN . it's Susan. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence.C. LAROCHE (O. We don't see Laroche at all. and anonymous. empty. Oooh..pg. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. * .) I'm no longer interested in orchids. Crazy. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. PHONE BOOTH . Don't just abandon me down here. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. The room looks sad. Look. Susan who? LAROCHE (O. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. And I ain't going to quit. LAROCHE (O.. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn. If they fire me. They can't fire me.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. Orlean dials the phone. I'll sue. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John... 131 132 OMITTED INT.C.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. I already did some legal research on this. There is nothing on the walls. I'm pursuing other avenues.C. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. It rings for a long time. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM .
And I thought. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. (CONTINUED) . a NOW button.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue.pg. on the floor are records and books. She is bored and distracted. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. At one point. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. OHIO. She flips through her address book. a tampax box. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. Susan. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. attends orchid shows. 66 134 INT. Orlean stands there for a moment. infant eyes. ORLEAN Goddamnit. how perfect. so present. HOTEL ROOM . her journalist persona on. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. TEENAGE GIRL (V. She is so pure. GIRL'S BEDROOM . it's starting already. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. On the dresser. make-up. 137A INT. so beautiful. Then I cried. but it's a teenager's room now. A blonde. lies on her bed and writes in her journal.O. Laroche hangs up. On the walls are posters of Dylan.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. PHONE BOOTH . Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. There is no one to call. visits nurseries. sits in lecture halls.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. lonely and lost. I couldn't stop. skinny teenage girl in embroidered.
ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. Let me call you in the morning. VINSON I don't know. After a long beat she dials the phone. I'll speak to you in the morning. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. ORLEAN Um..pg. it might be late. She sips a glass of champagne. um. The phone rings. So. her trembly fingers.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. what was it like for you. large the scope was and. Okay. He saunters over and sits. I was just fascinated with this story and. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. HOTEL BAR . I'm glad you reconsidered talking. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. y'know. Work good? Good. dolled-up. how. VINSON Sure thing. Hey. ORLEAN Yeah.No. Um. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. hon.. okay.LATER 137B Orlean. all the Native American aspects and. eyes herself in the mirror. plays with her hair. 137B INT. thanks for coming.. This should be really helpful.. anxiously gets ready to go out.. It must've been crazy! Boy. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. She waves. honey. y'know. She picks up. Yeah. Vinson enters. HOTEL ROOM . There's Vinson's phone number. 137C INT. Yeah. There's a silence. okay. Not really. After a few moments.. Uh-huh.
Donald. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. ORLEAN Oh. typing furiously at his desk.pg. look. I apologize. for me. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back.. I just wanted to get some.. Native American. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. Y'know. do you want to get laid or not. Orlean is at a loss. we can talk here. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. No. I just -. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. so I thought it would be helpful. EMPTY HOUSE . No. Gosh. Um. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . um. DONALD Hey. fuck.. he seems bored and impatient.. no. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. She finishes her drink. I think we can -.. ORLEAN (cont'd) .this seems fine. 138 139 OMITTED INT.Did I -communicate something? No. if -Ah. ORLEAN Oh.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. looks up. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. She's shaking. Vinson is different than the last time she met him.. um. DONALD How was Florida. here. Orlean just sits there. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen... He barely looks at her.
Donald breaks the tension. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. did exactly that.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. I've posted one over both our work areas.pg. smiles. EMPTY BEDROOM . one of the greatest screenplays ever written. DONALD Cool. EMPTY BEDROOM . then:) Oh. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. but Bob says Casablanca. sweating. (types. I got a song! "Happy Together. it's just good writing technique. Good night. Mixed genres. Okay. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. 140 INT." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. They look at each other. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. It's 3:32. Kaufman disappears upstairs. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . Donald. 141 142 OMITTED INT. his eyes darting back and forth.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. He looks over at the clock. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. DONALD No. slept in a week. (lies down on floor) Hey.
flips through it. He looks at the still smiling photo. She smiles at him throughout. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. The photo smiles warmly at him. smiling author photo. Kaufman studies her delicate. begins to jerk off. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. Whittle it down. Donald is no longer in the room. Focus on one thing in the story.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. It talks. You've written a beautiful book. sad insights. too many directions to go. too. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. He reads one. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. Kaufman flips to the glowing.pg.O. They finish. heaving. He's in love. I'm losing my hair. You're not. melancholy face. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. Kaufman switches on a lamp. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. Its smile broadens. making love. Kaufman closes his eyes. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. (CONTINUED) . 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. So true. KAUFMAN (V. It seems somehow sleepy now. He stares at the photo. Charlie. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. I can't sleep. 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.
We hear her voice-over. It's like a * CAROLINE God. I'm good. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. The killer flees on horseback with the girl. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . CAROLINE Really. sees Caroline with Donald. haunted by loneliness.. skinny as a stick. this morning. delicate. beautiful. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. smiles. KITCHEN .MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. in his underwear.. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy. enters with Caroline. too.pg." Donald.. Morning. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. typing at her desk. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. really good ones. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. Hey. hey. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. fragile.. 143 INT.
Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. right? DONALD Hey. NOW button. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband.pg. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. that's the big pay-off. STREET .A. peasant blouse. She thinks.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. why am I here? She thinks. EMPTY BEDROOM . He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. Thanks. women snicker. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . L. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. distraught. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. who is this man? She thinks. DONALD Thanks. Bergman's Persona.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street.O. At him? 150 INT.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. man. KAUFMAN (V. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . Like technology versus horses." 149 EXT. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. it sounds exciting.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him.
Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. Her drunken mother enters. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . The phone rings. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. I love that. It now looks warm and inviting. It's intimate. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. sits on young Susan's bed and cries. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. She kisses him on the cheek. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. 73 151 INT. KITCHEN .DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. 152 153 INT. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. her mother's disappointment at life. Kaufman is immensely pleased. get to merge our thoughts. He smiles at Orlean's photo. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. 151 * * * * 152 INT. We see the loneliness of her childhood. and how it forever scars the little girl. ORLEAN Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. like a marriage. EMPTY BEDROOM . I'm finding you.pg. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) .
or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. So. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. I'll let her know. well. for me it's distracting to. uh-huh. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. Okay. Tell her I said that. KAUFMAN I think really good now. All color drains from Kaufman's face. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair.. Great. y'know.... VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. It's Valerie. Charlie. As she sees fit. Say I think she's a great writer.. How's everything going? Good.pg. Just bugging you again... Good. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. KAUFMAN Um.. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . before I finish. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date.
sips coffee and skims a magazine. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. Caroline. She thinks. Kaufman storms in. mocking the seriousness of what I do.pg. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Charlie. on the floor.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. doubles over. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean. It's still smiling. EMPTY BEDROOM . you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. It's not glowing. Just keep us posted. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall.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. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up.O.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. She looks through him. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . KAUFMAN Nice talking to you. 155 INT. He smiles.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. Maybe it's even smirking. She glances over in his direction. Okay.) She thinks I'm repulsive. KAUFMAN (V. holding his stomach. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. I'm completely selfinvolved. Kaufman paces frantically. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out.O. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. EMERGENCY ROOM . 156 INT. but not at him. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. KAUFMAN (V. 154 INT. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder.
NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. I am fat. And I was hoping. His voice-over carpets the scene. I'll take you in. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . yeah." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. bald. I know. HOTEL ROOM . but I still haven't seen a ghost. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment. old.) Movie opens. naked women adorn the walls. "I am old. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So.O. fat. look. how's it going? 161A INT. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. paces. It's fascinating.pg. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. I'm doing pornography. Oh. John! . Charlie Kaufman.
DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. anyway. DONALD I don't know what that means. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. ridiculous. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. Also. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. Because at the end when he forces the woman. repugnant. (CONTINUED) * * * . DONALD I finished my script. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros.pg. 77 162 INT. I changed it a little. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. I wanted to thank you for your idea. The cassette player plays. But. It was very helpful. DONALD I don't think so. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. It's. EMPTY BEDROOM . doesn't say anything.NIGHT Kaufman types. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. like. to eat herself. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. he's also eating himself to death. who's really him. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. Donald appears in the doorway with a script.
It's solipsistic. 163 164 OMITTED INT. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. I'm fat and pathetic. he lazily corrects it. I'll meet her. paying little attention to the road. It's pathetic. It's narcissistic. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. I'm pathetic. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. Oh. That's what I have to do. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. DONALD That's kinda weird. It's eating itself. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. I'm Ourobouros. Charles. CAR . That's it. The car veers onto the shoulder. Charles. Orlean is tense. You're an artist. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. Because I have no idea how to write. I'm eating myself. Because I'm pathetic. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay.pg. Because I suck. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. DONALD Hey. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . DONALD I don't know what that word means. It looks hot. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel.
SWAMP . I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. the hopeful journey through darkness into light. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. ORLEAN (V. John. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. something to pursue. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii. Frogs croak. Encyclia tempensis. desolate. LAROCHE Here we go.most for something exceptional. Something big runs by in the distance. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. Things slither past in the water. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . if you keep searching for something past doubt. Laroche lights a cigarette. even at their peril. The ground is soft. there it'll be.pg. 164A EXT.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. I wanted to turn back. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. But my mom said. Birds screech.) He made it sound like a Bible story. and dragonflies hover. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. rather than abide an ordinary life. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. I never thought many people in the world were like John. (CONTINUED) . through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. sun blasted. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. not an aberration -. We walked for hours. They sink to their knees. Bees. walks along.DAY Kaufman. Laroche points to a yellow flower. y'know. past hopelessness. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. sweaty and anxious.O. So we walked. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT. They drive in silence for a little while. We couldn't find one.
frizzed hair. But I'm no snob.pg. The doors open. 169 170 OMITTED INT. Orlean is a sweaty mess. NEW YORK CITY STREET .DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid. people get off and on. I'm interested in all orchids. That's an ugly-ass orchid. 171 EXT.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. The elevator continues up. Uh-huh. Kaufman hates himself. Kaufman is panicked. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. 172 Kaufman follows her. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. dirty. 172 171 * * EXT. SWAMP . Kaufman sweats. Not just pretty ones. isn't it? Orlean examines it. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum.DAY Orlean walks along. studies the back of her head. Nobody gets off or on. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. The doors close. Just follow me. Kaufman hesitates. I found you two already. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. It stops a few times. presses "lobby". 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. Orlean gets out. The elevator arrives at the lobby. Orlean laughs appreciatively. anxious. You know that. Kaufman sweats. scraped. and faces front. This time Orlean gets on. ELEVATOR . The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. Orlean looks at him blankly. I'll show you every orchid you want today. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. .
ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. Kaufman sits a few tables away.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * .) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined.) Reads Vanity Fair.O. KAUFMAN (V. Thanks. Good character details. SWAMP .DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself. 81 173 INT. stop. swings them wildly. LAROCHE We're not lost. hysterical.pg. He scribbles in his notebook.NOON Orlean follows Laroche. She watches him start off in one direction. tries to tear them. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. The waitress nods and leaves. HOTEL ROOM . Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. RESTAURANT . ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. KAUFMAN (V. KAUFMAN (V. Interesting! 174 EXT. drinks iced tea. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean.O. then go in another direction.O. yanks the sheets from the bed. He's frustrated. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. 175 INT.) (cont'd) Likes tuna. KAUFMAN (V. He paces. reading Vanity Fair.O.
pg. bends to pick up the broken glass. edgy thriller. KAUFMAN Marty. Um. I mean. I have an appointment. KAUFMAN I gotta go. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. Good. Two fucking talented guys in one family. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. Y'know. KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. it's Marty. (CONTINUED) . Oh. He answers it. heaves. It's been okay. don't say that. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. still holding the glass. The phone rings. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. buddy. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. Best script I've read this year. fair enough. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing.
it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. her fists clench into balls. He won't look at her. stares at it. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. He looks up at her.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. It is so. knocks over the twig. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. amigo. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. (CONTINUED) . He stretches his legs. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. I'll just set this up. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. he puts the twig back. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. wait a few minutes. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. She looks at Laroche.pg. Laroche looks down at it. sees her staring at him. This relaxes Laroche. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. comes up with a straight twig. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. Orlean takes a cracker. He pokes around on the ground for something. SWAMP . Without looking at Orlean. LAROCHE Well. Rage and panic sweep across her face. She stares at him. We want to be heading southeast.
a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. Orlean is stony. bald man on the street.pg. 177 178 OMITTED EXT. 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.O. look. He eyes other sad-looking. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. I just say to myself. LAROCHE I've done this a million times.) I am fat. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. I mean. 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. Out of here. Whenever everything's killing me.MORNING Kaufman wanders. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. I am just one more old. KAUFMAN (V. fat. fuck the sundial. overweight men wandering the streets also. I am old. They rise. SWAMP . I am repulsive. There's a sadness. screw it. balding. . We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. we have to get out as long as we walk straight.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. and go straight ahead. 179 EXT. logically. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . Laroche seems unaware. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. can't write. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche.
LOBBY .O. and always the imperative is too tell a story.) I am pathetic. * * MCKEE So. First. I am worthless. a mic clipped to his lapel. The audience laughs. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. KAUFMAN (V. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. I am a loser... walks toward it. I am fat. NYC STREET .pg. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. except for Kaufman who looks pained. I have sold out. I.O.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. Kaufman waits in line. 85 180 EXT.. last. 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.) I have failed. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. KAUFMAN (V.. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. glowing in the sun. (CONTINUED) * . AUDITORIUM . they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. 182 INT.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. I am panicked. I am fat.
.pg.) It is my weakness. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. McKee seems to watching him. Well. the result is decadence." writes the guy on the other side. "Flaccid. startled. (CONTINUED) . Aristotle said. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing.. Kaufman looks up. just look around you." writes the guy on one side of him. Kaufman sweats. KAUFMAN (V. sloppy writing. Rules to short-cut yourself to success.O. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. "Any idiot. I should leave here right now. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. (deadpan) Well. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid.. The audience members take copious notes. AUDITORIUM . And here I am.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. my friends.. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. when storytelling goes bad in a society. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. 183 INT. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. Easy answers.. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here..
There's not a person in this world -. AUDITORIUM . Real people are not interesting. His face is troubled. Look at the second hand on your watch as it makes one complete rotation around the clock face and you'll get an idea of how intolerable that would be for an audience. NYC STREET . wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT. There is no sound. The Greeks called it stykomythia -.who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character.the rapid exchange of ideas. McKee. And that's an important point.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. 185 186 OMITTED INT. Now Kaufman takes serious notes.pg. 184 EXT. one hour for lunch.and I include myself in this -. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is. energetic as ever. AUDITORIUM . say a page long. Kaufman wanders by himself. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid. A long speech in a script.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. We are not recreating life on the screen. Writers are not tape recorders.LATER 185 186 * It's late. holding a cup of coffee. but still attentive. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. The audience is tired. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute.
with dark circles under his eyes.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. Aristotle rises to stretch.MORNING Kaufman. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. Remember. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. Out of nowhere. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. AUDITORIUM . 188 INT. sips his coffee. giggles a little. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. 190 INT. sits in the back.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. Kaufman. Kaufman can't get out of the way. HOTEL . 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. bleary-eyed. He walks around the table. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. It's silent and tense. they don't have any epiphanies. That's it for tonight. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces.pg. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . then. He turns. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . where people don't change. collapsing it. A violent fight ensues. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover.
89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. okay. thanks. (CONTINUED) . my friend. 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.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. A shaky. 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. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. leaning against the building. Nice to see you. McKee emerges. right. Mr. NYC STREET . MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. 191 EXT.pg. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. Kaufman waits. tired Kaufman approaches him. then you. MCKEE Oh. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. you'll bore your audience to tears. carrying his brown leather bag.
.pg. ORLEAN (V. KAUFMAN . Please. McKee. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. we could see the gleam of a fender.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left.. KAUFMAN Mr. ORLEAN (V.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. my even standing here is very scary. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk. all the way to the road. and there. MCKEE I'm sorry.O. McKee hesitates for a moment. MCKEE I could use a drink. SWAMP ..O.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose. There's a pause. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. my friend. looking only straight ahead. 193 INT. Kaufman closes the book.. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. BAR . I don't meet people well. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . ORLEAN (V.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. It's about my choices as a human being. Soon there is silence. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. 192 EXT. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone.O. far down the diagonal of the levee. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon.
My twin brother Donald. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. (beat) That's not a movie. tedious movie. (CONTINUED) . * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did.pg. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. I wanted to present it simply. Do that and you'll be fine. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. It's about disappointment. Kaufman hugs him. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. eyes Kaufman. He's the one who got me to come. I'm way past my deadline. The last act makes the film. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. You can have an uninvolving. and you've got a hit. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. but wow them at the end. McKee recognizes his bulk. Find an ending. I can't go back. McKee sips his beer. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. acts.
196A INT.NIGHT McKee. Listen. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey.) Climax. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. tries to read Story.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. Caroline giggles in the background. dials the phone. Julius and Philip Epstein. HOTEL ROOM . (CONTINUED) .CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. like Darwin before him. MCKEE'S OFFICE . He rubs his temples. 196 INT. MCKEE (V. Donald.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. 195 INT. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. HOTEL ROOM . EMPTY LIVING ROOM . 194 INT. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. sits at his desk and writes. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -.who wrote Casablanca were twins.O.pg.
Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. please. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. Donald. We're playing Boggle. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. 196B INT. look. HOTEL ROOM . KEENER (O. like. long moment. please. You should hang out with her. KAUFMAN Yeah. DONALD C'mon. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. and Donald laugh.pg. I've been thinking. high-sixes against a mill-five. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help..C. Donald. (CONTINUED) ..CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. Um. Caroline. tipsy) Oh. It's been a wild ride. taking this all in. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. please. She's great. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great.
KAUFMAN I was trying something. I don't mind. too. KAUFMAN So.pg. like. Maybe you could read it. subtext. I'm thinking. man. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. is quiet. Y'know. Okay.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. It's funny. I -- DONALD Hey. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . huh? Sorry. Just for fun. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. HOTEL ROOM . We're different talents. if you like. So. Like what? DONALD I don't know. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. KAUFMAN I know. Kaufman paces. The great Donald. Donald finishes. KAUFMAN Good. Y'know. Charles.
Charles. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. (CONTINUED) . reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. KAUFMAN Really. You're reaching. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. You can't be an asshole. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book.. look.. but. it's just a metaphor. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. DONALD Pretend I'm you. Someone's got to talk to her. of course she's that. yes. KAUFMAN For God's sake. I have a reputation to maintain.pg. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. she said she didn't care about flowers. DONALD Is she? I mean. (picks up Orchid Thief. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. I'll go." (looks up) First of all. To know her. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. 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. You can't be a goofball. I can't. DONALD Maybe. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. That's inconsistent. KAUFMAN I don't know.
DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. sits across from her. Thanks." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. Donald scribbles. DONALD So. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. (CONTINUED) * * * * . mumbles under his breath. By definition. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. "You know. I was very interested in everything he had to say. No flirting. Donald. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. I mean. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. 198 INT. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. if you write a couple more books. He said. It's an honor. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. But the relationship ends when the book ends. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . doing his best serious writer impression. You spend a lot of time together. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. I get to have people think I'm you. In the subtext. dressed as Charlie. you could become a pretty good writer. Don't laugh how you laugh. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. No bad jokes.pg.
Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars.DAY Kaufman paces. living or dead. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. 199 Donald * * * INT. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. Einstein or Jesus. watches TV. You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. I have an idea. 199 DONALD Interesting answer.pg. She's lying.. DONALD She was nervous. enters. Charles. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. Too right. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein.. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. Okay. dressed as Charlie. ORLEAN I'd have to say. Very good. HOTEL ROOM . That's a prepackaged answer. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . just one more question. stares out the window. She said all the right things. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage.
I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer. (talking) C'mon. and sings and dances around Kaufman. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you. picks up a pen.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars.pg. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT. Orlean waits as the phone rings. Leave. KAUFMAN Let's go. (CONTINUED) 201 . DONALD (O.S. want to be doing this. She closes her office door. Sadly.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. Let's go. becoming more and more agitated. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. KAUFMAN Well. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. holds it like a microphone. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . A conversation ensues. window with binoculars. who just stares at him. I do.) She's upset. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here.
pg. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. DONALD She's crying. who watches through binoculars. Leave her alone. She's at her computer. I thought she was done with Laroche.) Stop watching her. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. Research. Tomorrow morning.S. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. my friend. Orlean looks out her window. 202 * 201 INT. DONALD Anyway. 202 She starts to cry. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. Heh heh. DONALD United to Miami. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. She hung up the phone. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. HOTEL ROOM . * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. Don't tell my old lady. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES ." 203 INT.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. DONALD That was no parent phone call. Donald. I'm gonna look at it. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible.
oh yeah. posed but awkward. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. baby. Hey. The beat-up white van pulls up. SUBURBAN STREET . Told ya. No. keeping up with the van. 204 INT. DONALD I said. DONALD I'll get a closer look. RENTAL CAR . gets out. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. which speeds and swerves through traffic. 205 INT. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. C'mere. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. 206 EXT. middle-class house. incredulously at it. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house.LATER 206 Donald follows. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. no. the van speeds off. goes over to the computer. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life.pg.A BIT LATER Donald drives. nervous. Kaufman and Donald drive by. (CONTINUED) * . Donald behind the wheel. Donald parks up the street. guess what? We're going to Miami.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. Forget it. KAUFMAN I said. naked photo of Orlean. Kaufman is sweaty. CAR . Orlean gets in. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. You wait here.
Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. Laroche cuts him off. DONALD Go for it.. bro. You the man.. Orlean and Laroche are laughing.) Darlin'. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. oblivious.. it's my. tips over. Orlean.. nobody. have slipped.pg. undressing each other. locks eyes with Kaufman. looks in. Orlean studies Kaufman. He slinks around back. Laroche glances at the window. How did he find me. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. The chair slides across the floor. drags him into the house. continues to rub herself. HOUSE . She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. He adjusts them. I mean. I'm just. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. kissing. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. 207 INT. Laroche waits patiently. Kaufman gets out of the car. peruses house. ORLEAN Who's that. Donald gets Kaufman's script... I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um.S. Wrong house. in. snorts some lines of green powder. There's movement in a window in ducks. I should go. Orlean pulls away giggling. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house. it should be me. crawls to the coffee table. right? I mean.
* * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. it was nice to meet you.pg. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. Orlean rises. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. Well. of course not.I don't know that. (CONTINUED) . John. don't let him leave. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. Kaufman rises. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. dude. ORLEAN Shit. 'kay? Kaufman does. Laroche looks at Susan. Laroche begins to write his phone number. Did you follow me? I should go. LAROCHE Okay. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. ORLEAN I'm freaking. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. Orlean tries to focus. Let me give you my number. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse.
I'm almost done. he's researching his script. Well. Hold him. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. Kaufman rises. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. Suze. anyway.I'm just down here to see the swamp.pg. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. I was just -. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. gestures to herself. LAROCHE I believe him. She talks to herself for a while. right? LAROCHE Good point. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. She looks up. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. LAROCHE Oh. I'm pretty clear on the structure. Orlean massages her temples. I don't know.
okay. Kaufman gets in. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. I understand. I have to think. you need to calm down. INT. we can't kill anyone. 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. I can't have people -. Charlie. deliberate) Susie.S.) Susie. CLOSET . LAROCHE Yeah.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. * (CONTINUED) . 208 Laroche closes the door. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. LAROCHE I'm sorry. He listens. * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. LAROCHE (O. Thank you. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry.pg.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked.
ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O.S. The bartender shakes a drink.pg.) Then what? Everyone will find out. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides. LAROCHE (O.S. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. 209 INT. occasionally pass between Donald and the camera. 208A INT. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. a little hysterically.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O. large. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. his pants fall down. There's a long sweaty silence.S. Kaufman inhales sharply. descends the basement stairs.S. Laroche and Orlean.) I think you just stick them in. BASEMENT .CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . in close-up. She glances down at his off-screen hand.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. Please. holes here. 208B INT. pacing foreground figures. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . turns it on.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. blurry. Johnny.S. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. chews her fingernail and cries. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. his face lights up red. He sifts through a cardboard box. ORLEAN (O.S. He passes behind her.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche. Donald watches the goings-on.) Protect me. in close-up. in close-up. Laroche turns it off. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head.
KAUFMAN (O. They drive in silence. Orlean sits next to him.S. 210 INT. ORLEAN Hey. no.) Okay. LAROCHE (O.S. I'm really just interested in orchids.pg. ORLEAN (O.S. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . I didn't really do it. KAUFMAN It's a story. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp.) I. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. 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. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock. I don't care what you're doing.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window.S. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O.) You have a car. KAUFMAN Look.S. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph." Jesus.S. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. um. there's an image I could do without.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned. that's sort of creepy. suburban Miami neighborhood.) Of course he does. I -ORLEAN (O. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something. God. RENTAL CAR . She skims Kaufman's screenplay. like he was doing research. That sounds like a real thing that could happen. holding a gun.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice.
KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. Chill.pg. Get a cup of coffee. From a weirdo with no teeth. It was orchids. I'll tell you the truth now. but I didn't make that up. We can forget I ever came here. this isn't easy for me either. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. I'll sign anything. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book." Orlean laughs derisively. Can we do that? We can talk this out. you don't have to kill me. if you don't tell me. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. KAUFMAN Look. ORLEAN (considers) No. I'm laughing at who I used to be. KAUFMAN You can laugh. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. ORLEAN Yeah. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. That's a quote from your book. Charlie-boy. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. I know. We can do whatever you want. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. I do. ORLEAN Listen. KAUFMAN We can turn around. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . It's sad. Bully for you.
pg. . 211A INT.. They drive in silence. my porn site is gonna be big.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. ORLEAN It's a flower. 211B EXT. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. but some of the Indians. LAROCHE (V. It's just a flower. No reaction. I want to tell you. I think this might help you. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. stands there awestruck. something I didn't tell you. It wasn't my thing. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER .. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look... Orlean stares out the window.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee. LAROCHE Might as well grab it. I went back one night to pick up something.O. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. circles it. I want you to know this. He spots something on a tree. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag.DAY Laroche drives. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan..) I'd just started up the nursery. SWAMP . About the ghost. long as I'm here. okay? I know you're going through some shit. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. 108 211 EXT.. VAN . can't.
stoned Indian men. Some stare off. Vinson lived on that shit. they liked to get stoned. 211D INT. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. your sadness is fascinating to me. That's what I wanted to tell you. like I told you.DAY Orlean seems interested now. too. Susie. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. 109 211C INT. I know how. LAROCHE It does that. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room.. but -Vinson. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. Jesus. fascinated. One sings to himself. My sadness. but the young guys. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V.. I want to do this.pg.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. I think you'd like it. Oh. A bunch of young. TRAILER BACK ROOM . As I said. It had been a ceremonial thing. It seems to help people be. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. they ran out. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. I watched. Laroche. My hair. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. Two of the men make out. VAN . Y'know. .O.
if you're not going to let me go. Okay. Her name is written on it. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. ORLEAN (V. 211H INT. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. hovers over the green powder. trying to remember her room number. pours some onto the glass-topped desk.O.NIGHT So drained. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. Friday. Maybe I could get laid. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. picks up the baggie. sniffs inside.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. you should. He needs to hear how you feel. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. He's barely listening. puts it down. let me be. rolls it up. HOTEL BAR . emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. paces. The place is empty.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. talks on the phone. This must be her room. picks it up. 211F INT. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne.NIGHT Kaufman drives.pg. HOTEL ROOM . a little tipsy. RENTAL CAR . You too. Yeah. All right then. He's pasty white with fear. HOTEL HALLWAY . Something. you should. Orlean hangs up.) I went down to the bar. HOTEL ROOM . ORLEAN I was so sad that night. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it.NIGHT 211H Orlean. 211I INT. There's a small package outside one door. Please. 110 211E INT. reviews some notes. 211G INT. I didn't know. stares at it. hon.
She watches her grinning face with love. stands. tries to feel something. on the scrubbing sound. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. 211M INT. She tries to sing along with it. HOTEL ROOM . Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. sucks it. She sighs. She snorts the rest. How exquisite! She cries.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. She tries to open the window for a better look.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. She bends in to the mirror for a better look." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. discovers it does not open. what the fuck. She giggles. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . dully watches herself in the mirror. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky.pg. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. HOTEL ROOM .A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. 211J INT. what the hell. HOTEL ROOM . 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. It's so beautiful. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. stands again. She snorts a small amount. listening to the dial tone. sniffs it. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. I figured. the colors. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. She's never seen anything more beautiful. doesn't. Ms. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. She tugs at a strand. rolls it around in her fingers. holding the phone to her ear.) (CONT'D) I figured. She feels nothing. who really cares about anything anymore.O. 211L INT. I figured. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. HOTEL BATHROOM . 211K INT.
ORLEAN Good night. ma'am. eight to five-thirty. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. Orlean dials again. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my. Operator. how I get a hold of the operator operator? OPERATOR Dial nine and then zero. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea.? ORLEAN In your dial tone. Okay. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. It's so pretty.pg. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night.. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that.. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours. ma'am. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. ma'am. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. ORLEAN Well. to you.
that would be so helpful. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay.pg. Hello? Hi. Finally she remembers. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. . Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. She imitates a dial tone. pitch. stares at the ceiling. forgets to pick up the phone. all the time. There's a pause. The phone rings. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. LAROCHE She studies her feet. She listens to it. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. ORLEAN Johnny. I'm very happy now. ORLEAN John. There's a pause. John. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. I'm glad.
(pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when.pg. I think toes should be with their fellows. 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. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Okay. . My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. Do you like socks. ORLEAN Huh. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. too? Yes. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. I do.
Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. just like you. Here. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. someone would come around and just. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. Like my mom. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor. HOTEL ROOM . RENTAL CAR . y'know. Please think about what you're doing. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. understand me. too.pg. on the phone. We're twins. She stares out the window at the early morning light. Kaufman stares straight ahead. but not talking. I'm a person. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. 212B INT. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. except someone else. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. Nobody liked me. Johnny. ORLEAN We spoke all night. But I had this idea if I waited long enough.
Or fantasizing about someone else. John. Adapting. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. You will not take this away. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. ORLEAN Back in New York. She remains silent. who stares straight ahead. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. She glances past Laroche at the moon. VAN . She pulls him to her and kisses him. Not like that. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. . And I wouldn't be alone anymore.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. RENTAL CAR . I won't go back. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. she'd look at me. Back. pale and sweaty. just like that. The back doors are open. lost in her story. Alive. Laroche seems clumsy. I was just there. It'd send someone. and quietly say. They pass very few cars now. then at Laroche's straining face. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. I couldn't care. Orlean is flabbergasted. anyway.NIGHT Kaufman drives. "yes". The junk is pushed to the sides. 212C INT. 212D INT. Laroche starts to cry. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. Orlean smiles.pg. Orlean looks with love at these items. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. a bag of soil. I couldn't focus. back on the book.
.. hi. Orlean lies on the grass outside. it ain't controlled. They're very shiny. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. is why. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . RENTAL CAR . ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. 117 212E INT.NIGHT Orlean paces. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD . (back to business) The cool part is. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. ORLEAN So. like a beacon. if I do say. all the way to the road. There are no other cars. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van... LAROCHE Well. and we followed it. 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. Done.. I need a ticket to Miami. transfixed by a colony of ants. A Laroche kind of plan... darlin'.DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids. She types at the computer standing up.pg. I like you. (dials phone) Yeah. Make a shitload of change. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. Suze. but we should introduce this to the general public. The sun is warm on her skin. 214 INT. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me.NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive..
ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. SWAMP . JANES SCENIC DRIVE . (CONTINUED) 218 * * . hitting her and sending her flying. 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.pg.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. getting some equipment. please. trip over unseen vines. wild-eyed. searching for flashlights. We see the lovely Coke can. LOGGING ROAD . We call it "Passion. blocking him in. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead. 215 EXT. Laroche parks behind. 218 EXT. ORLEAN Come around. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. on the floor in the back. gun on him. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. he sees Donald.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. Laroche is in the rear of his van. Kaufman does.
) That's all I could tell.) We need to split up. I've wasted my life.) This really complicates things. KAUFMAN They're going to find us. Orlean and Laroche are very close now. * Laroche and Orlean move off. * * * Thanks.pg. DONALD You did not. ORLEAN (O. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here.C. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. * LAROCHE (O. They sit and wait in silence. The beams search the darkness near the brothers. LAROCHE (O.C. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized. Donald. John. I've wasted it. Their voices get far away.C. God. All right. ORLEAN (O. (CONTINUED) . * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now.C. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. I get that. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle.) It was a guy? Fat. I couldn't move.C. DONALD I don't think so. breathing hard. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. LAROCHE (O.) I know. And you're not gonna die.
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)
CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving.pg. starts the car. from around a curve. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. a ranger truck comes barreling. To everyone's surprise it fires. Laroche approaches the car. Then. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. the front of his body a bloody mess. They pass Orlean next to the van. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush. doesn't know what to do. 220 INT. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys. Donald yelps. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. He instinctively grabs for the rifle.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. Kaufman gets in behind him. Donald flies through the windshield. Give me some of that shit. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. Donald is hit in the arm. looks nice. RENTAL CAR . The driver's side airbag deploys. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. John! ORLEAN (O. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital. (CONTINUED) * * . Kaufman finds the keys.S. spaced on pash.
sees the two Kaufmans. Orlean and Laroche arrive. Donald's eyes close. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. Just don't go to sleep. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. she looks horrified. I do. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C.pg. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. She can't look down at Owen. She follows. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. who is conscious. Bad car accident. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. Orlean's eyes well with tears. Logging road twelve. He angles in to cut him off. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. KAUFMAN Donald. fascinated. MIKE OWEN We need help here. sees Kaufman running into the woods. A battered-looking. running from two different directions. (CONTINUED) . Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. 221 EXT. Donald is dead. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. Alligators swim in it.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. Kaufman starts to sing. There's nowhere to go. The three stare at each other. Kaufman must be next. SWAMP .. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. You're gonna be okay. Kaufman stares at the body. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. at the body of Donald. is confused.B. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. Her mouth is open. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. He slumps to the ground. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. He bolts into the swamp. stop. but fading fast.. heave. approaching from down the road. To think about the one you love. It's only right. it's gonna be okay.
I want my life back. I want to be new. Orlean collapses into a heap. Everything is a lie. His rifle fires at nothing. I want it back before it got all fucked up. then looks to Kaufman. I did everything wrong. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. this concept turned flesh before his eyes.pg. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . sobbing. It helped me. The sun is rising. Orlean looks at his body. Orlean screams. I think it can touch people. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. I want to be new. Let me be a baby again. Everything's over. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . Orlean turns her gun on the creature. KAUFMAN Your writing. Kaufman watches. that helps other people feel not so lonely. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. Laroche is dead. old. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. dude. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. She glows. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart.An alligator: it awakens. suddenly feeling so much for this person. stunned. desperate. Kaufman watches. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. shooting crazily until it's dead. I'm not a killer. KAUFMAN No. drops her gun. maybe. startled and angry.
I just wanted. They look at each other from across the room. I think. That's a good thing. some overstuffed chairs. I just wanted. Charles. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. mom. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. a coffee table. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living.. Wordlessly. * * MOTHER I worry about you. I'm going to get a couch. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. MOTHER You should get some furniture. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. Yeah. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. That's all.. both crying. Make it really comfortable in here. Susan. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I know. There's a silence. they meet in the middle and hug. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that.DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes.pg.
pg. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. I'm just stupid. KAUFMAN That sounds good. but -I don't know. I understand. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. He meets her gaze. KAUFMAN Thank you. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain. I came by for a reason. KAUFMAN Knock knock. I'm almost done! Great! ready. KAUFMAN No. They sit. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. hugs him. really. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. * She look compassionately into his face. (deep breath. Thanks. MARGARET'S OFFICE. Margaret looks up. Margaret.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. 225 INT. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. MARGARET You able to work at all. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard.
I'm glad you're in the world. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. Wow.um. Hey. being honest. That's really great. so he plows on. Hey. embarrassed) So. waits in line with his validated ticket. I'm just saying. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same.pg. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. I mean. thanks for telling me. I'll send you the script when it's done. MARGARET That sounds good. (laughing. gets up. Kaufman rolls down his window. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. MARGARET Wow.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. I'm not saying that at all. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. y'know. Stupid job. anyway. I can love you. thanks for being in the world. nervously kisses him. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . Margaret appears in front of his car. Margaret. say. I'm glad I know you is all. 226 INT. CAR . I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. Kaufman smiles. Okay then. I don't have to get anything back. can't. Charlie. in the parking garage. looking a little pale. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction.
Lieutenant. 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. FADE TO BLACK.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . The way fish can't see the ocean. runs around the front of the car. That's what I've come to realize. hooky before. both staring ahead. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. They drive off. that sounds good. and hops in the passenger side." . Hurt each other. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell.pg. Hate each other. Like cells in a body. And so we envy each other. 'Cept we can't see the body.