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