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