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