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