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