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