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