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