John Laroche: Who's gonna play me? I think I should play me!
Donald Kaufman: We are what we love, not what loves us.
John Laroche: I'm probably the smartest person I know.
Susan Orlean: I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know how
it feels to care about something passionately.
Charlie Kaufman: I don't want to cram in sex or guns or car chases or characters
learning profound life lessons or growing or coming to like each other or
overcome obstacles to succeed in the end. The book isn't like that, and life
isn't like that, it just isn't.
Charlie Kaufman: The script I'm starting, it's about flowers. Noone's ever done
a movie about flowers before. So there are no guidelines...
Donald Kaufman: What about "Flowers for Algernon"?
Charlie Kaufman: Well, that's not about flowers. And it's not a movie.
Donald Kaufman: Ok, I'm sorry, I never saw it.
Charlie Kaufman: To begin.. To begin... How to start? I'm hungry. I should get
coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then
reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. So I need to establish the
themes. Maybe a banana nut. That's a good muffin.
Charlie Kaufman: [voice over] I should have gone in. I'm such a chicken. I
should have kissed her. I should go knock on her door and just kiss her. It
would be romantic. It would be something we'd tell our kids about someday. I'm
going to do that right now.
Donald Kaufman: Listen, I need a cool way to kill people. Don't worry, for my
Charlie Kaufman: I don't know that kind of stuff.
Donald Kaufman: Oh, come on, man, please? You're the genius.
Charlie Kaufman: Here you go. The killer's a literature professor. He cuts off
little chunks from his victims' bodies until they die. He calls himself
Donald Kaufman: I'm putting in a chase sequence. So the killer flees on
horseback with the girl, the cop's after them on a motorcycle and it's like a
battle between motors and horses, like technology vs. horse.
Charlie Kaufman: And they're still all one person, right?
Charlie Kaufman: [voice-over] I'm pathetic, I'm a loser. I have failed, I am
panicked. I've sold out, I am worthless, I... What the fuck am I doing here?
What the fuck am I doing here? Fuck! It is my weakness, my ultimate lack of
conviction that brings me here. Easy answers used to shortcut yourself to
success. And here I am because my jump into the abysmal well - isn't that just a
risk one takes when attempting something new? I should leave here right now.
I'll start over. I need to face this project head on and...
Robert McKee: ...and God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my
friends! God help you! That's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a
voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.
Donald Kaufman: I'm pitching my script today.
Charlie Kaufman: Please don't say pitch.
Donald Kaufman: The killer, the girl, and the cop all have split-personalities!
They're all the same person! Isn't that fucked up?
Charlie Kaufman: Mr. McKee? I'm Charlie Kaufman. You yelled at me this morning.
Robert McKee: I need more.
Charlie Kaufman: You and I share the same DNA. Is there anything more lonely
[At a seminar, Charlie Kaufman has asked McKee for advice on his new screenplay
in which 'nothing much happens'.]
Robert McKee: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind?
People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, 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! 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, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life! And why the
FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use
for it. I don't have any bloody use for it!
Charlie Kaufman: Ok, thank you.
Donald Kaufman: A little push, push in the bush!
Susan Orlean: It's over. Everything, I did everything wrong. I want my life
back. I want it back before everything got fucked up. I want to be a baby again.
I want to be new. I WANT TO BE NEW!
Susan Orlean: Uh, John? Can I ask you a personal question?
John Laroche: What? We're not lost!
Susan Orlean: YOU FAT PIECE OF SHIT!!! He's dead!
Charlie Kaufman: Shut up!
Susan Orlean: YOU LOSER!!! You've ruined my life, YOU FAT FUCK!!
Charlie Kaufman: FUCK YOU LADY!! You're just a lonely, old, and pathetic DRUG
John Laroche: Darkness falls, bad things happen.
John Laroche: Then one morning, I woke up and said, "Fuck fish!" I
renounce fish, I will never set foot in that ocean again. And there hasn't been
a time where I have stuck so much as a toe back in that ocean.
Susan Orlean: But why?
John Laroche: Done with fish.
Donald Kaufman: [delighted] I got shot! Isn't that fucked up?
Charlie Kaufman: Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
Charlie Kaufman: [voice-over] 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 cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked.
There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I
stop putting things off I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my
ass wasn't fat I would 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 and prove myself. What if I
learned Russian or something, or took up an instrument. I could speak Chinese.
I'd 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 myself and everyone
else 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. Maybe that's what's
wrong with me. 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 going to change that.
John Laroche: You know why I like plants?
Susan Orlean: Nuh uh.
John Laroche: Because they're so mutable. Adaptation is a profound process.
Means you figure out how to thrive in the world.
Susan Orlean: [pause] Yeah but it's easier for plants. I mean they have no
memory. They just move on to whatever's next. With a person though, adapting
almost shameful. It's like running away.
Donald Kaufman: McKee says we all have to realize we write in a genre, so we
must find originality within that genre. Did you know that there hasn't been a
new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary...? My genre's thriller,
John Laroche: Darling, I don't know what's come over you.
Susan Orlean: You came all over me.
John Laroche: My goodness!
John Laroche: Point is, what's so wonderful is that every one of these flowers
has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. There's a
certain orchid look exactly like a certain insect so the insect is drawn to this
flower, its double, its soul mate, and wants nothing more than to make love to
it. And after the insect flies off, spots another soul-mate flower and makes
love to it, thus pollinating it. And neither the flower nor the insect will ever
understand the significance of their lovemaking. I mean, how could they know
that because of their little dance the world lives? But it does. By simply doing
what they're designed to do, something large and magnificent happens. In this
sense they show us how to live -- how the only barometer you have is your heart.
How, when you spot your flower, you can't let anything get in your way.
Donald Kaufman: Is like technology versus horses.