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