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