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