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