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