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