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