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