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