Synopsis: While his latest movie Being John Malkovich (1999) is in production, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired by Valerie Thomas to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" for the screen. Thomas bought the movie rights before Orlean wrote the book, when it was only an article in The New Yorker. The book details the story of rare orchid hunter John Laroche, whose passion for orchids and horticulture made Orlean discover passion and beauty for the first time in her life. Charlie wants to be faithful to the book in his adaptation, but despite Laroche himself being an interesting character in his own right, Charlie is having difficulty finding enough material in Laroche to fill a movie, while equally not having enough to say cinematically about the beauty of orchids. At the same time, Charlie is going through other issues in his life. His insecurity as a person doesn't allow him to act upon his feelings for Amelia Kavan, who is interested in him as a man. And Charlie's twin br
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Spike Jonze
Production: Columbia Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 64 wins & 100 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
114 min


Do I have an original thought

in my head? My bald head?

Maybe if I were happier,

my hair wouldn't be falling out.

Life is short. I need

to make the most of it.

Today is the first day

of the rest of my life.

I'm a walking clich.

I really need to go to the doctor,

have my leg checked.

There's something wrong.

A bump.

The dentist called again.

I'm way overdue.

If I stopped putting things off,

I'd be happier.

All I do is sit on my fat ass.

If my ass wasn't fat,

I'd be happier.

I wouldn't have to wear these shirts

with the tails out all the time.

Like that's fooling anyone.

Fat ass. I should start jogging again.

Five miles a day.

Really do it this time.

Maybe rock climbing.

I need to turn my life around.

What do I need to do?

I need to fall in love.

I need to have a girlfriend.

I need to read more,

improve myself.

What if I learned Russian

or something?

Or took up an instrument?

I could speak Chinese.

I would be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese.

And plays the oboe.

That would be cool.

I should get my hair cut short.

Stop trying to fool everyone into

thinking I have a full head of hair.

How pathetic is that?

Just be real. Confident.

Isn't that what women

are attracted to?

Men don't have to be attractive.

But that's not true,

especially these days.

Almost as much pressure on men

as there is on women these days.

Why should I be made to feel I have

to apologize for my existence?

Maybe it's my brain chemistry.

Bad chemistry.

All my problems and anxiety can be

reduced to a chemical imbalance

or some kind of

misfiring synapses.

I need to get help for that.

But I'll still be ugly, though.

Nothing's gonna change that.

Shut up! Shut up! Okay?

Let's really try today

to solve our camera problems.

Keep between-take time

at an absolute minimum.

These masks are really hot. Okay?

I wanna be very well-heard

on that from everybody.

Don't futz unless it's absolutely

important to the shot, okay?

I don't say that for me.

I say that for the people sitting here

Thank you.

In the rubber.

- I like my dress. Okay?

- Very good.

So now, folks, you better

heed that advice.

Okay? Heed that advice.

Stand by for picture.

Have her rotate around the table

a little bit further.

Hold on until we're clear.

You. You're in the eyeline.

Can you please get off the stage?

Yeah, just bring in the six-footer.

What am I doing here?

Why did I bother to come here today?

Nobody even seems to know

my name.

I've been on this planet for 40 years,

and I don't understand a single thing.

Why am I here?

How did I get here?

My leg hurts.

I wonder if it's cancer.

There's a bump. I'm starting

to sweat. Stop sweating.

I've got to stop sweating.

Can she see it dripping

down my forehead?

She looked at my hairline.

She thinks I'm bald. She...

We think you're great.

Oh, wow.


That's nice to hear.

We all just loved

the Malkovich script.

Thanks. Thanks...

Such a unique voice.

Boy, I'd love to find

a portal into your brain.

Trust me, it's no fun.

Heh, heh.

So tell me your thoughts

on this crazy little project of ours.

First, I think it's a great book.

Laroche is a fun character.


And Orlean makes orchids

so fascinating.

Plus, her musings on Florida

and orchid poaching, Indians.

It's just... It's great,

sprawling New Yorker stuff.

I'd want to remain true to that.

I'd wanna let the movie exist,

rather than be artificially



I guess I'm not exactly sure

what that means.


I'm not sure I know

what that means either.

I don't wanna ruin it by making it

a Hollywood thing. You know?

Like an orchid heist movie

or something, you know?

Or changing the orchids

into poppies

and making it about

drug running.


Why can't there be a movie

simply about flowers?

I guess we thought that maybe

Susan Orlean and Laroche

could fall in love, and...

Okay. But I'm saying, it's like,

I don't wanna cram in sex

or guns or car chases,

you know,

or characters, you know,

learning profound life lessons.

Or growing,

or coming to like each other,

or overcoming obstacles to succeed

in the end, you know? I mean...

The book isn't like that

and life isn't like that.

You know, it just isn't. And... Ahem.

I feel very strongly about this.

John Laroche is a tall guy,

skinny as a stick,



sharply handsome, despite the fact

he's missing all his front teeth.

I went to Florida two years ago

to write a piece for The New Yorker.

After reading a small article about a

white man and three Seminole men

arrested with rare orchids

they'd stolen from a place

called the Fakahatchee Strand

State Preserve.

As natural selection works solely by

and for the good of each being,

all corporeal and mental endowments will

tend to progress towards perfection.

It's interesting to contemplate

an entangled bank...

Polyrrhiza lindenii.

A ghost.

Cut her down, Russell.



May I ask you gentlemen what you

have in those pillowcases?

Yes, sir, you absolutely may.

Okay, then, I'm asking.

Well, okay, then.

Let's see.

We've got five kinds

of bromeliad,

one peperomia,

nine orchid varieties.


You know,

about 130 plants all told.

Which my colleagues here

removed from the swamp.

You're aware it's illegal to remove

plants or animals from state-owned land?

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Charlie Kaufman

Charles Stuart "Charlie" Kaufman (born November 19, 1958) is an American screenwriter, producer, director, and lyricist. He wrote the films Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). He made his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York (2008), which was also well-received; film critic Roger Ebert named it "the best movie of the decade" in 2009. It was followed by Anomalisa (2015). more…

All Charlie Kaufman scripts | Charlie Kaufman Scripts

2 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "Adaptation." STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.