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