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