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