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