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