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