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