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