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