This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean
Revised - November 21, 2000
EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?
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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3
skinny as a stick. 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. . We lose ourselves in her melancholy beauty. delicate and blond. they are in there for a reason.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker. Tony clears his throat into the radio. Tony glowers.. whispers into his C. It's Susan Orlean: pale. RANGER'S TRUCK . He pulls over down the road. Mosquitoes land on his neck. his nose.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth.B. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board. and come to rest on a woman typing. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat. ORLEAN (V..pg.MID-MORNING Tony. 8 INT. 7 INT. TONY We got Seminoles. Indians do not go on swamp walks. Indians in the swamp. If there are Indians in the swamp. TONY Barry. Nothing. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp.O. in the swamp.S. No response. RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. watches the vehicles through binoculars. OFFICE . Nothing. his lips.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. Tony waits for a response. gets out of the truck. a ranger. pale-eyed. He straightens his cap. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford.
He quickly swabs. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . her breasts. looks down. We are. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. She -VALERIE We think you're great. it's no fun. They pick at salads. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. sits with Valerie. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. Valerie watches it. KAUFMAN That's.A. Uncomfortable silence. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. KAUFMAN Oh. She sees him seeing her watching it. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. She thinks I'm old. Boy. She looks up at him. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. thanks. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. She thinks I'm fat. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. 4 9 INT. her hair. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. She looks at her salad. I appreciate that. it is.pg. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. They are.. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production.MIDDAY Kaufman. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. Thank you. That's nice to hear.. wow. He blanches. L. Kaufman sees her watching it.
pretends not to notice. In one motion. what you're saying. I'd want to remain true to that. I like to let my work evolve. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. sprawling New Yorker stuff. too. great. Like. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of.... VALERIE Okay. Well. orchid poaching. I'm intrigued. an orchid heist movie or something. That sounds interesting. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means. let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. VALERIE Oh. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . great. KAUFMAN First... tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. So. His brow is dripping again. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating. KAUFMAN Absolutely.. Plus her musings on Florida. flips through the book.pg. stalling. I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. isn't he? Kaufman nods. Great. and also not force it into a typical movie form. Indians. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. I think it's a great book. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. I mean. KAUFMAN Oh. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover.
a soulful development executive.pg. MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. or guns. Or characters learning profound life lessons. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all. 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. It just isn't. In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. it didn't happen. but we can't make out the words. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .DAY SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD.. Margaret. KAUFMAN Knock knock. 10 INT. unpack boxes. It wouldn't happen. Life isn't like that. Kaufman appears in the open doorway. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. Definitely. but to me -. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. I don't want to cram in sex. I feel very strongly about this. or car chases.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. Y'know? The book isn't like that. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. Valerie is quiet. Margaret turns. Audubon posters. lots of books.. OFFICE . CALIFORNIA. fake. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. I mean. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay.
Come in. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. congratulate you on the promotion. with Robert? Oooh. There's one you might like. Kaufman enters. just wanted to say hello. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs.pg. God. KAUFMAN (smiles. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . about flowers. Take a load off. thanks. KAUFMAN You looked great.. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. It's all so stupid. at the closeness. covers by talking. KAUFMAN It's great. such an awful picture. MARGARET Oh. nods) So. sits on the couch. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. So what's with you? man. Pretty fancy office. Kaufman laughs. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. Very very cool. Mostly crap. Margie! MARGARET Well. MARGARET Anyway. Margaret sits down next to him..
About orchids. MARGARET I'll read it. 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. I dunno. man. Cool. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should.. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. (looking up. And it sounds exciting. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all.. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. .pg. Robert. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. yelling) I don't care. (hangs up. somebody needs to save us all. Jesus. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. MARGARET You should definitely do it. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. MARGARET I don't care. Thanks. You're all the recommendation I need. it would be you. he's scored. MARGARET Susan Orlean. sex and drug deals and violence. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. (presses button on phone) Andy.
Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. 12 EXT. Russell pulls out a hacksaw. KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. dirty. begins sawing through the tree. MURKY POOL OF WATER . * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. 13 INT. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down. you can teach me. Soon there are millions of them. a dull green root wrapped around a tree.MORNING Hot.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. They trudge. 13 (CONTINUED) . That I can't speak to.pg. He points out a turtle on a rock. Did you fellas know you fellas believe the world rests on the back of a turtle? Not you fellas specifically. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. Laroche stares at a single beautiful. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. Russell. SWAMP . closer. 11 EXT. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower stuff. maybe you fellas specifically. Although. His eyes widen in reverent awe. closer. A ghost. circles the tree. He stops. Laroche spots something else. tenderly caresses the petals. miserable. RESTAURANT . The Indians ignore him. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. Then. until we see a singlecell organism multiplying.
anemic-looking little girl. studying the inhabitants. My stuff tends to be weird. But I'm ready to challenge myself. KAUFMAN Thanks. PET STORE (1972) . listless. BOY Any animal at all.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. I don't want to get by on quirkiness.. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. 14 INT.. He turns to his frumpy mother. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium. As Blake said. BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. It's like. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence.pg. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. That's nice to hear. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. show people heaven in a wildflower. at a small turtle in an aquarium. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . ma? She nods sweetly. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. This one. I want to think differently.plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. KAUFMAN Yeah. who is sitting with a frail. The boy returns to his search. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently.
MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. thrilled. (CONTINUED) * * * . would enjoy it. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. Margaret raises a glass. The book is just amazing. too. Randy.MORNING As Laroche supervises. Russell. clicks glasses.pg. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. KAUFMAN God. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. He's a naturalist. Sure. of course. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. SWAMP . I'm just so pleased you liked it. 16 INT. I think David. All I do is tell him how great you are. (He takes a breath) Hey. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. Kaufman. man. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. this guy I'm seeing. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. He probably hates you already.
. KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . MARGARET You'll like him. in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment.. You've read that. He's just honest and smart. (to Kaufman) .pg. I mean. so. MARGARET So I was lying there. Uh-huh. kind of post-coital dreamy. MARGARET (cont'd) . right? KAUFMAN Um... KAUFMAN He sounds great... Y'know. MARGARET Well. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know. okay. anyway. A bit. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business. long time ago.. (to waiter) Thanks. 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good..... Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. I'm sure you know. Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true... He can no longer look up at Margaret. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel. 16 Oh. The entrees arrive. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct. David and I were joking about the Philosophy of History. a long time ago.
TONY (cont'd) (into the radio. So whereas human history spirals forward.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . her lips.DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going. recoil. he studies their interaction. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover.MORNING Tony waits. and hover. OCEAN . ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . but rather cyclically.. Tony tenses.. ORLEAN (V. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. building upon itself. TROPICAL RIVER . ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 . carries them to the register. 20 INT. that nature doesn't exist historically. As she rings him up. The radio crackles. who haul the pillowcases. small blind jellyfish collide. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . the body language.DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH. Her eyes. He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm. she expresses no interest in him. 18 INT.NIGHT Orlean types. 17 EXT. BARNES AND NOBLE . The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. sweaty and mosquito bitten. the way she looks at him. 19 EXT. She pulls down her sleeve..DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER.pg. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians. 21 EXT.. nature.O. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. With every fiber of his being. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd.
O. and dysentery.. Laroche smiles warmly. RIVER .DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff.DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated.) (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.O. 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY Morning.O.pg. ORLEAN (V.. stabs him. you absolutely may. 22 EXT. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo. limping.) Schroeder fell to his death. clutching a flower.) (cont'd) .. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. rheumatism.MORNING Tony steps out of his truck. sir.) Augustus Margary survived toothache. The murderer sails down river. 23 24 OMITTED EXT. 25 EXT. (CONTINUED) . Someone steps from behind a bush. ORLEAN (V. steals his boat. pleurisy.O. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes.. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V.O.) The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. ORLEAN (V. CLIFF . docks his boat.
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. nine orchid varieties. Every one of them. Florida v. sir. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. I'm sure. LAROCHE Oh.. Did I mention that? You're familiar. TONY Okay.pg. LAROCHE Yes. I'm asking then. James E. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. even though he has no idea. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. They give it. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. what. Well. Billie. Okay then! Let's see. (afterthought) Oh. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. This is a state preserve. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. one of. it is.. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. that's exactly the issue. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. TONY Exactly. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . sir. one peperomia. Tony nods.
Tony looks at the Indians. they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. Just hold on while I.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot. That's exactly what we use them for. Yeah... I can't let you fellas go yet.O.) (cont'd) . (into radio) Hey.. RUSSELL He's right.. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent. can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT.O.) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. but I don't. Orlean drives past endless swampland.. the wilderness disappears before your eyes. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds.. ORLEAN (V. Yeah. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation.pg. I believe. RENTAL CAR . Chickee huts. At the same time.O. * 26 * .. ORLEAN (V. which. Barry. everything is always growing or expanding. Yeah. ORLEAN (V..
his identical twin brother. 28 EXT. In a time lapse sequence. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso. Two teenage girls walk by.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH.O.) I am fat. then starts to weep inconsolably. * (CONTINUED) .DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. regards himself glumly. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water. KAUFMAN (V. I am repulsive. They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. and climbs the stairs. continues down the hall. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater. the plants grow. die. EMPTY HOUSE . On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. Orlean finishes organizing her stuff.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence." The girls giggle. RIVER'S EDGE . She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE .pg. 17 27 INT. you'll be glad. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. HOTEL ROOM . DONALD (cont'd) Hey. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. Charles. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely. whither. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. 30 INT. my own reflection. KAUFMAN What's with you? My back. 29 EXT.
18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan.S. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret. KAUFMAN Donald. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. Charles." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT. He gets lost in the picture. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. DONALD Yeah. DONALD (O.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit.pg. DONALD (O. paper back under his pillow.) In theory I agree with you. People come from all over to study his method. 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. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry. clipped from a trade paper.CONTINUOUS Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. (CONTINUED) * . But I'm doing it right this time. DONALD (cont'd) Okay. EMPTY BEDROOM . buddy. enters his bedroom. I'll pay you back. I forgot. from under his pillow. don't say "industry. this guy knows screenwriting. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. okay.S.
keep going. and anybody who says there are. KAUFMAN Look. Go. There's definitely a flower in that. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. Okay. And it's not a movie.. Sorry. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers.pg. principles. (lies down. and has through all remembered time. Okay. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. I apologize. there're no guidelines. stares at ceiling) Okay. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. go ahead. fuming. is just -DONALD Not rules. this works. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . McKee writes: "A rule says. Sorry. Writing is a journey into the unknown. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. Getting no response. my point is. There was a book -DONALD Oh. Donald. And a writer should always have that goal. principle says. not building a model airplane." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting.. So. okay. Donald stares at the ceiling. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. I never saw it. Hey. it's about flowers. you must do it this way. Kaufman waits.
thirteen Encyclia Cochleata.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. Lots of sweating. 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT. They seem to be enjoying Donald. is . LIBRARY . the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite.. The pillowcases have been emptied. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window. uniformed people... He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls..) (CONT'D) Each being is. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth. puffs out her cheeks. LAROCHE . He says good-bye and walks happily away. He puts the book down. an opposited... TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. 32 INT. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright scholar. sheriff. Kaufman's head is spinning. Are you a former Fulbright scholar. my friend. Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. a conditional and conditioning. GIRL Bye. The Indians lean against their car.O. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V.LATE MORNING Ranger. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 . because posited..pg. bored and smoking.DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. SWAMP . A guy sprinkles water on them. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry. and what we have here. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch.. 32A INT.
KAUFMAN Hi. y'know. A very good haul. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. KAUFMAN Yeah. So.S. LAROCHE Yeah. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. except in your swamp. Bug spray. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. (CONTINUED) . 35A INT. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. you really know your plants. Tem-pen-sis. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. KAUFMAN I can do that. EMPTY KITCHEN . the ghost orchid.pg. Mr. let's see. I do. What I really came for. Two Catopsi Floribunda. Laroche. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay.
you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . buzzing.. I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. ancient family of perennial plants with.pg. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find. DONALD (V. so you won't be able to see the snakes. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good. With Deet. looks over at Donald. Donald lies on the floor. Kaufman. Mosquito netting. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators. KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee. something they won't easily bite through. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. Okay. Long sleeves. gray could. EMPTY DINING ROOM . fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. So a strong boot. whose cheeks are stuffed with food.. You'll be trudging through acidic.O. Donald. Heavy. And the water's black. thighhigh water.) The most memorable. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty room. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. heavy pants. bored.
O. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. he's Charlie's twin. maybe you and mom could collaborate.O. past prefab housing. she loved my. I'm really gonna write this. And you'll see. RENTAL CAR . Anyway. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world... Rather than hopscotching through time.pg.." DONALD Sorry. DONALD You think you're so superior.) The Orchidaceae is a large. and. Anyway. space.. Charles. ORLEAN (V. 37 INT.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah. DONALD (V.O. 37 * * * * * . She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. okay? The two glare at each other. mom's paying for the seminar.. do not multiply locations.. ancient family of perennial plants with.. and people." KAUFMAN Hey. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29. I hear she's really good with structure. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V. you suck. Well. telling of my story to her.. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch.. And.) Do not proliferate characters. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way. They go back to their books..
I'm a published author.O. I have extensive experience with orchids. Alan Lerner. Orlean hurries in. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style.) We open on State Road 29. sits in the back. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay. Thank you. I'm a professional plant lecturer. 24 38 INT. He turns to his typewriter. questions him. Laroche. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. (stops. This is laboratory work.DAY The proceedings are in progress. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. This is John Laroche. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road map. COURT ROOM . Laroche. is on the stand. (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know. KAUFMAN (V. (stops. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. types) A white van appears from around a curve. EMPTY BEDROOM .pg. both in magazine and book form. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. and a Hawaiian shirt. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. the tribe's lawyer. thinks. LERNER Finally. 39 INT. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. not at all like your nursery work. I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. . Mr.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland.
I'm just trying to do something. in bed masturbating. stares at the ceiling. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. man. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. wet. EMPTY BEDROOM . you wanna hear my pitch. or what? Go away. and in the process he falls in love with her. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. DONALD (lost) Y'know. Cool. She catches him and smiles with red. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . looks up at the closed door.NIGHT Kaufman. he's being hunted by a cop. (flicks on light.pg. like. What?! The door opens. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. 41 DONALD Look. like the Holy Grail. KAUFMAN God damn it. waits. See. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. right -Kaufman groans. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. 41 INT. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. thanks a lot. DONALD (CONT'D) No.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. She becomes. BARNES AND NOBLE . Even though he's never even met her. the unattainable. pierced lips. there's this serial killer. sits up. 25 40 INT. And he's taunting the cop. lies down. wait. then in pitch mode:) Okay. Kaufman squints at his brother.
Listen closely. in the reality of this movie. On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. Okay? How could you..) That's not how it's pronounced. Did you consider that? I mean. is multiple personality. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this. I really liked Dressed to Kill.. right?. until the third act denouement.. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut.. if there's only one character. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom. KAUFMAN (O. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers. Okay? See. what I'm asking is. KAUFMAN The other thing is. Kaufman dresses and exits. Sybil meets. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits. DONALD (calling after) Cool.. Donald waits blankly. but there's a twist.. What exactly would the. Dressed to Kill. See. (CONTINUED) * . I dunno. there's no way to write this. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay. gets out of bed... proud.. Kaufman gives up. Very taut. that's not what I'm asking.S.pg. he's really also the cop and the girl.. how could you have someone held prisoner in a basement and working in a police station at the same time? DONALD Trick photography? KAUFMAN Okay..
42 Okay. EXT. for crying out loud. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. COURTHOUSE . Lerner walks off. Orlean tries some more. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. Vinson shrugs. They're all smoking intently. we'll deal with all this at trial. Right? ORLEAN Right. Laroche scowls. The New Yorker. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN Mr. apologetic for the intrusion. follows Buster. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. Laroche? Orlean smiles. BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. and Buster Baxley. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment.pg. 42 * 41 Oh. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. the New Yorker. smokes furiously. walks away. LERNER Buster. stubs his cigarette. Vinson. yes. I handled it. I swear to God. So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look. Laroche cracks his neck. ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean.
42 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I'm right, and I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court. That judge can screw herself. Orlean scribbles on her pad. Laroche twists his head to see that she's writing "Judge can screw herself." LAROCHE (cont'd) That for real would go in? ORLEAN Absolutely. Laroche smiles his toothless smile at Orlean. LAROCHE I'll have to speak to my advisors. 43 EXT. FIELD - MORNING MUSIC: lush, profound orchestral piece. A glorious orange, large-petalled orchid blooms in dramatic time-lapse. We slowly, lovingly circle the flower. SENSUOUS FEMALE NARRATOR The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient family of perennial plants with one fertile stamen and a three petalled flower. In most orchid species, one petal is enlarged into a lip and is the most conspicuous part of the flower. 44 INT. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN - DAY Kaufman, in a booth, reads The Orchid Thief, takes notes. KAUFMAN (V.O.) The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient... He's bored, looks up, watches a waitress with glorious, orange hair, pouty lips, soulful eyes, and a voluptuous form, turning slowly around, scanning her station. She sees Kaufman, approaches, and smiles warmly down at him. Her badge reads: Alice, Arcadia, CA. Kaufman sweats. ALICE So what looks good today? KAUFMAN Um, hi. The key lime pie, please. A small slice. I'm watching my... And a coffee, please. Skim milk. Please. (CONTINUED) * 44 * 43 * * * * * 42
44 CONTINUED: ALICE (sees book) Orchids! I absolutely love orchids. Kaufman goes blank. Cool! KAUFMAN A small awkward pause. * 44
He flinches at his lameness.
ALICE So, I'll be right back with your pie. She smiles warmly again and leaves. 45 EXT. ORCHID SHOW - DAY Alice, in her CPK uniform, and Kaufman walk hand-in-hand, inspecting sexy orchids together. She smiles warmly at him. ALICE I think these flowers are so sexy. Alice stands very close to Kaufman. Her bare arm touches his. Kaufman looks at the touching arms. Alice continues to study the flower but intertwines her fingers in Kaufman's. ALICE (cont'd) Let's see what's around back. She leads Kaufman behind the display to a quiet, wooded area. She unbuttons her uniform. It falls to the ground, leaving her naked, dappled in sunlight, her beautiful red hair glowing. Kaufman drops to his knees in front of her and kisses her thighs, caresses her ass. Alice glides Kaufman's head to her crotch. 46 INT. EMPTY ROOM - NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. 47 INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON, OHIO, FORTY-THREE YEARS EARLIER He lies lonely in the dark. 47 * 46 * * Kaufman is humiliated. 45
* * * *
It's dark. A lonely, little girl in a nightgown lies on her bed, holds a flashlight in one hand and writes in her diary with the other.
47 CONTINUED: LITTLE GIRL (V.O.) Today I played with Mary. We had fun. We played Mommy and Daddy. I got to be the Mommy. It was very fun. Footsteps in the hall. The little girl flicks off the flashlight, closes her eyes. The door opens. A middle-aged woman walks in, bumps tipsily into the dresser, sits on the edge of the bed, looks at her daughter and cries quietly. 48 EXT. HOTEL PARKING LOT - MORNING Orlean leans against a car and smokes. A tiny, lost figure. There's a honk. Orlean snaps out of her reverie to see Laroche screeching to a stop in his banged-up van. ORLEAN (V.O.) A few days after the hearing, Laroche took me to an orchid show in Miami. She opens the passenger door. Hi. ORLEAN (cont'd) Thanks for picking -48 47
* * * * *
LAROCHE I want you to know this van is a piece of shit. When I hit the jackpot, I'll buy myself an awesome car. What are you driving? An Aurora. Awesome. ORLEAN It's my father's. He lives --
LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.
Orlean nods, climbs in, and tries to rearrange some of the junk on the front seat so she'll have a place to sit. LAROCHE (cont'd) Sit on top of that. You won't hurt it. She situates herself on the edge of the seat, rests her feet on an open bag of potting soil. Laroche lurches off. 49 INT. VAN - DAY Laroche drives manically. Orlean watches the road and holds one hand against the dashboard. 49 *
ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. steers with knees as he lights another. pulls out a notebook. Florida can't touch us. ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. posture of al dente spaghetti. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. Orlean tries to figure a way in. Collectors covet what is not available. Orlean smiles back." Uh-huh. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. LAROCHE The plan was. As long as I don't touch the plants. He doesn't take the hint. And that's the ghost. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. Uh-huh. that he might want to watch the road." * (CONTINUED) . I researched it. with a small jerk of the head.pg. She's writing: "skinny as a stick. yeah. Orlean writes. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. Laroche clams up. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change. sell 'em." Laroche looks over and smiles.
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)
VAN . I lost interest right after that.. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. 55 INT. ORLEAN Wow. solemnly nodding his head. we'd better get started. Collected the shit out of 'em. ORLEAN So. Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere.DAY Laroche drives. She underlines it. Orlean studies him for a moment. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad.. Orlean watches a flying heron. huh. Perhaps you read about us. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. that's some story. The tape recorder is on between them. Oh. They drive in silence. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well.pg. * * * ORLEAN I guess I'd like to know how you can just detach from something when you've invested so much of your soul -LAROCHE Ditched fossils for resilvering old mirrors. her sad eyes wet and glistening.
fuck fish. Anisotremus virginicus. I renounce fish. * * (CONTINUED) . THERAPIST'S OFFICE .DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. You name it. Kaufman nods. not a lot a lot. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones.pg. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. The new girl I'm obsessed with. I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. 56 57 OMITTED INT. Different woman. that's how much fuck fish. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. THERAPIST Red hair. Then one day I say. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. Holacanthus ciliaris. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. profoundly in love with tropical fish. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with fish. I once fell deeply. Chaetodon capistratus. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. THERAPIST Uh-huh. (beat) No.
She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse.. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. Hi. Oh.... Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair. Yes.. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. right? I saw you at the courthouse. ORLEAN Susan Orlean.. VINSON I can see your sadness. so. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to. ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. heart holds yours. SEMINOLE NURSERY . Hi. I'm using a new conditioner and. Anyway. Orlean approaches. Oy.. VINSON John's not here today. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola.. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. My * * * * * * .. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. She's taken.. His longblack hair is braided. He gently reaches out and touches it.. Thank you.pg.. is how I know.DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. ORLEAN Oh. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. A few Indians are hauling plants. His eyes are gentle. I washed it this morning. He's handsome.
DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. She winks at him. in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. 58 INT. hair combed. Preferred customer. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. Vinson smiles.pg. He touches her hand and heads back to work. watching Alice. It cuts right through her. ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. Just like that. completely present. immersed in the activity. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. grows right on a tree branch. It's not personal. Still * Thank you. He tenses as she comes up to him. I am. ain't I. ALICE Well. yeah. reading about orchids. That sounds great. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. It's the Indian way. She just stands there. sits nervously in a booth. He's so in love. muscles straining against his shirt. I'm just a sweetie. I hope. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . She watches him haul potted plants. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. She smiles warmly. KAUFMAN Yes.
Her warmth dissipates. I was also wondering. She smiles and turns to leave.. I'm just learning. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain.pg. still smiling. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert. Awkward pause. (CONTINUED) . I'm sorry.. KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. huh? Yeah. Alice turns back. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. so. KAUFMAN That's great. ALICE Well. KAUFMAN I apologize. um. Epiphytes grow on trees. 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 impressed. that's a lot. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. ALICE Wow. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. anyway. but they're not parasites. He beams. well -I'm sorry. ALICE Oh.
. copies something from her notebook onto the computer. one looks like an onion. ORLEAN (V. 59 INT. One has eyes that dance. NEW YORKER .MORNING Orlean. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) .. He is sick with adoration for the women. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW . colors.DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts. like a school teacher. personalities.. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. The other waitress brings his pie. at her desk.O.) (cont'd) .O.) . all glowing.O. some in garish clothing. who pay him no mind. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. I have to get out of here right now. I am old.. one looks like a gymnast. KAUFMAN (V. 60 EXT. ORLEAN (V. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. obligingly eats... One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin. Fuck the pie. ORLEAN (V. one looks like an octopus. They are dull. One species looks like a German shepherd.O.. He sweats. One looks..) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species.) I am fat.pg. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. He nods. The other waitress looks over at him. He forces himself to look. some in subtle clothing. He tries to study the flowers. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then.
love them madly. The way I like them. smiling at customers.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. war. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers.O. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. He does it fast and unintentionally. admiring a view. We see Alice serving food. We see murder and procreation. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. a shared look. We see old age and birth. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. 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. The entire sequence takes two minutes. I don't need to know what their jobs is. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. an arm slipped through an arm. He quickly shifts back to her face. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. We see the history of architecture. religion. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. commerce. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. I don't need to know them at all. * 63 * * * .DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. A million women walking down the street. eating meat. 63 INT.pg. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. Those love them. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid.
into which life was first breathed. it takes over your life. You'll see. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. Look at me. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. 66 INT.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. fondles its petals. BOOK-LINED STUDY . Hegel. 65 INT. 42 64 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. He finds The Portable Darwin. 66 . Kaufman paces and reads. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is. Uh-huh. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. Noisy chatter and calliope music.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. It's all I think about. SHOW HALL .O. plastic clowns. I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. DARWIN (V.pg.) 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. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel. fish.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. etc. mirror resilvering. ORLEAN I don't know. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin.
pg. thinking. Everyone thought he was a loon.proboscis means nose. Then.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. This isn't a pissing contest. sure enough. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. is so much larger than either of them.. 67 * 68 68 EXT. 43 67 INT.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. LAROCHE (V. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. And this attraction. But because of it. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. Crowds. Suddenly. The flower insists. this passion.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. MEADOW . Think about it.O.DAY Blasting music. It finds an orchid which it resembles. KAUFMAN We start before life. SHOW HALL . The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. Silence. 69 EXT.. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. the world lives. EMPTY BEDROOM .NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal. Neither understands the significance of this interaction.O. like a lover. by the way -. LAROCHE (V.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means. All is silent.
orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that.O. Right. You're supposed to. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V.) (cont'd) The insect. She is detached here as well. APARTMENT . In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals.DAY Orlean looks at Laroche. HUSBAND He's a great character. covered in pollen. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with them. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. 70 INT. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. No front teeth. that's a great detail. flies away. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT. jabber passionately. FEMALE GUEST Oh. Orlean nods.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. Once you learn anything about orchids. carry boxes of plants. buzzing around flowers. covered with pollen. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. Orlean looks at Laroche. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. One of those trailer guys. You have to. (CONTINUED) . not too educated. It's unexpected.pg. carries it off. SHOW HALL . stare deep into nectaries.
) What is it about people who collect.EARLY EVENING Orlean is at her desk.O. They smile at each other.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking..O. NEW YORKER OFFICES .S. She gets up and heads toward the bathroom. ORLEAN (V. As the words appear on her screen..NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) . but it isn't part of my constitution. 73 INT. ORLEAN (V. Susie gets to do a natural history thing. which she loves. 74 INT. Orlean cries and types.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants. but there's a terrible distance between them. HUSBAND (O.. who get obsessed with these..O.) . LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM .O.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror.pg. 72 INT. We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer screen. He's a sweaty mess.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. ORLEAN (V. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking. we hear them in voice-over. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V. but his voice goes under.. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So.. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background. BATHROOM .
we see the whole of human history: tool-making. evolved. No response from Kaufman. lust. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. It breaks every rule. He's all for originality. farming. See. so we must find our originality within that genre. religion. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. And the movie begins.. just like you! But he says.. He rewinds the recorder. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . and everyone laughs! But he's serious. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. too. in the last seconds of the montage. hunting. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. Yearning. we have to realize we all write in a genre. into the night. war. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . heaving with excitement. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. after the history of life on the planet. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. All is silent. Charles. Donald waits for a response. Then. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. adapted. You'd love him. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. This has never been attempted in a movie before. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. then.pg." As he listens. presses "play. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA.
) People started coming out of the woodwork. ORLEAN'S STUDY . did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. my wife. John. stare into space. browse. LAROCHE (V. too. LAROCHE (V. sits sadly for a moment. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. 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. She was beautiful. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. then types. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. Through an open door. One guy pulls Laroche aside.O. to admire my plants.O.pg.) I got married. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. to admire me. Say. We opened a nursery. From Peru. 47 76 INT. NURSERY . to ask me stuff. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . CUSTOMER #1 John. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. Laura was such a class act.
AGENT'S OFFICE . his full head of hair. Kaufman looks at Marty.pg. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. Marty smiles at him. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. they have no memory. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. She waves back. Orlean looks out at the dark night. They just move on to what's next. Hey. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. Orlean looks at him. it's almost shameful to adapt. People can't sometimes. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. 88 INT. it's easier for plants. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. maybe I can help. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. It's like running away.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. ORLEAN Well. keeps walking. VAN . After a long silence. 89 INT.NIGHT Laroche drives. For a person. Adaptation is a profound process. (CONTINUED) . I should've just stuck with my own stuff. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world.
I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now.. It's someone else's material. MARTY Look. (uncertain) I think they are. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. The book's a jumping off point. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review. The book has no story.. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. Oh man. I can't structure this. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time. He's funny. The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -. do something profound and simple." Blah blah blah.. Show people how amazing flowers are. Anyway." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . It's got that crazy plant nut guy. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know.. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about flowers. I wanted to grow as a writer. I have a responsibility. MARTY Make one up.pg. "No narrative really unites these passages. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. You're the king.
(CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN (V.DAY Kaufman. Buster. After a few moments. at the end of the day. He reads the page. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience.O. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter. smoking and ranting at Orlean. Reporters talk to video cameras. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. He lies there.) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder... talks to reporters. at his car. The judge is a moron. ejaculates. 89B EXT. alone in bed. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER .pg. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche. EMPTY BEDROOM . LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. COURTHOUSE .DAY A crowd of people. MARTY Charlie. I think it would be a terrible career move. 89A INT.
89C INT. A park official is being interviewed. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. I love to mutate plants. not even the goddamned Indians. flowers. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon.O. Okay. he says. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. So that's what we got 'em on. who I found so maddening.) Okay. It was all so maddening. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. ORLEAN Hence the branches.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. we open with Laroche.pg. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. goddamned Indians. Please don't put in I said. Indians. She sips iced tea. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. The rapid fire click-click of typing. the trial. RESTAURANT . especially Laroche. They were nailed on a technicality. KAUFMAN (V. Orlean. what with the protection the Native Americans have. Nobody's allowed to take those. He's funny. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear.that's funny. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. (CONTINUED) . I was mutated as baby. David's out of town. reads. I'm just hanging out.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. Just thought I could get some more info.. okay. 92 93 OMITTED INT. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V..O. opens it. ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. he says. Enthusiastic off-screen typing. I don't mean to bother you. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .. papers coffee cups. We show Laroche. ORLEAN (V. How about you? Nothing. Okay. EMPTY BEDROOM .) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . Okay we open at the beginning of time. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT..) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. They had to confront what a dark. John.. He picks up The Orchid Thief. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. ORLEAN Ah.pg. that's why I'm so smart.. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV.. ORLEAN Oh. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp. we show flowers. dense. overabundant place might have hidden in it.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. Orlean is silent for a moment. He peers through the darkness at the books. we have the court case.no.O. okay -91 INT. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem.
but sometimes bad things happen. his mother and uncle in back. and uncle out of the house. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . dad? His father doesn't respond. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. mother. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. MOTHER Amen.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. honey. his wife in front. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. We're finally pulling out of debt. This last year's been a dream. LAROCHE It was going well. Vishnu. LAROCHE'S CAR . his front teeth fly in all directions. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . His father watches TV. tell me. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. Orlean starts to tear up.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American car.pg. UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. 95 INT. 94 INT. Buddha. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. (CONTINUED) 95 * . Laroche smiles back at his mother. Darkness descends. Praise Allah.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. Uncle Jim. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. And all the rest of 'em. ORLEAN So. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. then gets professional to cover. I'm telling you. Laroche pulls into traffic.
Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. 98 EXT. jerking her forward and landing on top of her.DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass.pg. 97 INT. And then.NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. ORLEAN If I almost died. It's like a free pass. sits by his comatose wife. on the cordless phone. adding insult to injury. 96 EXT. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. 98A INT. Laroche. the hurricane destroyed my greenhouse. She regains control and flips it down to talk.DAY Laroche.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. in his mourning suit. and the green pulp that was once plant life. LAROCHE'S STOOP . wood. too. stares out at the street where the accident took place. No one can judge you if you almost died. I think I'd leave my marriage. 98B EXT. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. CEMETERY . LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. HOSPITAL ROOM . She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. STREET . (CONTINUED) . 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield.
She runs over and hugs him. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. MARGARET You hate me. sit.O. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. KAUFMAN I've been busy is all.pg. Hey. I can't figure out how to make it work. I took the job. MARGARET (cont'd) So. an expert. John. You don't call me no more. MARGARET (beat) Well. how's the script.) Everything. There's no story. sit. (CONTINUED) . I'm full of shit. 99 INT. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. to get their nursery going. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. Oh. PARTY HOUSE . LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . I understand.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. I know. He tries to duck but she spots him. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters. Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. Margaret. I wanted to do something amazing. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. I was gonna give them something amazing.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. I don't know. beer in hand. 98C INT. She's drunk.
It is a challenging one. Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder... KAUFMAN That'd be great. Davey. Kaufman and David shake hands. wow. God bless you for trying. Cool. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it. this is my friend David. I'll get Marg to send it to you. but. Man. MARGARET Hey you. (to Kaufman) Charlie. * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well. (CONTINUED) .. Boy. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. we should head. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. Oh. Hey.pg. DAVID No? I was fascinated. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. Hey. I had a piece about it in National Geographic.. Marg. story. A young man approaches. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. MARGARET No. Charlie.
hey. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . NEW YORKER OFFICE . sits there. but if it doesn't. but. I'm banned. put that in the article! 101 INT. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. 'Course. 102 INT. She dials the phone. I'll have something honest to give the world. Hey. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. Hey. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. She kisses his ear. dangerous. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. EMPTY BEDROOM .CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. Donald. You're the best. I'd like you to take me. man. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. 100 INT. hand on Margaret's ass. I don't know if it'll kill me. Goddamn crucified me.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. as dense as steel wool. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. Yeah. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * ." Orlean closes the book. 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. And you are amazing. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase.pg.
Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around.O. Full of monstrous alligators.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension. AIRPLANE . SWAMP . where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp. alligators. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger.O.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. sweetie. 105 INT. 104B INT.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. DONALD Charles. Hey. So. STUDIO APARTMENT ." Donald looks up from his work.pg. 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. AIRPLANE . I'm putting a song in. God. I'm so glad to be home. impracticable. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. try to think of a song about multiple personality. ORLEAN (V. counted fifty and stopped.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. 104A EXT.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief.
She sighs contentedly. The stewardess slips out of her blazer. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. About that. Five or six.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. probably in the world.. She regards Kaufman blankly. pulls up his pants.O. unbuttons her blouse. He heads up the aisle. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. Five to six thousand years old. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . adjusts himself. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . SWAMP . Okay..pg. 106 INT. I've waited all day to feel you inside me. RENTAL CAR . tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. which is completely dry. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. ORLEAN (V. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. AIRPLANE .MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast.) 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. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. then goes back to her conversation. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. One of the stewardesses laughs.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. He tenses. He takes notes. 107 INT. and exits the bathroom. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. stands. Kaufman. takes his seat.
holds a phone to her ear.NIGHT Orlean types. there's usually water. She glances at her husband. four and a half.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. KAUFMAN Um. three to five miles wide. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. She sighs. HOTEL ROOM . why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. Good for us today. It's about twenty miles long. across the room reading a book. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face. It was sweltering. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger.pg.. ORLEAN (V.O. There were snakes and alligators. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. it's twenty miles long. or nineteen. We've been going through a bit of a drought. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. and right here it's about five miles wide.. And I had this thought. again. I called Laroche. ORLEAN (V. continues typing.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. MIKE OWEN Well. black water. 120 INT. So.O.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. five. nineteen. 120 . nineteen to twenty.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach.
HOTEL ROOM .O. 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ".pg.. KAUFMAN (V.) . 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief.. ORLEAN Yeah. ORLEAN Thanks very much. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. RESTAURANT .'" VALERIE (O. Really unique. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean. ORLEAN Well. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me.. VALERIE It's funny and fresh. * VALERIE We're big fans. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat. is on the phone. (CONTINUED) . dirty from the swamp.) Beautifully written.NIGHT Orlean.clears throat) Jesus Christ. He finds himself lost in it. He hi-lites the passage. 124 INT. PLANE . then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me.C. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT. fleeting and out of reach. Thank you. thanks. Laroche is such a fun character. And sad in a way. 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT. John's a character all right. Thank you.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd..
These things mostly never get made. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in .DAY 127 * * Laroche. * 126 VALERIE Y'know.DAY 128 * * * EXT. the nursery lot. um. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. VAN . Random House wants me to expand it into a book. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. Florida Seminole reservation. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. but seems to be enjoying herself now. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. Orlean is charmed.pg. more orchids. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. we'd really like to option this. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. Orlean holds on. ORLEAN More John. So I'll be doing that. 127 INT. (CONTINUED) .
pg. Orlean moves the junk over. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. John. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . I'll take acting classes. yes! Yeah. TRAILER . looks at some papers on his desk. Before Orlean can respond. Buster." That's a good title for the movie. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. Back! (hangs up) Hey. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. Now it's "Crazy White Man. While you write. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. shares the seat with it. I'll study the shit out of acting. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. 129 INT. He waits. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door.
. BUSTER Listen. Simple plant multiplication for the masses.I got lot's of ideas. what she can to make herself invisible. VAN . I been meaning to talk to you about that. sell 'em at a profit. There are tears welling in her eyes. Buy little ones. BUSTER No kidding. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. Laroche looks back at Buster. turn 'em into big ones. Her heart is breaking for him. Buster stares back.. so all the dead shrubs. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN I'll wait outside.pg. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. He glances over at Orlean. Buster. So if it's a question of productivity -.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. humiliated in front of her. No. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. Orlean holds on. The sprinklers were busted for a while. I'm really excited about. BUSTER John. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. Laroche stops short. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. we're not closing shop. the guys on my crew here. It's fixed. But I got it fixed. all they do is smoke weed all day. we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks.
) ORLEAN . empty. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM .) I'm no longer interested in orchids. PHONE BOOTH . The room looks sad. If they fire me. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT. Don't just abandon me down here. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. LAROCHE (O.pg.. 131 132 OMITTED INT. Crazy White Man's bad publicity. LAROCHE (O.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book.. it's Susan.C.. I'll sue. Oooh. I already did some legal research on this. We don't see Laroche at all. Crazy. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John. And I ain't going to quit. They can't fire me.. crazy white man. Orlean dials the phone. Look. Susan who? LAROCHE (O. He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. There is nothing on the walls. and anonymous. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence.C. I'm pursuing other avenues. * .C. It rings for a long time.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone.
talks to various orchid enthusiasts. how perfect. but it's a teenager's room now. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. On the walls are posters of Dylan. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT.O. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. She is bored and distracted.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON. visits nurseries.NIGHT 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. a tampax box. ORLEAN Goddamnit. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. Then I cried. make-up. 66 134 INT. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. And I thought. sits in lecture halls. her journalist persona on.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. There is no one to call. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. Laroche hangs up. a NOW button. TEENAGE GIRL (V.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. on the floor are records and books. so beautiful. Susan. HOTEL ROOM . attends orchid shows. I couldn't stop. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. She flips through her address book. 137A INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM . On the dresser. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult. Orlean stands there for a moment. infant eyes. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. OHIO. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. At one point. She is so pure. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. A blonde. (CONTINUED) . it's starting already. so present.pg. PHONE BOOTH . lonely and lost.
VINSON Sure thing. ORLEAN Yeah. Yeah. There's Vinson's phone number. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. I'll speak to you in the morning. okay. Let me call you in the morning. 137C INT. I was just fascinated with this story and. She picks up. y'know. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. HOTEL BAR . okay. Not really. how..A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. He saunters over and sits. Uh-huh. Um. 137B INT. honey. Vinson enters. VINSON I don't know.No. y'know. After a few moments. hon. eyes herself in the mirror.pg. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi.. ORLEAN Um. all the Native American aspects and.LATER 137B Orlean. HOTEL ROOM . this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. After a long beat she dials the phone. She sips a glass of champagne. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. what was it like for you. It must've been crazy! Boy. Hey. (CONTINUED) . There's a silence. dolled-up. So. anxiously gets ready to go out. Work good? Good. it might be late. thanks for coming.. plays with her hair.. She waves. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. Yeah.. This should be really helpful. her trembly fingers. um.. The phone rings. large the scope was and. Okay.
Vinson is different than the last time she met him. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 ... we can talk here. so I thought it would be helpful. He barely looks at her. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. No. DONALD How was Florida.. if -Ah. typing furiously at his desk. I just -. look.pg.. DONALD Hey. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. Orlean is at a loss.. Gosh. EMPTY HOUSE ... I apologize.. No. She finishes her drink. Donald. Y'know. ORLEAN Oh. looks up. no. here. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back.Did I -communicate something? No. I just wanted to get some. fuck. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. for me. ORLEAN (cont'd) . VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen.this seems fine. I think we can -. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. do you want to get laid or not. um. ORLEAN Oh. Native American. She's shaking. Um. he seems bored and impatient.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. um. Orlean just sits there. 138 139 OMITTED INT.
Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. They look at each other. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. did exactly that. EMPTY BEDROOM . I got a song! "Happy Together. DONALD Cool. Donald. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . He looks over at the clock. it's just good writing technique. Mixed genres. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self. his eyes darting back and forth. It's 3:32. sweating. Kaufman disappears upstairs. I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. slept in a week.pg.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. but Bob says Casablanca. Okay. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. DONALD You shouldn't have done that.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. Good night. 141 142 OMITTED INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . smiles. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. (types. one of the greatest screenplays ever written. I've posted one over both our work areas. Donald breaks the tension. DONALD No. 140 INT. then:) Oh. (lies down on floor) Hey.
KAUFMAN (V. flips through it. I can't sleep. KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. Focus on one thing in the story.O. Kaufman switches on a lamp. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. sad insights. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. begins to jerk off. You've written a beautiful book. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. Donald is no longer in the room. He looks at the still smiling photo. So true. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. melancholy face. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. making love. He stares at the photo. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. heaving. Whittle it down. The photo smiles warmly at him.pg. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size. Kaufman closes his eyes. It talks. smiling author photo. Its smile broadens. Kaufman flips to the glowing. He's in love. Kaufman studies her delicate. I'm losing my hair. It seems somehow sleepy now. Charlie. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. too many directions to go. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. You're not. She smiles at him throughout. too. They finish. He reads one. (CONTINUED) . pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed.
It's like a * CAROLINE God. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper. fragile. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up. We hear her voice-over. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. Morning. skinny as a stick. delicate. in his underwear. too. 143 INT.. flirty smile) I figured there might be something. typing at her desk. KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. smiles. enters with Caroline.pg. haunted by loneliness. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. CAROLINE Really." Donald. KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. hey. The killer flees on horseback with the girl. this morning. really good ones. Hey. KITCHEN ....MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. you guys are so smart! brain factory here. beautiful. sees Caroline with Donald. I'm good.
NOW button.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. peasant blouse. KAUFMAN (V. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband." 149 EXT. man. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph.O.pg. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . Thanks. right? DONALD Hey. EMPTY BEDROOM . The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box.A. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. At him? 150 INT. women snicker. EMPTY BEDROOM . DONALD Thanks. Bergman's Persona. it sounds exciting. why am I here? She thinks. who is this man? She thinks. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. STREET . He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. L. that's the big pay-off. Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. distraught. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. Like technology versus horses. She thinks. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses.
pg. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. It's intimate. get to merge our thoughts. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. I love that. I'm finding you. The phone rings. and how it forever scars the little girl. 151 * * * * 152 INT. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. like a marriage. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . KITCHEN . It now looks warm and inviting. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. 73 151 INT. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. She kisses him on the cheek. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. Her drunken mother enters. sits on young Susan's bed and cries. 152 153 INT. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. her mother's disappointment at life.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. We see the loneliness of her childhood. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. EMPTY BEDROOM . ORLEAN Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. Kaufman is immensely pleased. He smiles at Orlean's photo.
Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow.pg. How's everything going? Good.. Charlie. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. well. I'll let her know. Tell her I said that. uh-huh. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. All color drains from Kaufman's face. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair. y'know. As she sees fit. Just bugging you again.. before I finish.. KAUFMAN I think really good now. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. Great.. Okay.. Good. Say I think she's a great writer. It's Valerie. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date.. KAUFMAN Um. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. So. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi. for me it's distracting to.. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you..
It's still smiling.) She thinks I'm repulsive. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . Just keep us posted.pg. EMPTY BEDROOM . 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. 155 INT. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. She glances over in his direction. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. Okay. doubles over. I'm completely selfinvolved. Kaufman storms in. KAUFMAN Nice talking to you. mocking the seriousness of what I do. sips coffee and skims a magazine.O. It's not glowing. KAUFMAN (V. like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you. Maybe it's even smirking. holding his stomach. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. 154 INT. Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up. Kaufman paces frantically. Caroline. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall.O. 156 INT. 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. on the floor.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. She looks through him. EMERGENCY ROOM . She thinks. but not at him. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Charlie. He smiles. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. KAUFMAN (V.
And I was hoping. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. naked women adorn the walls. John! .) Movie opens. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. "I am old. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . yeah. Charlie Kaufman. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. It's fascinating. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good.NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. HOTEL ROOM . how's it going? 161A INT. Oh.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. I know. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. fat. paces. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. look. His voice-over carpets the scene.O. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. but I still haven't seen a ghost. I am fat. bald." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. old. I'm doing pornography. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah.pg. I'll take you in.
DONALD I don't think so. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. Because at the end when he forces the woman. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. Donald appears in the doorway with a script. like. It was very helpful. I changed it a little. The cassette player plays. doesn't say anything. But. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface.NIGHT Kaufman types. to eat herself. 77 162 INT. DONALD I don't know what that means. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. EMPTY BEDROOM . jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. who's really him. (CONTINUED) * * * .pg. It's. he's also eating himself to death. Also. repugnant. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. I wanted to thank you for your idea. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. ridiculous. anyway. DONALD I finished my script. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi.
That's what I have to do. It's solipsistic. Charles. Orlean is tense. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. I'm Ourobouros. You're an artist. It's pathetic. 163 164 OMITTED INT. DONALD I don't know what that word means. Oh. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. Because I suck. paying little attention to the road. I'm fat and pathetic. he lazily corrects it. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel. Because I can't make flowers fascinating.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. Charles. So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . Because I'm pathetic. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent. Because I have no idea how to write.pg. I'm eating myself. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. The car veers onto the shoulder. That's it. It's narcissistic. It looks hot. CAR . DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. DONALD That's kinda weird. It's eating itself. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. I'm pathetic. DONALD Hey. I'll meet her.
Birds screech. We couldn't find one. Bees. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. Gnats and mosquitoes bite. Things slither past in the water. LAROCHE Here we go. SWAMP . Laroche lights a cigarette. They drive in silence for a little while. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT.O. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . walks along. desolate. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. I never thought many people in the world were like John. But my mom said.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. (CONTINUED) . We walked for hours. Laroche points to a yellow flower. y'know. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. if you keep searching for something past doubt. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. The ground is soft. and dragonflies hover. I wanted to turn back.) He made it sound like a Bible story. past hopelessness. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. Encyclia tempensis. sun blasted. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii. something to pursue. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. there it'll be.pg. Frogs croak.DAY Kaufman. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. Something big runs by in the distance. rather than abide an ordinary life. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. not an aberration -.most for something exceptional. ORLEAN (V. John. So we walked. 164A EXT. They sink to their knees. even at their peril. sweaty and anxious. the hopeful journey through darkness into light.
pg. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. Orlean looks at him blankly. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. ELEVATOR . frizzed hair. The doors open. 169 170 OMITTED INT. But I'm no snob. The elevator arrives at the lobby. Just follow me. . The elevator continues up. Kaufman hesitates. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid. Not just pretty ones. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. Orlean laughs appreciatively. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. 172 171 * * EXT. scraped. Orlean gets out. LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. NEW YORK CITY STREET . The doors close. Uh-huh. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. 171 EXT.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. I'm interested in all orchids.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. I'll show you every orchid you want today. Kaufman sweats. SWAMP . You know that. 172 Kaufman follows her. It stops a few times. people get off and on. I found you two already. dirty. and faces front. Kaufman sweats. Orlean is a sweaty mess. Kaufman is panicked. anxious. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. isn't it? Orlean examines it.DAY Orlean walks along. That's an ugly-ass orchid. presses "lobby". studies the back of her head. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. Kaufman hates himself. Nobody gets off or on. This time Orlean gets on.
stop. KAUFMAN (V. HOTEL ROOM . Kaufman sits a few tables away. KAUFMAN (V. hysterical. swings them wildly.O. LAROCHE We're not lost. yanks the sheets from the bed. ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. Interesting! 174 EXT. KAUFMAN (V. drinks iced tea. Good character details. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb. reading Vanity Fair.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself.O.) (cont'd) Likes tuna.NOON Orlean follows Laroche. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes. She watches him start off in one direction. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean. He paces.pg.) Reads Vanity Fair.O. The waitress nods and leaves. Thanks.O. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * . then go in another direction. 175 INT.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. He scribbles in his notebook. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. tries to tear them. RESTAURANT . 81 173 INT. KAUFMAN (V. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress. SWAMP . He's frustrated.
KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. Two fucking talented guys in one family. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. Oh. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. edgy thriller. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. Y'know. it's Marty. buddy. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. heaves. KAUFMAN I gotta go. He answers it. still holding the glass. Good. KAUFMAN Marty. I have an appointment. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought. It's been okay. don't say that.pg. Best script I've read this year. (CONTINUED) . fair enough. Um. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. The phone rings. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. bends to pick up the broken glass. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. I mean.
Without looking at Orlean. He stretches his legs. I'll just set this up. (CONTINUED) . 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. He pokes around on the ground for something. LAROCHE (cont'd) A sundial. SWAMP . it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. Laroche looks down at it.pg. her fists clench into balls. wait a few minutes. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. stares at it. knocks over the twig. Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. She stares at him. sees her staring at him. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. Orlean takes a cracker. he puts the twig back. Rage and panic sweep across her face. LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. LAROCHE Well. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. This relaxes Laroche. He won't look at her. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. amigo. She looks at Laroche. He looks up at her. We want to be heading southeast. It is so. comes up with a straight twig. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing.
I am just one more old. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. balding. Whenever everything's killing me. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. 84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. . we have to get out as long as we walk straight.) I am fat. 177 178 OMITTED EXT. I just say to myself. can't write. look. They rise. I mean. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. There's a sadness. logically. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . overweight men wandering the streets also. Orlean is stony.O. fuck the sundial. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush. fat. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. Out of here. 179 EXT. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. He eyes other sad-looking.pg. SWAMP .DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. I am old. I am repulsive. some dark fantasy plays out in her brain. bald man on the street. Laroche seems unaware. 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. and go straight ahead.MORNING Kaufman wanders. screw it. KAUFMAN (V. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay.
180 He 181 * * 181 INT. I am a loser.. 182 INT.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead..) I have failed. KAUFMAN (V. First.. walks toward it. LOBBY . * * MCKEE So. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. last.) I am pathetic. NYC STREET . AUDITORIUM . I am fat. except for Kaufman who looks pained.. a mic clipped to his lapel. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room.pg. and always the imperative is too tell a story.O. I am worthless. Kaufman waits in line. The audience laughs. I am panicked. (CONTINUED) * .O. glowing in the sun. 85 180 EXT. KAUFMAN (V. 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. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. I am fat. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. I. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. I have sold out. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes.
Kaufman sweats. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. The audience members take copious notes." writes the guy on the other side. startled. sloppy writing.O. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. when storytelling goes bad in a society. 183 INT. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here.. (deadpan) Well.) It is my weakness. AUDITORIUM . because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. Easy answers. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. just look around you. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. (CONTINUED) . my friends. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. McKee seems to watching him. I should leave here right now... and God help you if you use voiceover in your work. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement.. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke. Kaufman looks up. KAUFMAN (V. "Any idiot. "Flaccid.pg. the result is decadence." writes the guy on one side of him. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE . Aristotle said. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. Well. And here I am... 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated.
energetic as ever. A long speech in a script. AUDITORIUM . one hour for lunch. Writers are not tape recorders.pg. 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. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is. NYC STREET . There is no sound. wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. 184 EXT. MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. but still attentive. The Greeks called it stykomythia -. AUDITORIUM . And that's an important point.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience.LATER 185 186 * It's late. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. Kaufman wanders by himself.who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. We are not recreating life on the screen. Now Kaufman takes serious notes.the rapid exchange of ideas. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. There's not a person in this world -. Real people are not interesting. say a page long. His face is troubled. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid. holding a cup of coffee. McKee. The audience is tired. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. 185 186 OMITTED INT.and I include myself in this -. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT.
He turns. 188 INT. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. HOTEL . MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. sits in the back. Remember. sips his coffee. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. collapsing it. That's it for tonight. with dark circles under his eyes. It's silent and tense. 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically. There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. bleary-eyed.MORNING Kaufman. they don't have any epiphanies. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. 190 INT. then. Aristotle rises to stretch. A violent fight ensues. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. where people don't change. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM .DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other. Kaufman can't get out of the way.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * . giggles a little. AUDITORIUM . Kaufman. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. Out of nowhere.pg. He walks around the table.
carrying his brown leather bag. right. leaning against the building. MCKEE Oh. my friend. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. McKee emerges. NYC STREET . tired Kaufman approaches him. okay. then you.pg. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. 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. A shaky. Kaufman waits. Mr. Nice to see you. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. 191 EXT. you'll bore your audience to tears. thanks. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. 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. (CONTINUED) .
.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight. It's about my choices as a human being. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk. I don't meet people well. ORLEAN (V. looking only straight ahead. and there. ORLEAN (V. BAR . then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. MCKEE I'm sorry..pg. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. KAUFMAN Mr.O. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. my even standing here is very scary. MCKEE I could use a drink. Soon there is silence. SWAMP . we could see the gleam of a fender. Kaufman closes the book. ORLEAN (V.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. all the way to the road. far down the diagonal of the levee. Please.O. McKee. my friend. McKee hesitates for a moment. There's a pause..O.. KAUFMAN . 193 INT. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. 192 EXT.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose.
I'm way past my deadline. Find an ending. I can't go back. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret. eyes Kaufman. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. (beat) That's not a movie. (CONTINUED) . 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. tedious movie. and you've got a hit.pg. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. My twin brother Donald. He's the one who got me to come. You can have an uninvolving. acts. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. McKee recognizes his bulk. The last act makes the film. It's about disappointment. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the story. I wanted to present it simply. Kaufman hugs him. McKee sips his beer. but wow them at the end. Do that and you'll be fine. * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did.
MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. Caroline giggles in the background. tries to read Story. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. sits at his desk and writes.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. He rubs his temples. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. like Darwin before him. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters.pg. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. HOTEL ROOM . They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. 196 INT. Donald. dials the phone.who wrote Casablanca were twins.O.) Climax.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. (CONTINUED) . A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. HOTEL ROOM . 196A INT. 194 INT. MCKEE'S OFFICE . 195 INT. Listen.NIGHT McKee. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Julius and Philip Epstein. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. MCKEE (V.
Caroline. (CONTINUED) . 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. HOTEL ROOM . Donald. please. and Donald laugh. KEENER (O. 196B INT. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great. tipsy) Oh. I've been thinking. It's been a wild ride. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. like.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. KAUFMAN Yeah. taking this all in.. look. Donald.C. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help.pg. please. high-sixes against a mill-five. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. please.. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. Um. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. She's great. We're playing Boggle. DONALD C'mon. long moment. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. You should hang out with her.
is quiet. Okay. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up. Charles. huh? Sorry.pg. Donald finishes. KAUFMAN I was trying something. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God. too.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. Like what? DONALD I don't know. KAUFMAN So. HOTEL ROOM . what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. Y'know. We're different talents. if you like. KAUFMAN Good. It's funny. subtext. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. Maybe you could read it. The great Donald. KAUFMAN I know. I -- DONALD Hey. yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some people. Y'know. Kaufman paces. Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. man. I don't mind. like. Just for fun. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. I'm thinking. So.
. KAUFMAN Really.. Charles. KAUFMAN I don't know. You're reaching. To know her. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman. DONALD Is she? I mean. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. Someone's got to talk to her. look. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. KAUFMAN For God's sake. I can't.pg. I have a reputation to maintain. That's inconsistent." (looks up) First of all. (picks up Orchid Thief. I'll go. she said she didn't care about flowers. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book. DONALD Maybe. but. yes. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. and the flower is so marvelous you can't believe there was a time all you saw in front of you was a paper ball and a glass of water. it's just a metaphor. DONALD Pretend I'm you. You can't be a goofball. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. of course she's that. (CONTINUED) . * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. You can't be an asshole.
mumbles under his breath. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. Donald. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. By definition. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. You spend a lot of time together. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. dressed as Charlie. No bad jokes. But the relationship ends when the book ends. sits across from her. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. if you write a couple more books. Donald scribbles. DONALD So. No flirting. In the subtext. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. Thanks. Don't laugh how you laugh. 198 INT. you could become a pretty good writer. He said. It's an honor. "You know. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . (CONTINUED) * * * * .pg. doing his best serious writer impression. I get to have people think I'm you. I mean. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. I was very interested in everything he had to say.
Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. I have an idea. just one more question. 199 Donald * * * INT. Einstein or Jesus. watches TV. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . DONALD She was nervous. stares out the window. dressed as Charlie. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. She said all the right things. That's a prepackaged answer.pg. Okay. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. enters..DAY Kaufman paces.. Charles. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. ORLEAN I'd have to say. She's lying. Too right. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing. And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. living or dead. Very good. HOTEL ROOM . You need to buy me a pair of binoculars.
is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. Orlean waits as the phone rings. who just stares at him.NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the door. Sadly. A conversation ensues. want to be doing this. KAUFMAN Well. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . (talking) C'mon. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . I do. DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you.pg.) She's upset.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer.S. window with binoculars. picks up a pen. and sings and dances around Kaufman. becoming more and more agitated. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. KAUFMAN Let's go. (CONTINUED) 201 . DONALD (O. Leave. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. Let's go. She closes her office door. holds it like a microphone.
pg. 202 She starts to cry. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . 202 * 201 INT. Tomorrow morning.) Stop watching her. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys." 203 INT. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. She's at her computer. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend. DONALD United to Miami. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Don't tell my old lady. I thought she was done with Laroche. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. She hung up the phone.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story. HOTEL ROOM . Heh heh. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. Research.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. DONALD That was no parent phone call.S. my friend. DONALD She's crying. who watches through binoculars. Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. DONALD Anyway. Leave her alone. Orlean looks out her window. 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. Donald. I'm gonna look at it.
Donald parks up the street. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. nervous. DONALD I'll get a closer look. keeping up with the van. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami tomorrow. baby. middle-class house. Orlean seems different now: more exotic.pg. You wait here. Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. naked photo of Orlean. Kaufman and Donald drive by.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. SUBURBAN STREET . the van speeds off.LATER 206 Donald follows.A BIT LATER Donald drives. incredulously at it. No. oh yeah. Orlean gets in. 206 EXT. RENTAL CAR . DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. KAUFMAN I said. DONALD I said. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. which speeds and swerves through traffic. Forget it. Hey. Kaufman is sweaty. guess what? We're going to Miami. goes over to the computer. gets out. 205 INT. posed but awkward. Told ya. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. C'mere. 204 INT. Donald behind the wheel. (CONTINUED) * . CAR . The beat-up white van pulls up. no.
. oblivious. I mean. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window. have slipped. tips over.. drags him into the house. I should go. Orlean pulls away giggling. Laroche waits patiently. Orlean. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house.) Darlin'. You the man. ORLEAN Who's that. bro. Laroche cuts him off. undressing each other. Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off. ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. The chair slides across the floor..S. kissing. 207 INT. Orlean and Laroche are laughing. He slinks around back. Donald gets Kaufman's script. in. Wrong house. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house.. it should be me. right? I mean..pg. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. locks eyes with Kaufman. I'm just.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. Orlean studies Kaufman. snorts some lines of green powder. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Laroche glances at the window. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. There's movement in a window in ducks. continues to rub herself. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just. How did he find me. nobody.. peruses house. HOUSE . He adjusts them. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. Kaufman gets out of the car. it's my. looks in. crawls to the coffee table. DONALD Go for it.
* * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. of course not. Orlean tries to focus. Laroche begins to write his phone number. it was nice to meet you. Let me give you my number. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. Did you follow me? I should go. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse.pg. John. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. don't let him leave. Well. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. dude. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. ORLEAN Shit. 'kay? Kaufman does. (CONTINUED) . Orlean rises. ORLEAN I'm freaking. LAROCHE Okay.I don't know that. Kaufman rises. Laroche looks at Susan. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -.
I was just -. 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.pg. I'm almost done. gestures to herself. Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. Hold him. ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . She talks to herself for a while. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. She looks up. LAROCHE I believe him. I don't know. Orlean massages her temples. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. Suze. I'm pretty clear on the structure. LAROCHE Oh. anyway. right? LAROCHE Good point. he's researching his script. Kaufman rises.
Thank you. we can't kill anyone. LAROCHE (O. He listens. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. Kaufman gets in.) Susie. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. LAROCHE Yeah. I can't have people -.all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the closet. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while.S. deliberate) Susie. 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. INT.pg. Charlie. * (CONTINUED) . you need to calm down. * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. 208 Laroche closes the door. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry. CLOSET . okay. I have to think. I understand. LAROCHE I'm sorry.
holes here. ORLEAN (O.S.S.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche. turns it on.pg. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun. Donald watches the goings-on. Laroche turns it off. in close-up. in close-up.) Then what? Everyone will find out. in close-up. The bartender shakes a drink. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . LAROCHE (O. chews her fingernail and cries. Johnny. his pants fall down. 209 INT.S. descends the basement stairs. Laroche and Orlean.S. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. There's a long sweaty silence. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . blurry.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O. 208A INT.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. She glances down at his off-screen hand. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. Kaufman inhales sharply. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. He passes behind her.) Protect me.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. a little hysterically. large. 208B INT.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. He sifts through a cardboard box. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head. pacing foreground figures.S.) I think you just stick them in. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb.S. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. BASEMENT . occasionally pass between Donald and the camera. Please. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . his face lights up red.
S. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. LAROCHE (O.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned.) Okay. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O. She skims Kaufman's screenplay.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. ORLEAN (O. like he was doing research. 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.S. KAUFMAN It's a story. Orlean sits next to him. I didn't really do it. um.) I. KAUFMAN (O. that's sort of creepy. KAUFMAN Look.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. ORLEAN Hey. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock. holding a gun. I'm really just interested in orchids. suburban Miami neighborhood.S.) Of course he does.S. KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something.S. RENTAL CAR . I don't care what you're doing.) You have a car. 210 INT. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . They drive in silence. I -ORLEAN (O. no.S. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph." Jesus. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp. That sounds like a real thing that could happen. God.pg. there's an image I could do without.
I do. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. KAUFMAN Look. Charlie-boy. We can forget I ever came here. KAUFMAN We can turn around. Bully for you. ORLEAN Yeah. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. you don't have to kill me." Orlean laughs derisively. Get a cup of coffee. KAUFMAN You can laugh. It was orchids. this isn't easy for me either. but I didn't make that up.pg. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. It's sad. ORLEAN Listen. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. if you don't tell me. We can do whatever you want. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. Chill. I'll sign anything. From a weirdo with no teeth. I'll tell you the truth now. Can we do that? We can talk this out. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. I know. And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. ORLEAN (considers) No. That's a quote from your book. I'm laughing at who I used to be.
. About the ghost.. They drive in silence. Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. No reaction. LAROCHE (V. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee. my porn site is gonna be big. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. LAROCHE Might as well grab it. long as I'm here. . Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag. ORLEAN It's a flower. I want to tell you.DAY Laroche drives. can't. circles it.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look.. stands there awestruck. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan. something I didn't tell you. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER .DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp.. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. 108 211 EXT. VAN . I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you.pg. I want you to know this. I went back one night to pick up something. 211A INT.) I'd just started up the nursery. okay? I know you're going through some shit.. I think this might help you. SWAMP . Orlean stares out the window. It's just a flower. but some of the Indians. 211B EXT.. It wasn't my thing. He spots something on a tree.O.
ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V. It seems to help people be. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. I want to do this.DAY Orlean seems interested now. too. Oh. like I told you. My hair. Some stare off.O. Jesus. but the young guys. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. I think you'd like it. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids. 109 211C INT. One sings to himself. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. fascinated. 211D INT. My sadness. That's what I wanted to tell you. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. your sadness is fascinating to me. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug. LAROCHE It does that.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room...pg. VAN . It had been a ceremonial thing. As I said. . Susie. Two of the men make out. they liked to get stoned. I know how. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. but -Vinson. TRAILER BACK ROOM . Y'know. I watched. they ran out. Vinson lived on that shit. A bunch of young. stoned Indian men. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. Laroche.
Yeah. Orlean hangs up. hon.O. picks up the baggie. He needs to hear how you feel. Okay. a little tipsy. ORLEAN I was so sad that night. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. I didn't know. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. reviews some notes. 211F INT. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. stares at it.) I went down to the bar. Something. ORLEAN (V. 211I INT. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you.NIGHT So drained. you should.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. This must be her room. All right then.NIGHT 211H Orlean.pg. HOTEL ROOM . A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. rolls it up. trying to remember her room number. HOTEL BAR . Friday. talks on the phone. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. He's pasty white with fear. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. (CONTINUED) . puts it down. picks it up. 211H INT. Her name is written on it. paces.NIGHT Kaufman drives. Maybe I could get laid. 211G INT. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. You too. sniffs inside. if you're not going to let me go. Please. you should. let me be. The place is empty. He's barely listening. HOTEL HALLWAY . RENTAL CAR . There's a small package outside one door. hovers over the green powder. 110 211E INT. pours some onto the glass-topped desk.
Ms. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. I figured. tries to feel something.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. 211L INT. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. How exquisite! She cries. She giggles. sucks it.) (CONT'D) I figured. It's so beautiful. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. She snorts a small amount. doesn't. rolls it around in her fingers. She feels nothing. what the fuck. who really cares about anything anymore. She snorts the rest. She tries to sing along with it. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. the colors. dully watches herself in the mirror. sniffs it. 211K INT. on the scrubbing sound. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. She tugs at a strand. 211J INT. stands again. stands. She watches her grinning face with love. HOTEL ROOM .pg. 211M INT. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. holding the phone to her ear. HOTEL BATHROOM . She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. I figured. She tries to open the window for a better look. what the hell. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. HOTEL ROOM . Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. HOTEL ROOM . discovers it does not open. She bends in to the mirror for a better look.O. She sighs. listening to the dial tone. She's never seen anything more beautiful.
ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator..pg. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) . would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours. ORLEAN Thank you so much! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * SECOND OPERATOR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OPERATOR Good night. ma'am. Orlean dials again. Operator.. to you. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. Okay. eight to five-thirty. ORLEAN Well. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. It's so pretty. ORLEAN Good night. ma'am. SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my.? ORLEAN In your dial tone. 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. ma'am.
all the time. She listens to it. LAROCHE She studies her feet. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. John. I'm glad. I'm very happy now. There's a pause. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. ORLEAN John. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. forgets to pick up the phone. . LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. ORLEAN Johnny. Finally she remembers. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. There's a pause. pitch. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out.pg. Hello? Hi. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. that would be so helpful. The phone rings. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. She imitates a dial tone. stares at the ceiling. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh.
ORLEAN Huh. too? Yes. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. LAROCHE They will be. .pg. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. Okay. Do you like socks. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. I think toes should be with their fellows. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. I do. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice.
212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. Here. on the phone. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. just like you. y'know. RENTAL CAR . Nobody liked me. We're twins.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. HOTEL ROOM . 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go. too. someone would come around and just. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. but not talking. Johnny. except someone else. Kaufman stares straight ahead. KAUFMAN I don't want to die. She stares out the window at the early morning light. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. Please think about what you're doing. understand me. Like my mom. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . But I had this idea if I waited long enough. I'm a person. ORLEAN We spoke all night.pg. 212B INT.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor.
she'd look at me. Or fantasizing about someone else.NIGHT Kaufman drives. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. John. She glances past Laroche at the moon. 212C INT. RENTAL CAR . Orlean is flabbergasted. I was just there.pg. then at Laroche's straining face. 212D INT. She remains silent. back on the book. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. I couldn't care. ORLEAN Back in New York. They pass very few cars now. . Not like that. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. pale and sweaty. She pulls him to her and kisses him. anyway. The back doors are open. and quietly say. Orlean looks with love at these items. lost in her story. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. It'd send someone. a bag of soil. I couldn't focus. I won't go back. The junk is pushed to the sides. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. Laroche starts to cry.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. just like that. Back. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. You will not take this away. Laroche seems clumsy. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. Orlean smiles. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. VAN . Alive. Adapting. who stares straight ahead. "yes".
LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. I like you. ORLEAN So. like a beacon. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene. is why.NIGHT Orlean paces. but we should introduce this to the general public. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . it ain't controlled.. Make a shitload of change.. if I do say. Orlean lies on the grass outside. all the way to the road. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. She types at the computer standing up. (back to business) The cool part is. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant. A Laroche kind of plan. (dials phone) Yeah. The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. There are no other cars.. The sun is warm on her skin. 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. (MORE) (CONTINUED) .DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids.pg. 117 212E INT. hi. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. and we followed it. They're very shiny. I need a ticket to Miami. transfixed by a colony of ants. darlin'...NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. Done. RENTAL CAR .. Suze. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. LAROCHE Well.. 214 INT.. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD .
215 EXT. 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. getting some equipment. LOGGING ROAD . gun on him. wild-eyed. ORLEAN Come around. hitting her and sending her flying. 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. blocking him in. trip over unseen vines.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. he sees Donald. on the floor in the back.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. searching for flashlights. please. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging road. We call it "Passion. ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. Laroche is in the rear of his van. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. SWAMP . Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. 218 EXT. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. JANES SCENIC DRIVE .pg. We see the lovely Coke can. Kaufman does. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. Laroche parks behind. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . Donald swings open the back right passenger door.
* * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp.) That's all I could tell. And you're not gonna die. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. I've wasted it. I couldn't move. Donald. The beams search the darkness near the brothers. ORLEAN (O. They sit and wait in silence.) This really complicates things.C. Their voices get far away. LAROCHE (O. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance.) I know. I get that. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. LAROCHE (O. All right. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized.C. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now. * * * Thanks. I've wasted my life. God. ORLEAN (O. John.C. * Laroche and Orlean move off. breathing hard. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. (CONTINUED) . * LAROCHE (O.pg. KAUFMAN I don't want to die.C. DONALD I don't think so. KAUFMAN They're going to find us. Orlean and Laroche are very close now.C.) It was a guy? Fat.) We need to split up. DONALD You did not.
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)
Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. They pass Orlean next to the van. Donald flies through the windshield. spaced on pash. Then. starts the car. a ranger truck comes barreling.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. Kaufman finds the keys. Give me some of that shit. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. 220 INT. (CONTINUED) * * . 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. from around a curve.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. Kaufman gets in behind him. RENTAL CAR . Donald yelps. doesn't know what to do. Laroche approaches the car. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush.pg. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. the front of his body a bloody mess. John! ORLEAN (O. To everyone's surprise it fires. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. The driver's side airbag deploys. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. Donald is hit in the arm. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys.S. looks nice.
DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. MIKE OWEN We need help here. It's only right. fascinated.. but fading fast. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. He angles in to cut him off. KAUFMAN Donald. sees the two Kaufmans. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you.. SWAMP . leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. running from two different directions. Kaufman stares at the body.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. (CONTINUED) . who is conscious. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. He bolts into the swamp. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. She can't look down at Owen. heave.pg. is confused.B. 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. To think about the one you love. approaching from down the road. I do. Alligators swim in it. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. Donald is dead. Orlean and Laroche arrive. Kaufman starts to sing. He slumps to the ground. You're gonna be okay. Orlean's eyes well with tears. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. 221 EXT. The three stare at each other. Donald's eyes close. There's nowhere to go. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. Her mouth is open. Bad car accident. stop. Logging road twelve. sees Kaufman running into the woods. She follows. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. A battered-looking. at the body of Donald. it's gonna be okay. Just don't go to sleep. she looks horrified. gain on Kaufman and limit his options. Kaufman must be next. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche.
An alligator: it awakens. stunned. shooting crazily until it's dead. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. then looks to Kaufman. old. Orlean collapses into a heap. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. His rifle fires at nothing. sobbing. I think it can touch people. Orlean screams. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Orlean turns her gun on the creature. I did everything wrong. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. drops her gun. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. I want it back before it got all fucked up. that helps other people feel not so lonely. The sun is rising. I want to be new. Kaufman watches. Kaufman watches. Everything's over. Orlean looks at his body. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. Laroche is dead. Let me be a baby again. I'm not a killer. KAUFMAN Your writing. I want to be new. She glows. suddenly feeling so much for this person. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. maybe. desperate. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. startled and angry. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. dude. Everything is a lie. KAUFMAN No. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . I want my life back. It helped me.pg.
Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted.pg. That's a good thing. I just wanted.DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes. * * MOTHER I worry about you. Susan. Charles. There's a silence. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. I just wanted. mom. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. They look at each other from across the room. That's all. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. * (CONTINUED) . Wordlessly.. some overstuffed chairs. I think. a coffee table. KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for yourself. Make it really comfortable in here. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .. KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. Yeah. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. I'm going to get a couch. both crying. they meet in the middle and hug. MOTHER You should get some furniture. KAUFMAN I know.
MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. MARGARET'S OFFICE. Thanks. They sit. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. MARGARET You able to work at all. (deep breath. KAUFMAN No. but -I don't know. KAUFMAN Thank you. I'm just stupid.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. I understand. hugs him. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. Margaret. KAUFMAN Knock knock. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . Margaret looks up. KAUFMAN That sounds good. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. I came by for a reason. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain.pg. 225 INT. * She look compassionately into his face. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. He meets her gaze. really. I'm almost done! Great! ready.
thanks for being in the world. I can love you. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. being honest. in the parking garage. CAR . I'm not saying that at all. y'know. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . Hey. Okay then. embarrassed) So. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. anyway. so he plows on. Margaret appears in front of his car. MARGARET Wow. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction.pg. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . 226 INT. I'm just saying. I'll send you the script when it's done. Kaufman smiles.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. That's really great. Margaret. MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. thanks for telling me. Hey. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. (laughing. can't. gets up. MARGARET That sounds good. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. Kaufman rolls down his window. looking a little pale. Stupid job. I'm glad I know you is all. say. I don't have to get anything back. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. Charlie. I mean.um. waits in line with his validated ticket. nervously kisses him. Wow. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. I'm glad you're in the world.
129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um. 'Cept we can't see the body.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . and hops in the passenger side. Hate each other. That's what I've come to realize. And so we envy each other. Like cells in a body. FADE TO BLACK. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell. They drive off. Lieutenant. that sounds good. runs around the front of the car. 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. both staring ahead. The way fish can't see the ocean. hooky before." . 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. Hurt each other. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure.pg.
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