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