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