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