by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman adapted from the book THE ORCHID THIEF by Susan Orlean

Revised - November 21, 2000


EXT. PLANET - DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH From space the Earth is brown and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.




INT. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM - MORNING SUBTITLE: HOLLYWOOD, CA, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER Beamed ceiling, ostentatious fireplace. A few birthday cards on the mantel, two of them identical: "To Our Dear Son on His Fortieth Birthday." Charlie Kaufman, a fat, balding man in a purple sweater with tags still attached, paces. His incantational voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present. KAUFMAN (V.O.) I'm old. I'm fat. I'm bald. (reaches for notebook, catches sight of bare feet) My toenails have turned strange. I am old. I am -(flips through notebook, paces) I have nothing. She'll think I'm an idiot. Why couldn't I stay on that diet? She'll pretend not to be disappointed, but I'll see that look, that look -(passes mirror, glances quickly at reflection, looks away) God, I'm repulsive. (another glance) But as repulsive as I think? My Body Dysmorphic Disorder confuses everything. I mean, I know people call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also realize this is my own perverted form of selfaggrandizement, that no one talks about me at all. What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone?



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EXT. STATE ROAD 29 - DAWN A lonely two-lane highway cutting through swampland.


pg. 2
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


watches the vehicles through binoculars.. Tony clears his throat into the radio.) (wistful) John Laroche is a tall guy. OFFICE . Nothing. 8 INT. Tony waits for a response. whispers into his C. ORLEAN (V. past a photo of Laroche tacked to an overwhelmed bulletin board. gets out of the truck. slouch-shouldered and sharply handsome despite the fact that he is missing all his front teeth. No response. He sees the white van and Ford parked ahead. 3 6 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.O. . RADIO VOICE I don't know what you want me to say. they are in there for a reason. drives past the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and enters the swamp.S. Nothing.MID-MORNING Tony. TONY Barry. Tony glowers. his lips. RANGER'S TRUCK . pale-eyed. If there are Indians in the swamp. skinny as a stick. in the swamp. He straightens his cap.. his nose. Mosquitoes land on his neck. and come to rest on a woman typing. Indians in the swamp. TONY We got Seminoles. We lose ourselves in her melancholy Indians do not go on swamp walks. spots a Seminole license plate on the Ford. He pulls over down the road.CONTINUOUS We glide over a desk piled with orchid books. delicate and blond. a ranger.) I went to Florida two years ago to write a piece for the New Yorker. 8 * * 7 * 6 * * * * * TONY (cont'd) I repeat. 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.B. It's Susan Orlean: pale.

VALERIE (laughs) So you're in production. She thinks I'm old. KAUFMAN (laughing) Trust me. her breasts. * * * * * * * * * * * * * VALERIE That must be so exciting. I'd love to find a portal into your brain. He quickly swabs. Yeah KAUFMAN Kaufman tries to fill it. Kaufman sees her watching it. it is. Valerie watches it. She looks up at That's nice to hear. looks down. her hair. 9 * * * * * * * VALERIE (still looking at her salad) Such a unique voice. (CONTINUED) . Thank you. wearing his purple sweater sans tags. KAUFMAN That's. L.. 4 9 INT. She thinks I'm fat. She looks at her salad. Boy. KAUFMAN Oh.MIDDAY Kaufman. right? KAUFMAN Yeah. sits with Valerie.. KAUFMAN She looked at my hairline. KAUFMAN (cont'd) It's exciting to see one's work produced. A rivulet of sweat slides down his forehead. We are. thanks. She sees him seeing her watching it. it's no fun. Kaufman steals glances at her lips. She -VALERIE We think you're great. VALERIE We all just loved the Malkovich script. They pick at salads. He blanches. I appreciate that.A. Uncomfortable silence. wow. an attractive woman in wire-rim glasses. BUSINESS LUNCH RESTAURANT . They are.

. Like.. too. I'd want to remain true to that. 5 9 CONTINUED: VALERIE (looking up) I bet. KAUFMAN (blurting) It's just. stalling. I mean. what you're saying. tell me your thoughts on this crazy little project of ours. Kaufman swabs his forehead and pulls a book entitled The Orchid Thief from his bag. great. VALERIE Laroche is a fun character. Well. A photo of author Susan Orlean smiles from the inside back cover. VALERIE Okay. flips through the I don't want to ruin it by making it a Hollywood product. Great. pretends not to notice. orchid poaching. sprawling New Yorker stuff.. I guess I'm not exactly sure what that means. So.. and also not force it into a typical movie form. VALERIE (cont'd) Good. (looking up) So -Kaufman looks up. I like to let my work evolve. great. so I'd want to go into it with sort of open-ended kind of. KAUFMAN Absolutely. Indians. isn't he? Kaufman nods. His brow is dripping again. KAUFMAN First. In one motion. an orchid heist movie or something. I think it's a great book. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * Valerie 9 * * * * * * * * * * . let the movie exist rather than be artificially plot driven. KAUFMAN Oh. VALERIE Oh. I'm intrigued. Plus her musings on Florida. That sounds interesting. And Orlean makes orchids so fascinating..

but we can't make out the words. Life isn't like that.. lots of books.this alienated journalist writing about a passionate backwoods guy and he teaches her to love-that's like. Kaufman appears in the open doorway.DAY SUBTITLE: In the hall behind him are framed posters for action movies. Or characters learning profound life lessons. Margaret. KAUFMAN Knock knock. but to me -. Or growing or coming to like each other or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. or guns. Kaufman is sweating like crazy now. 10 * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . 6 9 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (cont'd) Or changing the orchids into poppies and turning it into a movie about drug running. I mean. or car chases. THREE WEEKS EARLIER The office is decorated with potted flowers. We hear Kaufman's self-flagellating voice-over through the silence. 10 INT. It wouldn't happen. a soulful development executive. Definitely. unpack boxes. Y'know? The book isn't like that. It just isn't. Margaret turns. Then: VALERIE I guess we thought maybe Susan Orlean and Laroche could fall in and -KAUFMAN Okay. VALERIE That's what we're thinking. I feel very strongly about this. it didn't happen. CALIFORNIA. Valerie is quiet. I don't want to cram in sex. * * * 9 KAUFMAN Like. Y'know? Why can't there be a movie simply about flowers? That's all.. OFFICE . MARGARET Char-lay Kauf-man! She hugs him enthusiastically. fake. Audubon posters.

God. Margie! MARGARET Well. about flowers. Margaret sits down next to him. Flowers? MARGARET Really? * He tenses * (CONTINUED) . Pretty fancy office. MARGARET Anyway. nods) So. thanks.. Come in.. KAUFMAN (smiles. sits on the such an awful picture. at the closeness. Are you kidding? I saw your photo in Variety and everything. Kaufman laughs. So what's with you? man. Take a load off. * 10 * * * * Margaret closes the door. Mostly crap. congratulate you on the promotion. Very very cool. Kaufman enters. 7 10 CONTINUED: MARGARET (cont'd) What are you doing in this Godforsaken hell-hole? KAUFMAN Meeting upstairs. KAUFMAN You looked great. KAUFMAN I'm considering jobs. covers by talking. There's one you might like. It's all so stupid. with Robert? Oooh. KAUFMAN It's great. MARGARET (cont'd) (mock whisper) Lousy with spies. just wanted to say hello. MARGARET (mock impressed) Ooh. MARGARET Oh.

. yelling) I don't MARGARET Susan Orlean. smiles at him) If anyone could figure out how to do a movie about flowers. (looking up. MARGARET I don't care. Robert! (back to Kaufman) Hey. (looks up at ceiling and yells) God. (presses button on phone) Andy. KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. (hangs up. 8 10 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN Demme's company wants to adapt this book The Orchid Thief. About orchids. somebody needs to save us all. I'm so sick of it! KAUFMAN (looking at ceiling) Margaret. Cool. And it sounds exciting. it would be you. he's scored. I dunno. MARGARET I'll read it. could you get a book called The Orchid Thief by. to immerse yourself in a real subject and learn everything about it. Jesus. sex and drug deals and violence. man.. Robert. You're all the recommendation I need. Thanks. KAUFMAN I'd like to try. Get paid for it! Charlie! Not this movie bullshit. MARGARET You should definitely do it. . 10 * * Kaufman is thrilled. Y'know? * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) * * * MARGARET You should. you know that Blake line about seeing heaven in a wild flower? That's the fucking truth. KAUFMAN I loved the book is all.

12 EXT. His eyes widen in reverent awe.MIDDAY Kaufman still sweats as he talks to Valerie. They trudge. KAUFMAN (thrilled but controlled) That'd be fun. 13 (CONTINUED) . Russell pulls out a hacksaw.DAY SUBTITLE: THE EARTH. THREE BILLION YEARS AGO We move into the pool. Laroche leads the Indians through waist-high black water. 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. 13 INT. 9 10 CONTINUED: (3) KAUFMAN 10 I know. Soon there are millions of them. LAROCHE Pseudemys floridana. miserable. The Indians ignore him. (conspiratorially) After you learn all this flower He points out a turtle on a rock. RESTAURANT . begins sawing through the tree. Although. SWAMP . circles the tree. tenderly caresses the petals. Laroche stares at a single beautiful. glowing white flower hanging from the tree. MURKY POOL OF WATER . A ghost. Russell. maybe you fellas specifically.MORNING Hot. He 12 11 * * The Indians come around. Then. * * * * * MARGARET I know you know. closer. 11 EXT. you can teach me. LAROCHE (cont'd) Polyrrhiza Lindenii. Laroche spots something else. a dull green root wrapped around a tree. That I can't speak to. closer. He stops. dirty. business-like: LAROCHE (cont'd) Cut it down.

plus I love the idea of learning all about orchids and trying to do something simple. I want to think differently. The girl rests her head on the mother's shoulder. studying the inhabitants. KAUFMAN Thanks. KAUFMAN Yeah. The boy returns to his search. 10 13 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . PET STORE (1972) . I don't want to get by on quirkiness.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. BOY Any animal at all. My stuff tends to be weird. show people heaven in a wildflower. MOTHER (hugging him) A wonderful choice! (to the girl) Don't you think so. But I'm ready to challenge The mother strokes the He stops * * * * 14 * * * 13 * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . BOY (cont'd) I want a turtle then. That's nice to hear. anemic-looking little girl. He turns to his frumpy mother. ma? She nods sweetly. I'd like to take something real like orchids and show people how profound they are. TWENTY-SIX YEARS EARLIER A serious ten year old boy walks from cage to aquarium. VALERIE But not weird for weird's sake. 14 INT. As Blake said. who is sitting with a frail. I don't want to fall back on weirdness the way other writers fall back on sex and violence. at a small turtle in an aquarium. It's like.. girl's hair as she talks to the boy. VALERIE Adapting someone else's work is certainly an opportunity to think differently.. Diane? The glassy-eyed girl doesn't respond. This one. listless.

thrilled. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. man. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. 16 INT. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. KAUFMAN God. He probably hates you already. I'm just so pleased you liked it. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. Randy. Margaret raises a glass. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. 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. this guy I'm seeing.MORNING As Laroche supervises. All I do is tell him how great you are. The book is just amazing. of course. (CONTINUED) * * * . clicks (He takes a breath) Hey. SWAMP .EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. too. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . I think David. would enjoy it. Kaufman. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. Russell. Sure. He's a naturalist.

. so.. 16 Oh. Y'know... 12 16 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That sounds good. You've read that. then:) Have you read much? KAUFMAN Y'know. it's impossible to find someone in this town who thinks about things other than the fucking business. A bit.. Uh-huh.. KAUFMAN He sounds great. I mean. He's just honest and smart. (to Kaufman) . MARGARET (cont'd) . Hegel! In bed! After really hot sex! Like my dream come true. The entrees arrive. I'm sure you know... anyway. long time ago. and I was suddenly struck by how profound the notion is that history is a human construct.. MARGARET Well. MARGARET Like the other day we were in bed discussing Hegel. He can no longer look up at Margaret. MARGARET You'll like him. KAUFMAN * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . Kaufman begins the laborious task of getting through his plate of food. kind of post-coital dreamy. a long time ago. MARGARET So I was lying there.. right? KAUFMAN Um.. okay. David and I were joking about the Philosophy of (to waiter) Thanks.. in this goddamn town? (marvels at this for a moment.

18 INT... She pulls down her sleeve. The radio crackles. Laroche steps from the swamp with the Indians. Tony tenses. Kaufman waits in line and watches a tattooed female cashier flirting with the handsome guy ahead of him. 21 EXT. ORLEAN (V. With every fiber of his being. the body language. small blind jellyfish collide. Her eyes. building upon itself. BARNES AND NOBLE . OCEAN .pg. * 19 RADIO VOICE How's that Injun round-up going. along with a book on Hegel which features an engraving of the philosopher on the cover. but rather cyclically. The guy finally leaves and the cashier waves Kaufman over. 20 INT. nature. pleased) * * Ha! Tony jumps into the truck and turns it around. 19 EXT.O.. that nature doesn't exist historically. TONY (cont'd) (into the radio.NIGHT Orlean types. he studies their interaction. So whereas human history spirals forward. and hover.) Orchid hunting is a mortal occupation.MORNING Tony waits. ONE BILLION YEARS EARLIER Odd. As she rings him up. Tony? Rustling near the parked cars. sweaty and mosquito bitten. carries them to the register. 13 16 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET . who haul the pillowcases. recoil. 17 EXT. she expresses no interest in him. the way she looks at him. her lips.DAY 18 * 17 * 16 Kaufman grabs some orchid books off the shelf. Her delicate fingers move with a pianist's grace across the computer keyboard. TROPICAL RIVER . ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . He's hurt and fixates on a sexy flower tattoo on her arm. JANES SCENIC DRIVE .DAY SUBTITLE: EARTH.DAY SUBTITLE: ORINOCO RIVER. ONE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER (CONTINUED) 21 20 ..

DAY SUBTITLE: SIERRA LEONE A man lies at the bottom of a cliff. JANES SCENIC DRIVE .) Schroeder fell to his death.) Augustus Margary survived toothache.O. RIVER .DAY SUBTITLE: YANGTZE RIVER An emaciated. and dysentery.) (cont'd) . ORLEAN (V. 25 EXT. 25 23 24 * * 22 21 TONY The Victorian-era orchid hunter William Arnold drowned on a collecting expedition. limping. 23 24 OMITTED EXT. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. wheezing man with a makeshift bandage wrapped around his head. Someone steps from behind a bush.O. stabs him.. CLIFF . steals his boat. pleurisy.O. ORLEAN (V. The murderer sails down river.O. Laroche smiles warmly.) (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. May I ask what you gentlemen have in those pillowcases? LAROCHE Yes. 14 21 CONTINUED: An overturned boat and uprooted orchids float on the river. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN (V. docks his boat.O. clutching a flower. you absolutely may. only to be murdered when he completed his mission and traveled beyond Bhamo. sir..MORNING Tony steps out of his truck. rheumatism. 22 EXT...

Every one of them. LAROCHE (cont'd) The state couldn't successfully prosecute him. one peperomia. Okay then! Let's see. Billie. As repugnant as you or I as white conservationists might find his actions. sir. and my colleagues are all Seminole Indians. TONY Okay. even though he has no idea. About a hundred and thirty plants all told. it is. James They give it. Well. LAROCHE Yes. TONY Exactly. sir. that's exactly the issue.. 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. LAROCHE Oh. what. Because he's an Indian and it's his right. forty in the entire world? Laroche looks to the Indians for confirmation. which my colleagues have removed from the swamp. But -TONY (CONTINUED) . one of. (afterthought) Oh.. Did I mention that? You're familiar. Florida v. I'm asking then. 15 25 CONTINUED: Laroche goes back to directing the Indians. (peeking in bags) Five kinds of bromeliad. with the State of 25 Tony's confused. LAROCHE (cont'd) So you know that even though Seminole Chief Billie killed a Florida panther. This is a state preserve. Tony nods. nine orchid varieties. I'm sure.

Orlean drives past endless swampland.) (cont'd) . the wilderness disappears before your eyes. 16 25 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE Not to mention the failed attempts on three separate occasions to prosecute Seminoles for poaching palm fronds. but I don't.DAY Orlean drives out of the Miami Airport parking lot.O. Tony looks at the Indians. Yeah. Chickee huts.. but the jungle is unstoppably fertile. Laroche again looks to the Indians for confirmation. * 26 * . ORLEAN ( Yeah. RANDY VINSON RUSSELL 25 TONY Yeah. which.. I believe.. Yeah. That's exactly what we use them for. At the same time... (into radio) Hey..) (cont'd) The developed places are just little clearings in the jungle. everything is always growing or expanding. ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. they use to thatch the roofs of their traditional chickee huts. Just hold on while I. She passes urban congestion and garish billboards advertising nature theme parks.O. RUSSELL He's right.. Barry.. I can't let you fellas go yet.) Nothing in Florida seems hard or permanent.O. RENTAL CAR . can I get some help? Barry? 26 INT.

They are replaced by new plants which go through the same process. KAUFMAN What's with you? My back.A COUPLE OF MINUTES LATER Kaufman passes a hall mirror. Kaufman watches as one whispers to the other. whither. Charles. die. continues down the hall. his identical twin brother. In a time lapse sequence. my own reflection. then starts to weep inconsolably. BIG SPANISH-STYLE HOUSE . I have a plan to get me out of your house pronto. 28 EXT. Two teenage girls walk * (CONTINUED) . Orlean finishes organizing her stuff. DONALD * * * * Kaufman nods vaguely.O. I cannot bear 30 At the landing Kaufman comes upon Donald. This happens many times in an accelerating sequence. On the screen a pretty woman walks us through what to do in case of fire. The TV is turned to the hotel information channel. He thinks he hears the word "Fatso. 17 27 INT. RIVER'S EDGE . 29 EXT. I am repulsive. on his back in pajama bottoms and his new purple sweater. the plants grow. EMPTY HOUSE . 30 INT." The girls giggle. HOTEL ROOM . you'll be glad.DAY/NIGHT SUBTITLE: EARTH. and climbs the stairs. DONALD (cont'd) Hey. KAUFMAN (V. regards himself glumly.DAY 29 28 * * * Kaufman gets out of his car with his books. THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS EARLIER Simple green flowerless plants line the water.AFTERNOON 27 * * * * * Orlean unpacks her suitcase on the bed.) I am fat. She sits blankly on the bed for a long time. DONALD Did you wear your sweater from mom yet? Comfy.

I'm taking a three-day seminar! 31 INT." Donald appears on all fours in the doorway. But I'm doing it right this time. buddy.S.S. Okay? But this one is highly regarded within the industry. DONALD ( Kaufman lies face down on his mattress on the floor. As soon as I sell -KAUFMAN Let me explain something to you. He gets lost in the picture. enters his bedroom. Kaufman puts the * 31 * DONALD I'm sorry. okay. I'll pay you back. EMPTY BEDROOM .) In theory I agree with you. Kaufman pulls a photo of Margaret. (CONTINUED) * . DONALD (O. don't say "industry. I know you think this is just one of my get-rich-quick schemes. please (supplies it) I'm gonna be a screenwriter! 30 Like you! Kaufman doesn't respond. this guy knows screenwriting. DONALD (cont'd) Okay. clipped from a trade paper. 18 30 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN A job is a plan.) It's only five hundred bucks! KAUFMAN (muffled by pillow) Screenwriting seminars are bullshit. KAUFMAN Donald. Charles. Is your plan a job? DONALD Drumroll. paper back under his pillow. from under his pillow. I forgot. People come from all over to study his method. DONALD Yeah.

There was a book -DONALD Oh. those teachers are dangerous if your goal is to do something new. Okay. Sorry. So. Be it in the world of religion -DONALD (indicating his back) I just need to lie down while you explain this to me. Writing is a journey into the unknown. principle says. principles. he pulls out his Hegel book and reads: 31 A * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I never saw it. okay. Go. and anybody who says there are. KAUFMAN it's about flowers. stares at ceiling) Okay. I apologize. 19 31 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Anybody who says he's got "the answer" is going to attract desperate people. what about Cactus Flower? I saw that. you must do it this way. keep going. KAUFMAN There are no rules to follow. Donald. Hey. Donald stares at the ceiling. No one's ever done a movie about flowers before. is just -DONALD Not rules." KAUFMAN The script I'm starting. And it's not a movie. there're no guidelines. my point is. go ahead. Sorry. fuming. And a writer should always have that goal. There's definitely a flower in that. Getting no response. Okay. and -DONALD What about Flowers for Algernon? KAUFMAN That's not about flowers. this works. (lies down. and has through all remembered time. McKee writes: "A rule says. not building a model airplane. Kaufman waits.

32 INT. and what we have here. The Indians lean against their car.LATE MORNING Ranger. Donald finally speaks DONALD McKee is a former Fulbright puffs out her cheeks. 20 31 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN (V. He spots Donald chatting up two pretty girls. SWAMP .. uniformed people. They seem to be enjoying Donald. because posited. Charles? Kaufman looks over at Donald's repulsive girth. 33-34 OMITTED 35 EXT.. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Donald! The girls look at each other and giggle maliciously. my friend.DAY Kaufman stares at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. LIBRARY . an opposited. A guy sprinkles water on them. GIRL Bye. a conditional and conditioning. 32A INT. He says good-bye and walks happily away. thirteen Encyclia Cochleata. is . TWENTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER A teenaged Kaufman reads a book. Lots of sweating.) (CONT'D) Each being is. sheriff. four Encyclia Tampensis -MIKE OWEN I'm sorry.. Nirvana seeps tinnily out the car window. the plants lie on black plastic sheets. LAROCHE . bored and smoking. and state police cars are parked near the van and Ford.. Laroche enthusiastically helps Ranger Mike Owen catalogue the flowers..O. Both brothers stare at the ceiling. The pillowcases have been emptied. Kaufman's head is spinning. the Understanding completes these its limitations by positing the opposite.. Are you a former Fulbright scholar.. He puts the book down. Encyclia what? (CONTINUED) 33-34 35 One 32A * * * * * * 32 31 ..DAY SUBTITLE: CONNECTICUT. He looks out the window onto a courtyard where kids are smoking and eating lunch.

Tem-pen-sis. 35A INT. What I really came for. the ghost orchid. I'm one of the world's foremost experts. Bug spray. twenty-two Epidendrum Nocturnum. I want to come down to the Fakahatchee and -Great! MIKE OWEN We'd love to have ya'. A very good haul. But that'll all be revealed at the hearing. you really know your plants. hi! MIKE OWEN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 35 KAUFMAN Hi. y'know. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN Yeah. These sweeties grow nowhere in the U. MIKE OWEN That true? Boy. except in your swamp. I do. EMPTY KITCHEN .pg. Mr. Two Catopsi Floribunda. KAUFMAN I can do that. Laroche. Three Polyrrhiza Lindenii. LAROCHE Yeah. KAUFMAN Hi. let's see. bug sprays -MIKE OWEN Bug spray would be helpful. and I was wondering if you could give me a little information about supplies I might need. So. 21 35 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (pointing to each) Coch-le-ata.DAY Kaufman talks on the phone as he prepares a salad.S. (checks Owen's spelling) Okay. my name is Charlie Kaufman and I'm writing a screenplay based on Susan Orlean's book The Orc -Oh.

So a strong boot. Although these characters are unaware of their subconscious need -KAUFMAN Maybe you should watch what you eat. so you won't be able to see the snakes. whose cheeks are stuffed with food. And the water's black. Donald lies on the floor. buzzing. gray could. Long sleeves. DONALD (V. So I'll check my schedule and get back to you. Did you ever consider maybe you're a bit fat? Does it ever occur to you. Kaufman. Donald. MIKE OWEN Look forward to it! 36 INT. Mosquito netting. something they won't easily bite through.. heavy pants. fascinating characters tend to have not only a conscious but an unconscious desire. looks over at Donald. 22 35A CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN You might want the strongest you can find. chomping a hoagie and reading a copy of Story by Robert McKee.. Okay. Heavy. With Deet. bored. thighhigh water. you kind of represent me in the world? (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . You'll be trudging through acidic. He picks at his salad and reads Orlean's book. KAUFMAN 35A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 36 * * * MIKE OWEN Or the alligators.) The most memorable. ancient family of perennial plants with.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits at a card table in the otherwise empty KAUFMAN The Orchidaceae is a large. EMPTY DINING ROOM . I like to josh it's a little like walking through a biting.O. KAUFMAN (clearly not going) Sounds good.

and people. 37 INT. do not multiply locations. Anyway. And you'll see. I hear she's really good with structure.) Do not proliferate DONALD You think you're so superior. DONALD (V. 23 36 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That people look at you and think. I pitched mom my screenplay -KAUFMAN Don't say "pitch. mom's paying for the seminar.. space." KAUFMAN Hey. I'm really gonna write this.. They go back to their books.) The Orchidaceae is a large..O. And. therefore that's what Charlie must look like? DONALD By the way. THREE YEARS EARLIER Orlean drives on State Road 29. RENTAL CAR .. Charles. telling of my story to her. she loved my. you suck. KAUFMAN Did you even hear what I said? DONALD Yeah. ORLEAN (V. 37 * * * * * .. past prefab housing.. * * 36 * KAUFMAN (V. Well.. Anyway. ancient family of perennial plants with... Rather than hopscotching through time. maybe you and mom could collaborate. She said it's "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Psycho.DAY SUBTITLE: FLORIDA. okay? The two glare at each other.) Florida is a landscape of transition and mutation. he's Charlie's twin. and.O.. discipline yourself to a reasonably contained cast and world." DONALD Sorry.

I'm a published author. wrap-around Mylar sunglasses. Mr. This is laboratory work.O. Laroche. COURT ROOM . I've owned a plant nursery of my own which was destroyed by the hurricane. He turns to his typewriter. LERNER Finally. Orlean hurries in. Thank you. I've been a professional horticulturist for twelve years. 24 38 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . (typing) A lonely stretch of road cutting through untamed swampland. questions him. I've given at least sixty lectures on the cultivation of plants. 39 INT. I'm a professional plant lecturer. Alan Lerner. both in magazine and book form. (stops. what is your experience in the area of horticulture? LAROCHE Okay. types) A white van appears from around a curve. LERNER 39 * * * LAROCHE You're very welcome. thinks. and the asexual micropropagation of orchids under aseptic cultures. is on the stand. not at all like your nursery work. in a Miami Hurricanes cap. . the tribe's lawyer. (stops.DAY The proceedings are in progress. and a Hawaiian shirt.DAY 38 Kaufman traces a stubby. Its driver: a skinny man with no front teeth. and types in a clumsy hunt-and-peck style. stares off) It's swampy and lonely. This is John Laroche. sits in the back. nail-bitten finger along State Road 29 along a Florida road (grins) I'm probably the smartest person I know.) We open on State Road 29. KAUFMAN (V. Laroche. I have extensive experience with orchids.

DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. I'm just trying to do something. lies down. What?! The door opens. looks up at the closed door. and in the process he falls in love with her. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. Kaufman squints at his brother.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. you wanna hear my pitch. 41 INT. 41 DONALD Look. Even though he's never even met her. thanks a lot. She catches him and smiles with red. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. BARNES AND NOBLE . Cool. stares at the ceiling. the unattainable. wait. DONALD (lost) Y'know. sits up. like. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. like the Holy Grail. man. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. (flicks on light. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . waits. in bed masturbating. See. 25 40 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . right -Kaufman groans. She becomes. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. then in pitch mode:) Okay. he's being hunted by a cop. DONALD (CONT'D) No. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart there's this serial killer.NIGHT Kaufman. or what? Go away. wet. And he's taunting the cop. pierced lips. KAUFMAN God damn it.

.. Sybil meets. I dunno. he's really also the cop and the girl. 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. KAUFMAN The only idea more overused than serial killers..S. right?. KAUFMAN (O. KAUFMAN The other thing is. that's not what I'm asking.. DONALD (calling after) Cool.. is multiple personality. (CONTINUED) * . in the reality of this movie. I really liked Dressed to Kill. * * * 41 * KAUFMAN (cont'd) I agree with mom. Very taut. All of them are him! Isn't that fucked-up? Donald waits. Dressed to Kill. Donald waits blankly. what I'm asking is. 26 41 CONTINUED: DONALD Okay.. until the third act denouement.. if there's only one character.. Did you consider that? I On top of that you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. proud. but there's a twist. What exactly would the. we find out the killer suffers from multiple personality disorder. gets out of bed. See. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this.. Kaufman gives up. DONALD Mom called it psychologically taut. Okay? See.. Okay? How could you.) That's not how it's pronounced. there's no way to write this. Listen closely.. Kaufman dresses and exits.

ORLEAN (CONT'D) My name's Susan Orlean. 42 Okay. 42 * 41 Oh. It's a maga -LAROCHE I'm familiar with the New Yorker. Orlean tries some more. Laroche? Orlean smiles. The New Yorker. A charmingly shy Orlean approaches. and Buster Baxley. Lerner walks off. COURTHOUSE . LERNER Buster.DAY Orlean exits the courthouse and watches Laroche in a huddle with Lerner. walks away. Right? ORLEAN Right. * * * * ORLEAN (CONT'D) I find your story really fascin -LAROCHE Yeah? Put this in: I don't care what goes on here. Lerner and Laroche stand there a moment. Laroche cracks his neck. They're all smoking intently. LAROCHE They're gonna fucking crucify me. Vinson BUSTER I'll go into the Fakahatchee with a chainsaw. 27 41 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD Sorry. EXT. apologetic for the intrusion. stubs his cigarette. yes. we'll deal with all this at trial. the New Yorker. Laroche scowls. follows Buster. I handled it. for crying out loud. Vinson. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . So I was interested in doing a piece about your situation down here. vice-president of the tribe's business operations. Buster waves a dismissive hand at Lerner. I swear to God. I'm a writer for the New Yorker. smokes furiously. ORLEAN Mr. Didn't I remind her the Indians used to own Fakahatchee? Look.

pg. 28
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

pg. 29
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.



pg. 30
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 *


ORLEAN So I was so impressed to hear how accomplished you are in the world of horticulture and -LAROCHE Yeah. Orlean writes. ORLEAN * * * * * She indicates. We see that Orlean is writing "The world is insane. I researched it. Laroche clams up. Orlean tries to figure a way in. posture of al dente spaghetti. Orlean smiles back. ORLEAN Why the ghost orchid? 49 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * While Laroche talks. Then I'd clone hundreds of them babies in my lab. She's writing: "skinny as a stick. Florida can't touch us. steers with knees as he lights another." * (CONTINUED) ." Uh-huh. LAROCHE The plan yeah. sell 'em. pulls out a notebook. 31 49 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Where do these people learn to drive? The world is insane. with a small jerk of the head. Collectors covet what is not available. I'm the only one in the world who knows how to cultivate it. My theory is -Orlean switches on a mini-cassette recorder. LAROCHE The sucker's rare. get the Indians to pull it from the swamp. As long as I don't touch the plants. that he might want to watch the road. Orlean writes: "crushes out cigarette. and make the Seminoles a shitload of change." Laroche looks over and smiles. Uh-huh. And that's the ghost. The thing you gotta know is my whole life is looking for a goddamn profitable plant. He doesn't take the hint.

pg. 32
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!

pg. 33
52A CONTINUED: Kenner grabs Caroline pulls her down the hall. CAROLINE (laughing) You're insane, Keener! Kaufman watches. 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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?


pg. 34


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.

54 *

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)

I lost interest right after that. Collected the shit out of 'em. ORLEAN So. Orlean studies him for a moment. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. solemnly nodding his head. They drive in silence. The tape recorder is on between them. * * * 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 55 INT. Perhaps you read about us. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. ORLEAN Wow. that's some story. VAN .DAY Laroche drives. She underlines it. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. 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... Oh. we'd better get started. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. her sad eyes wet and glistening. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. Orlean watches a flying heron. huh. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad.

THERAPIST'S OFFICE . I vow to never set foot in the ocean again. The new girl I'm obsessed with. Then one day I say. KAUFMAN California Pizza Kitchen. fuck fish. Anisotremus virginicus. THERAPIST Uh-huh. You name it. profoundly in love with tropical fish. I had sixty goddamn fish tanks in my house. * * (CONTINUED) . not a lot a lot. I renounce fish. THERAPIST Red hair. (beat) No.DAY Kaufman sits in silence across from his female therapist. That was seventeen years ago and I have never since stuck so much as a toe into that ocean. Different woman. Kaufman nods. 56 57 OMITTED INT. KAUFMAN I'm still masturbating a lot. Chaetodon capistratus. likes orchids? 56 57 * * * * * * Right. (beat) The same woman? KAUFMAN I mean. that's how much fuck fish. 36 55 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'll tell you a story. I'd skin-dive to find just the right ones. THERAPIST Burger King? Dimples and sparkly eyes? No. I once fell deeply. And I love the ocean! (beat) But why? ORLEAN 55 LAROCHE (shrugs) Done with Holacanthus ciliaris.

ORLEAN I'm looking for John Laroche. VINSON John's not here today.. heart holds yours. right? I saw you at the courthouse. Hi..DAY Orlean pulls up to the nursery. (CONTINUED) It's lovely. He's handsome. Could we maybe talk for a bit? I'm just trying to get a feel for -VINSON You have very beautiful hair. ORLEAN Susan Orlean.. is how I know. Thank you..... Hi. ORLEAN (beat) So you were in the swamp with him. His eyes are gentle. Oy. She recognizes Vinson from the courthouse. 57A 57 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Vinson comes over to her. His longblack hair is braided. Oh. Yes. VINSON I can see your sadness. ORLEAN (cont'd) Hi. so... I'm using a new conditioner and. He gently reaches out and touches it. She's taken. Today he's wearing a green t-shirt with white skulls. 37 57 CONTINUED: THERAPIST (CONT'D) So do you think you'll talk to this one? 57A EXT. I'm writing an article about John and I thought I'd drop by to.. VINSON I'm Vinson Osceola. I washed it this morning. ORLEAN (taken aback) I'm just a little tired. A few Indians are hauling plants. SEMINOLE NURSERY . Orlean approaches.. My * * * * * * . ORLEAN Oh.

Preferred customer. Hi! Hey! KAUFMAN ALICE Some key lime pie for ya today? KAUFMAN (thrilled she remembered) Okay. It's not personal. He's so in love. Just like that. It's the Indian way. grows right on a tree branch. ALICE Well. Vinson smiles. I am. I can't remem -- (CONTINUED) . He tenses as she comes up to him. I hope. KAUFMAN That's really sweet of you. Orlean scribbles "He turns me on" on her notepad. Still * Thank completely present. I could get some background for the -VINSON I'm not going to talk to you much. ain't I. 38 57A CONTINUED: Vinson nods. sits nervously in a booth. She just stands there. It cuts right through her. ORLEAN (cont'd) So maybe we could go and chat. hair combed. in fact! * * ALICE A friend of mine has this pretty little pink one. yeah. He touches her hand and heads back to work. She smiles warmly. She winks at him. reading about orchids. That sounds great. KAUFMAN Yes. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN . ALICE I'll pick you out an extra large piece. muscles straining against his shirt. watching Alice. 58 INT. I'm just a sweetie.DAY 58 57A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman. She watches him haul potted plants. immersed in the activity.

KAUFMAN There are more than thirty thousand kinds of orchids in the world. They get all their nourishment from the air and rain. that's a lot. ALICE Well. anyway. Awkward pause. you know your stuff! KAUFMAN Not really. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN That's great. well -I'm sorry. Her warmth so. ALICE Wow. Kaufman blurts: KAUFMAN But. 58 ALICE So I'll be right back with a big slice of key lime pie for my orchid expert.. He beams. I'm sorry. I was also wondering. ALICE (pointing at him excitedly) Right! Right! Boy. KAUFMAN I apologize. She smiles and turns to leave. huh? Yeah.. I'm impressed. 39 58 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN That's what's called an epiphyte. I'm just learning. ALICE Oh. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I'm going up to this orchid show on Saturday in Santa Barbara? And I -Alice's smile slips away. but they're not parasites. Alice turns back. Epiphytes grow on trees. still smiling. um.

) (cont'd) . One species looks like a German shepherd.O. all glowing.) There are more than thirty thousand known orchid species. ORLEAN (V. They are dull. Kaufman finds his attention drifting from orchids to women: all different shapes. He tries to study the flowers. copies something from her notebook onto the computer. one looks like an octopus. colors. One has eyes that contain the sadness of the world. watches Alice walk away and say something to another waitress. personalities.... One looks. one looks like a New York intellectual with whom you'd do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in bed. ORLEAN ( KAUFMAN (V. some in subtle clothing.O. like a school teacher. 59 INT. obligingly eats.) . one looks like an onion. He sweats.) I am fat.. Fuck the pie. One has eyes that dance. I have to get out of here right now. at her desk. I am old. 60 He smiles a thank you and 59 * * * * * * 58 * (CONTINUED) ..DAY Kaufman walks alone among the crowd of orchid enthusiasts.. who pay him no mind. past a Santa Barbara Orchid Society sign. He is sick with adoration for the women. 40 58 CONTINUED: (2) ALICE (nodding) So I'll be right back with your pie then.O. 60 EXT. He forces himself to look. He nods. ORLEAN (V. One looks like that girl in high school with creamy skin. SANTA BARBARA ORCHID SHOW .O. some in garish clothing.. NEW YORKER . one looks like a gymnast. one looks like a Midwestern beauty queen. The other waitress brings his pie.. The other waitress looks over at him.MORNING Orlean.

We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. He quickly shifts back to her face. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. The way I like them. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. * 63 * * * . The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. I don't need to know what their jobs is. We see old age and birth. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. He does it fast and unintentionally. We see the history of architecture. 63 INT. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. smiling at customers. an arm slipped through an arm. eating meat. war. I don't need to know them at all. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. A million women walking down the street. admiring a view. Those love them. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts.O. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. We see Alice serving food. love them madly.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. a shared look.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. 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. commerce. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. We see murder and procreation. The entire sequence takes two minutes.

Noisy chatter and calliope DARWIN (V. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE YEARS EARLIER Sepia. He finds The Portable Darwin. Look at me. 66 INT. Uh-huh. You'll see. LAROCHE Angraecum sesquipedale! Beauty! Darwin wrote about this one. The cover features a daguerreotype of Darwin.DAY 64 Crowded with orchid lovers. into which life was first breathed. (dramatic pause) It'll happen to you. and a booth that looks like a circus big top. mirror resilvering. A sickly Darwin writes at his desk. fondles its petals. 65 INT. EMPTY BEDROOM . I'm not prone to -Laroche runs over to a flower. It's all I think about. 42 64 INT. Kaufman paces and reads. BOOK-LINED STUDY . Hegel. plastic clowns.) 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. 66 . LAROCHE Once you get the sickness. SHOW HALL . ORLEAN I don't know. Elaborate displays include orchids on a ferris wheel.O. it takes over your life.NIGHT SUBTITLE: ENGLAND. fish. etc.NIGHT Hello? 65 * * A depressed Kaufman fishes on his floor through an ever increasing pile of books: about turtles. ORLEAN God! * LAROCHE Charles Darwin? Evolution guy? ORLEAN (annoyed) I know who Darwin is.

and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis by the way -. sure enough. 43 67 INT. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. Crowds. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal. Suddenly. LAROCHE (V. Then. And this attraction. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the flower. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean.DAY Blasting music. 69 EXT. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. is so much larger than either of them. The point is what's wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. Neither understands the significance of this interaction.O. KAUFMAN We start before life.O. LAROCHE (V. All is silent.proboscis means nose. MEADOW . EMPTY BEDROOM . This isn't a pissing contest.NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space.DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. But because of it. thinking. the world lives. The flower insists.. Silence.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. It finds an orchid which it resembles. Think about it. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -. this passion. Everyone thought he was a loon. 67 * 68 68 EXT.. SHOW HALL . like a lover.

orchids! Orchids? MALE GUEST I love that. Once you learn anything about orchids. You're supposed to. One of those trailer guys. then deeply into various flowers: a dizzying array of colors and shapes. stare deep into nectaries.O. carries it off. HUSBAND He's a great character. Orlean nods. carry boxes of plants. you'll devote your life to learning everything about them. that's a great detail. It's unexpected. You have to.) (cont'd) The insect. SHOW HALL . not too educated. covered in pollen. APARTMENT . (CONTINUED) . 70 INT. but taught himself everything there is to know about -(punchline) -. covered with pollen. falls in love with another flower and pollinates it. In the background people buzz around flowers: feel petals. Orlean looks at Laroche. 44 69 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. No front teeth. It merges with thousands of insects doing the same thing: Flying. She is detached here as well. She remains detached and scribbles on her pad: "Is this guy more alive than I am?" 71 INT.EARLY EVENING Orlean sits at the dining room table with her husband and another couple. LAROCHE You gotta fall in love with Orlean looks at Laroche. How did this relationship develop? This odd connection? Does it matter? Can we fight it? Should we? The insect. flies away. jabber passionately. FEMALE GUEST Oh. buzzing around flowers. Susie? 71 70 69 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * HUSBAND Still lives with his dad. Right.

O.CONTINUOUS Orlean enters and stares at herself in the mirror. which she loves. Susie gets to do a natural history thing... We see "I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion" on the computer EVENING Orlean is at her desk.) I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants. 73 INT.. LARGE EMPTY LIVING ROOM . ORLEAN (V. we hear them in voice-over. but his voice goes under. plus this tremendously quirky character -Orlean's husband goes on talking.NIGHT Kaufman paces furiously with his mini-cassette recorder. Orlean past her own reflection to the reflection of her husband chatting in the background. ORLEAN (V.O. Orlean cries and types. 74 73 * * * * * 72 * * 71 (CONTINUED) . She gets up and heads toward the bathroom. As the words appear on her screen.. 45 71 CONTINUED: HUSBAND So. ORLEAN (V.) What is it about people who collect.O. BATHROOM . NEW YORKER OFFICES .. They smile at each other.) I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. but it isn't part of my constitution. but there's a terrible distance between them. He's a sweaty mess. who get obsessed with these.O.) I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately. things? It's a real modern phenomenon ripe for the picking.) . 72 INT.. HUSBAND (O. 74 INT. no pun intended -ORLEAN (V.

then. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . too. You'd love him. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. farming. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. adapted. Yearning. Then. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. just like you! But he says. He rewinds the recorder. Donald waits for a response. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. It breaks every rule. religion. No response from Kaufman. heaving with excitement. lust.. he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. And the movie begins. All is silent. 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." As he listens.. in the last seconds of the montage. He's all for originality. we have to realize we all write in a genre. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. so we must find our originality within that genre. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. See. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . we see the whole of human history: tool-making. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. hunting. war. after the history of life on the planet. Charles. presses "play. into the night.

would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. 47 76 INT. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . too. then types. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. Through an open door.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. She was beautiful.O. Say. CUSTOMER #1 John.O. NURSERY . what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. to admire me. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. to admire my plants. LAROCHE (V. We opened a nursery. LAROCHE (V. my wife. From Peru. ORLEAN'S STUDY . 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 sits sadly for a moment. Laura was such a class act.) I got married. to ask me stuff. stare into space. John. One guy pulls Laroche aside. browse.) People started coming out of the woodwork.

It's like running away. Hey. 48 87 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Everything. For a person. maybe I can help. They just move on to what's next. 89 She waves back. 88 INT. Orlean looks out at the dark night. It means you figure out how to thrive in the world. Will he accept help from an agent? He glances at Marty's non-receding hairline. it's almost shameful to adapt. Marty smiles at him. Everyone gathers around as Laroche begins to talk. Adaptation is a profound process. MARTY (cont'd) Just kidding. Kaufman looks at Marty. ORLEAN Well. Laroche muses: LAROCHE (cont'd) You know why I love plants? Because they're so mutable. Orlean looks at him. they have no memory. 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marty waves at a passing beauty. I don't know why I thought I could -See her? MARTY I fucked her up the ass. After a long silence.DAY Kaufman sits with his agent Marty in a glass-walled office. I should've just stuck with my own stuff. VAN . People can't sometimes. KAUFMAN I don't know how to adapt this. keeps walking. it's easier for plants. Kaufman follows the girl's ass with his eyes. (CONTINUED) . AGENT'S OFFICE .NIGHT Laroche drives. KAUFMAN It's about flowers. * * 88 87 * * * LAROCHE I believe some folks were really spending time with me because they were lonely. his full head of hair.

MARTY Look. MARTY Are they amazing? KAUFMAN I don't know." (looking up defiantly) New York Times Book Review.. reads: KAUFMAN "There is not nearly enough of him to fill a book. The book's a jumping off point. do something profound and simple. The book has no story. Marty gets distracted by another sexy woman walking by. KAUFMAN I didn't want to do that this time.what's his name? (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * . The girl journalist spends the whole movie searching for the crazy plant nut guy -. You're the king." Blah blah blah. It's got that crazy plant nut guy. I wanted to grow as a writer. It's someone else's material. I have a responsibility. I can't structure this.. MARTY I'd fuck her up the ass. right? Kaufman pulls out a folded newspaper clipping. I always thought this one could be like Apocalypse Now. No one in town can make up a crazy story like you. It's that sprawling New Yorker shit. (uncertain) I think they are. what I tell a lot of guys is pick another film and use it as a model. Oh man." So Orlean "digresses in long passes. Anyway.. MARTY Make one up. He's funny. Show people how amazing flowers are. 89 * * * * * * KAUFMAN There's no story. 49 89 CONTINUED: MARTY It's not only about "No narrative really unites these passages..

Laroche hides around the corner of the building. He reads the page. The judge is a moron. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit. talks to reporters. Buster. COURTHOUSE . 89B EXT.. he gets up and sits naked in front of his typewriter.. smoking and ranting at Orlean." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this. Reporters talk to video cameras.O. 50 89 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN John Laroche. at the end of the day. at his car. 89A INT. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER . MARTY Charlie. MARTY She has to travel deep into the darkest swamps of Africa to find the mysterious "Laroche. (CONTINUED) . three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. alone in bed. He lies there. KAUFMAN (V. I think it would be a terrible career move.) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder.DAY A crowd of LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. ejaculates. LERNER The only reason we made the no-contest plea was for convenience.DAY Kaufman. EMPTY BEDROOM . After a few moments.

It doesn't protect the preserves the way we would've hoped. KAUFMAN (V. They were nailed on a technicality. She sips iced tea.DAY Orlean interviews the prosecuter. Indians. Orlean. please? PROSECUTOR Exactly. But the endangered species were attached to ordinary branches. Okay. ORLEAN It's a hollow victory. He's funny. Please don't put in I said.O. I love to mutate plants. Nobody's allowed to take those. goddamned Indians. what with the protection the Native Americans have. the trial. A park official is being interviewed. PARK OFFICIAL The ruling is murky. The Native American protection is only in regard to endangered species. ORLEAN Hence the branches. isn't it? Laroche gets a five hundred dollar fine and a six month ban from the Fakahatchee. The rapid fire click-click of typing. especially Laroche. 89C 89B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * PROSECUTOR I was determined to convict them.) Okay. we open with Laroche. 89C INT. (turns to waitress) Could I get some lemon. It was all so (MORE) (CONTINUED) * . not even the goddamned Indians. PROSECUTOR (shaking his head) I hate that guy. 90 MONTAGE Jumble of images: Laroche talking. it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. 51 89B CONTINUED: BUSTER Just like any treaty you guys sign. So that's what we got 'em on. RESTAURANT . who I found so maddening. he says. flowers.

LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . Enthusiastic off-screen typing.. ORLEAN (V.. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. How about you? Nothing. papers coffee cups. that's why I'm so smart. We show Laroche. we have the court case. Okay.. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . They had to confront what a dark. David's out of town.O. he says. Just thought I could get some more LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. overabundant place might have hidden in it. I was mutated as baby. ORLEAN Oh. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. Orlean is silent for a moment. Okay we open at the beginning of time. He peers through the darkness at the books. okay -91 I don't mean to bother you.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear.. ORLEAN Ah. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun.O. reads. dense. 92 93 OMITTED INT.. opens it.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV. into a place as dark and dense as steel wool. He picks up The Orchid Thief. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp. I'm just hanging out.that's funny.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. EMPTY BEDROOM . we show flowers. John.. okay.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches.

but sometimes bad things happen. his front teeth fly in all directions. LAROCHE Sure you don't want to come. his wife in front. We're finally pulling out of debt. honey. A screech of tires and another car crashes head on into theirs. Johnny? LAROCHE Everything's good. Praise Allah. 94 INT. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . Vishnu. 95 INT. LAROCHE It was going well. ORLEAN So. dad? His father doesn't respond. Darkness descends.A FEW MOMENTS LATER They pile into a nice new American I'm telling you. NINE YEARS EARLIER Laroche ushers his wife. Orlean starts to tear up. Laroche smiles back at his mother. and uncle out of the house. Uncle Jim. Laroche's face smacks the steering wheel. Laroche pulls into traffic. (CONTINUED) 95 * . UNCLE JIM Nursery business good. And all the rest of 'em. LAROCHE'S CAR . LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . His father watches TV. his mother and uncle in back. mother.DAY SUBTITLE: NORTH MIAMI. then gets professional to cover. Buddha.NIGHT 93B 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * 94 Laroche glances at the TV. 53 93A CONTINUED: LAROCHE The smartest guy I know. On top are two framed photos: one of Laroche's sister and one of Laroche's mother. There's only a photo of Laroche's sister on the TV set now. what happened to your nursery? 93B INT. tell me. This last year's been a dream. MOTHER Amen.

97 INT. His uncle hits Laroche's wife in the head. jerking her forward and landing on top of her. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I judged her. LAROCHE She divorced me soon after she regained consciousness. 98A INT. the hurricane destroyed my sits by his comatose wife.DAY Banged-up and missing his front teeth. CEMETERY .DAY Laroche. Why? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) ORLEAN Because I could. It's like a free pass. 98B EXT. (CONTINUED) .NIGHT 98 * * * * 98A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98B * * * * 97 96 95 It's dark. No one can judge you if you almost died. She has the phone mouthpiece flipped up so she can't be heard. and the green pulp that was once plant life. I think I'd leave my marriage. wood. on the cordless phone. Laroche. LAROCHE'S STOOP . too. She regains control and flips it down to talk. ORLEAN If I almost died. in his mourning suit. HOSPITAL ROOM . adding insult to injury. STREET . stares out at the street where the accident took place. And then. Laroche stands amidst a group of mourners at a double funeral. 54 95 CONTINUED: His mother rockets forward smashing through the windshield. 98 EXT.DAY Laroche walks through a field where the remains of his greenhouse are scattered about: glass. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT -NIGHT Orlean is crying hard now. 96 EXT.

She's drunk.O. how's the script. I can't figure out how to make it work. Margaret. sit. I know. sit. LAROCHE I wasn't gonna give them a conventional little potted-plant place. 55 98B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (V. Oh. She pulls him down onto a couch and puts her arm around him. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . KAUFMAN I've been busy is all. MARGARET (beat) Well. an expert. man! MARGARET KAUFMAN Hi. 98C INT. (CONTINUED) . I don't know. John. I understand. I took the job. You don't call me no more. lover? KAUFMAN I shouldn't have taken it. The many turtle posters been replace with many orchid posters.NIGHT 99 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 98C 98B * * * * * * * * * * * A sad Kaufman. I wanted to do something amazing. MARGARET (cont'd) So. 99 INT. MARGARET You hate me. sees Margaret across a room crowded with young Hollywood types. Hey. I'm full of shit. I was gonna give them something beer in hand. to get their nursery going. There's no story. He tries to duck but she spots him.) Everything.NIGHT Laroche is on his cordless phone. PARTY HOUSE . Y'know? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. so when the Seminoles wanted a white guy. I knew it would break my heart to start another nursery. She runs over and hugs him.

Margaret doesn't bother removing her arm from Kaufman's shoulder. It is a challenging one. I'll get Marg to send it to you. we should head. 56 99 CONTINUED: MARGARET Oh. Kaufman and David shake hands. (CONTINUED) . * * * * * * * * * * * * DAVID Well... God bless you for trying. MARGARET Hey you. DAVID KAUFMAN MARGARET David spent some time in the Everglades. huh? KAUFMAN Not really. Oh. Boy. (to Kaufman) Charlie. MARGARET Charlie said it wasn't really helpful for him to be down there. Hey.. this is my friend David. but. KAUFMAN That'd be great. wow. assumed there'd be some dramatic -KAUFMAN It was scary. Hey. Cool. Marg. so did you get anything out of going into the swamp? Um -KAUFMAN 99 * * * * * * * I * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARGARET S-s-scary the way Orlean described it.. I had a piece about it in National Geographic. story. Man. Davey. DAVID No? I was fascinated. A young man approaches. Charlie.

102 INT. Hey. I'm banned. 100 INT. put that in the article! 101 INT. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. man. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . You're the best. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . I don't know if it'll kill me. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. Hey. Goddamn crucified me. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. hey.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. but if it doesn't. Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. dangerous. Donald. 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. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. but.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. And you are amazing. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. EMPTY BEDROOM . hand on Margaret's ass. She kisses his ear. I'll have something honest to give the world.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. sits there." Orlean closes the book. as dense as steel wool. She dials the phone. NEW YORKER OFFICE . I'd like you to take Yeah. 'Course. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page.

AIRPLANE . SWAMP . 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief.O. 104B INT. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . ORLEAN (V. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT. Hey.O. I'm putting a song in. I'm so glad to be home. AIRPLANE . The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand." Donald looks up from his work. 104A EXT. try to think of a song about multiple personality.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. Full of monstrous alligators. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. sweetie. alligators.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. STUDIO APARTMENT . DONALD Charles. So. impracticable. 105 INT. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. God. counted fifty and

SWAMP . Kaufman.. She sighs contentedly. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by swamp. He tenses. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. The two men walk easily on peaty ground. Five or six. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . pulls up his pants. adjusts himself. Okay. He heads up the aisle. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess.) 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. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing. and exits the bathroom. then goes back to her conversation. AIRPLANE . KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. 107 INT. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. She regards Kaufman blankly.. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. unbuttons her blouse. The stewardess slips out of her blazer. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. probably in the world. stands. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. RENTAL CAR . AIRPLANE BATHROOM . 106 INT. He takes One of the stewardesses laughs. Five to six thousand years old. takes his seat.CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. which is completely dry. ORLEAN (V.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. I've waited all day to feel you inside me. About that.

O. So. four and a half. She sighs. there's usually water. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. 120 . She glances at her why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor.O. ORLEAN (V. holds a phone to her ear. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. Good for us today. and right here it's about five miles wide. across the room reading a book. it's twenty miles long. It was sweltering. We've been going through a bit of a drought. or nineteen. five.. There were snakes and alligators. I called Laroche. KAUFMAN Um. MIKE OWEN Well. nineteen to twenty. And I had this thought. 120 INT. continues typing. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT ..) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. ORLEAN (V. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. three to five miles wide. nineteen. It's about twenty miles long. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp.NIGHT Orlean types. again. black water.

pg. ORLEAN Thanks very much..O.. is on the phone. He hi-lites the passage. ORLEAN Yeah. 61 121-123 OMITTED 123A INT. ORLEAN Well. PLANE . Really unique. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (beat.NIGHT Orlean.) Beautifully written. PULL BACK TO: 126 INT.C. Valerie sits at a table with Orlean and an open New Yorker magazine. dirty from the swamp. fleeting and out of reach. of course there are ghost orchids out there! I've stolen them! (beat. Laroche is such a fun character. * VALERIE We're big fans. He finds himself lost in it. RESTAURANT .'" VALERIE (O. VALERIE It's funny and fresh. 121-123 123A * * * * Kaufman is deeply moved.) . KAUFMAN (V. Thank you. then he cleared his throat and said: 'You should have gone with me. HOTEL ROOM . 125 CLOSE-UP OF MAGAZINE The line: ".. a cleared throat) You should have gone with me. Thank you. then looks at the smiling photo of Orlean. thanks.clears throat) Jesus Christ.MIDDAY 126 125 124 Busy lunch crowd.. 124 INT. (CONTINUED) . John's a character all right.NIGHT A morose Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. And sad in a way.

the nursery lot. Florida Seminole reservation. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. more orchids. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun ORLEAN I've got to write it first. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. wearing a Cleveland Indians T-shirt. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. we'd really like to option this.DAY 128 * * * EXT. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . a real affection for Laroche in her manner. So I'll be doing that. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. VAN . These things mostly never get made. but seems to be enjoying herself now. ORLEAN More John. 127 INT. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood.DAY 127 * * Laroche. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. Orlean is charmed. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. um. Orlean holds on. (CONTINUED) .

Now it's "Crazy White Man. LAROCHE Most of them don't even bother calling me John anymore. He waits. Orlean scans the grounds for Vinson. gestures for Orlean to sit on a chair piled high with junk. While you write. BUSTER (CONTINUED) * * * * . I'll study the shit out of acting.CONTINUOUS 129 128 * * * * * Laroche enters his office. Back! (hangs up) Hey. Buster. LAROCHE (cont'd) (into phone) I'll call back. Before Orlean can respond. I want to order some more of those pink string beans! (yelling) Pink String Beans! Pink String Beans! Buster appears in the door." That's a good title for the movie. I'll take acting classes. shares the seat with it. LAROCHE (cont'd) You won't hurt anything. LAROCHE I wear this just to screw with 'em. Sem-ih-nole! (to Orlean) How do you say Seminole in Spanish? (into phone) That's right. LAROCHE (cont'd) (Yelling into phone) Hello? Hello? Hi? This is John Laroche from the Seminole Nursery. A few young Indian guys haul bags of potting soil and look at Laroche sourly. John. TRAILER . 63 128 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I've got all the right qualities to play Laroche. yes! Yeah. looks at some papers on his desk. Laroche indicates the giant cartoon Indian on his T-shirt. 129 INT. Laroche picks up the phone and dials an impossibly long number. Orlean moves the junk

we're not closing shop. the guys on my crew here. I'm really excited about. And we'll recover quick and -130 INT. so all the dead shrubs. There are tears welling in her eyes. He glances over at Orlean. turn 'em into big ones. Buy little ones.. Buster. Laroche stops short. Orlean holds on. So if it's a question of productivity -. The sprinklers were busted for a while. BUSTER John. Her heart is breaking for It's fixed. BUSTER No kidding. John -LAROCHE We'll get into plant multiplication. VAN . LAROCHE (CONT'D) Y'know. I been meaning to talk to you about that. Simple plant multiplication for the masses. No. LAROCHE I figure just because Project Ghost Orchid is dead. BUSTER Listen. 64 129 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I was trying to order some pink string beans from Argentina. ORLEAN I'll wait outside.. what she can to make herself invisible. all they do is smoke weed all day. LAROCHE Orlean does * * * * 129 Laroche stares at Buster. humiliated in front of her.A FEW MINUTES LATER Laroche weaves through traffic. sell 'em at a profit. But I got it fixed.I got lot's of ideas. 130 * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . we're thinking maybe now's a good time for you to take a few weeks. Laroche looks back at Buster. Buster stares back.

Crazy White Man's bad publicity. I was just wondering if you might be willing to talk some more. Oooh. I'll sue. PHONE BOOTH . empty.) I'm no longer interested in orchids. I'm pursuing other avenues.C. it's Susan. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.) What about? ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John! Stop! I'm trying to put together a book. It rings for a long time. and He's in the room but the camera searchs and never finds him. 65 130 CONTINUED: LAROCHE Goddamn politics. Susan who? LAROCHE (O.CONTINUOUS 133 * * * * * * * * * * * * The flower posters are gone. I already did some legal research on this.. 131 132 OMITTED INT.DAY 131 132 130 * * * * * It's on the side of a desolate stretch of Florida road. LAROCHE (O.C. They can't fire me. The room looks sad. LITTLE BOY'S ROOM . And I ain't going to quit.) ORLEAN . * . crazy white man. LAROCHE (O. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) John. Don't just abandon me down here. Finally: LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) (ghost-like) Yeah? 133 INT. We don't see Laroche at all. There is nothing on the walls. Crazy. Look.. (pounds steering wheel) I can't believe I'm dealing with this! (pounds steering wheel) Like I could give a damn.. Orlean dials the phone. Laroche gets quiet and they drive in silence. If they fire me.

At one point. then falls to the floor and breaks into tears. Laroche hangs up. 136 137 OMITTED MONTAGE 136 137 * * * Susan Orlean. On the dresser. a copy of I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. her journalist persona on. lies on her bed and writes in her journal. 137A INT. make-up. She flips through her address book. what are -- 134 * * * * * * * 135 * * * * * * * * * 135 INT.NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON.O. hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a peasant blouse. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman plays on the stereo. And I thought. PHONE BOOTH . On the walls are posters of Dylan. She is so pure. lonely and lost. skinny teenage girl in embroidered. attends orchid shows. talks to various orchid enthusiasts. a NOW button.) I baby-sat for Kelly tonight and just stared into her blue. A blonde. Velvet Underground and a pilfered movie poster from Bergman's Persona. infant eyes. visits nurseries. Just stop crying! This is your fucking life! What are you doing? What are you doing. Kelly smiled up at me: the baby trying to comfort the fucked-up adult.CONTINUOUS LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Thank you for your time. GIRL'S BEDROOM . Then I 137A * * * Orlean sits on her bed. (CONTINUED) . a tampax box. OHIO. so beautiful. it's starting already. how perfect. on the floor are records and books. Susan. THIRTY-FOUR YEARS EARLIER The little girl's room from before. sits in lecture halls. What happens to everyone? I apologized to her for what she will have to become to survive the nastiness. TEENAGE GIRL (V. I couldn't stop. ORLEAN Goddamnit. but it's a teenager's room now. 66 134 INT. HOTEL ROOM . She is bored and distracted. There is no one to call. Orlean stands there for a moment. so present.

Yeah. her trembly fingers. large the scope was and. eyes herself in the mirror. ORLEAN Hello? David! Hi. ORLEAN Yeah. There's a silence. hon. can I call you back? I've got an interview and -. Let me call you in the morning.. So.LATER 137B Orlean. Her notebook and tape recorder are on the table. There's Vinson's phone number. it might be late. all the Native American aspects and. um. ORLEAN (slightly tipsy) Hey. I'm glad you reconsidered talking. anxiously gets ready to go out. honey. She picks up. 137B INT. After a few moments.. plays with her hair. The phone rings. Yeah. Um. She sips a glass of champagne. She waves. I'll speak to you in the morning. Hey... y'know. (CONTINUED) . thanks for coming. After a long beat she dials the phone. okay. Okay. okay. 137C INT. Not really. Vinson enters. 67 137A CONTINUED: 137A * * * * * * * * * * * * * 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * She studies her orchid contact list. how. VINSON I don't know. I was just fascinated with this story It must've been crazy! Boy.. Uh-huh. Work good? Good. y'know.A LITTLE LATER Orlean sits by herself at a table and watches the door. ORLEAN Um. HOTEL BAR . He saunters over and sits. Y'know? Vinson watches Just. dolled-up. HOTEL ROOM .No. this whole media circus? Orlean fumbles to turn on her tape recorder. This should be really helpful. what was it like for you.. VINSON Sure thing.

ORLEAN Oh. I apologize. ORLEAN (cont'd) . 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. we can talk here. Native American. I just wanted to get some. ORLEAN Oh..Did I -communicate something? No.. do you want to get laid or not. She's shaking. 138 139 OMITTED INT. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay.. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. no. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . here. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there. if -Ah. DONALD Hey.this seems fine. for me.. DONALD How was Florida. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. I think we can -. She finishes her drink. Y'know. EMPTY HOUSE . I just -. look. typing furiously at his desk. He barely looks at her. um. Orlean is at a loss. No. VINSON I drove an hour to get here. Donald. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off.. he seems bored and impatient.. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. Um. looks up. No.. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. Orlean just sits there. to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room. Gosh. um. so I thought it would be helpful.

smiles. 69 139 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) Because of my multiple personality theme. It's 3:32. I've posted one over both our work areas. did exactly that. but Bob says Casablanca. slept in a week. (CONTINUED) 141 142 * * . Mixed genres. I got a song! "Happy Together. one of the greatest screenplays ever written. DONALD You shouldn't have done that. Donald appears backlit in the doorway and seems oddly threatening. Donald breaks the tension. I made you a copy of McKee's Ten Commandments. Bob says -KAUFMAN You sound like you're in a cult. DONALD Cool. Kaufman disappears upstairs. Okay. Bob says an Image System greatly increases the complexity of an aesthetic emotion. it's just good writing technique.CONTINUOUS Kaufman tears down the Ten Commandments. then:) Oh.NIGHT Kaufman lies half-awake in bed. I've chosen the motif of broken mirrors to show my protagonist's fragmented self." I was worried about putting a song in a thriller. 140 INT. Good night. He looks over at the clock. 140 * 139 DONALD (cont'd) 'Cause it's extremely helpful. his eyes darting back and forth. EMPTY BEDROOM . DONALD No. KAUFMAN I need to go to bed. sweating. They look at each other. (lies down on floor) Hey. (types. EMPTY BEDROOM . I haven't * * * * * Donald remains on the floor. 141 142 OMITTED INT.

KAUFMAN (V.) (CONT'D) There are too many ideas and things and people. I'm fat and repulsive -ORLEAN PHOTO Shhh. begins to jerk off. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I don't know how to do this. Then: Kaufman is alone in bed. KAUFMAN (cont'd) Such sweet. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you. making love. Kaufman switches on a It talks. Whittle it down. It seems somehow sleepy now. He looks at the still smiling photo. sad insights.O. flips through it. too many directions to go. They finish. She smiles at him throughout. The photo smiles warmly at him. smiling author photo. Then: Kaufman and Orlean are in his bed together. Kaufman studies her delicate. find the thing you care passionately about and write about that. He reads one. I can't sleep. too. but can be heard happily snoring off-screen. He stares at the photo. You're not. 70 142 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN * * 142 Damn it. There are now many yellow hi-lited passages. heaving. melancholy face. Its smile broadens. 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. Donald is no longer in the room. KAUFMAN (cont'd) I like looking at you. Charlie. Kaufman closes his eyes. Kaufman flips to the glowing. pulls The Orchid Thief from his bag. So true. He's in love. ORLEAN PHOTO I like looking at you. You've written a beautiful book. Focus on one thing in the story. I'm losing my hair.

typing at her desk. Morning. hey. too. really good ones. you guys are so smart! brain factory (reading book) "John Laroche is a tall guy. The cop is after them on a motorcycle. this morning... KAUFMAN We see Susan Orlean. KITCHEN . flirty smile) I figured there might be something. CAROLINE Really. fragile. in his underwear. * * * * * * * * * DONALD (modestly) I got some ideas. enters with Caroline. haunted by loneliness. KAUFMAN DONALD (pouring coffee) You seem chipper.MORNING Kaufman paces and talks animatedly into his mini-recorder. 143 INT. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I have some new ideas. sees Caroline with Donald. The killer flees on horseback with the girl. shirt we've seen Donald wearing. We hear her voice-over. DONALD I'm putting in a chase sequence now. It's like a * CAROLINE God. beautiful. I'm good. Hey. skinny as a stick. 71 142 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN PHOTO (cont'd) (sweet.. smiles. delicate." Donald.. Hi! DONALD CAROLINE * * * She's in a T* * 143 142 Kaufman looks up.

) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. KAUFMAN (V. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. Bergman's Persona. it sounds exciting. She thinks. who is this man? She thinks. Thanks. distraught. EMPTY BEDROOM . I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. At him? 150 INT. DONALD Thanks.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses. He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . peasant blouse. right? DONALD Hey. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties. EMPTY BEDROOM . CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research.A. NOW button. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. why am I here? She thinks.O. Like technology versus horses. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. L. women snicker.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph." 149 EXT. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person. STREET . that's the big pay-off.

pg. She kisses him on the cheek.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. 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.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. get to merge our thoughts. sits on young Susan's bed and cries. It now looks warm and inviting. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. ORLEAN Not like a marriage. KITCHEN . KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up. We see the loneliness of her childhood. It's intimate. 151 * * * * 152 INT. KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. He smiles at Orlean's photo. 73 151 INT. and how it forever scars the little girl.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. like a marriage. Her drunken mother enters. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. EMPTY BEDROOM . her mother's disappointment at life. 152 153 INT. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . EMPTY LIVING ROOM . I'm finding you. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. I love that. The phone rings. Kaufman is immensely pleased. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald.

Good. * KAUFMAN And tell her how much I love her book. KAUFMAN I think really good now. As she sees fit. Say I think she's a great writer.. or confusing to discuss what I'm exploring in the screenplay at this point. It's Valerie. 74 153 CONTINUED: VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Hi... KAUFMAN Um. Just bugging you again. well. Sweat appears on Kaufman's brow.. All color drains from Kaufman's face. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) Good enough. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) That's fair.. So. Tell her I said that. Okay. I'll let her know. y'know. for me it's distracting to. KAUFMAN * VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) And she said she'd love to meet you. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) I told her you were making terrific progress and she's really excited to read the script. VALERIE (PHONE VOICE) So I spoke to Susan yesterday. Great. KAUFMAN Tell Susan I'd be very happy to meet her at a future date... 153 KAUFMAN (beat) Uh-huh. before I finish.. Okay? * (CONTINUED) . Charlie. How's everything going? Good.

but not at him. holding his stomach. It is obvious she's only semi-conscious. He watches a slightly haggard woman with a bandaged head sitting in a small room across the hall. Caroline. Maybe it's even smirking. It's not glowing.DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-cassette. Okay. KAUFMAN (V. Just keep us posted. She glances over in his Of course it's impossible for me to write about anyone else's -Kaufman's eyes light up. KAUFMAN Nice talking to you.CONTINUOUS 154 * * Donald types at his desk on his computer. Because we're very excited and anxious and all those good things. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .O. KAUFMAN (V. mocking the seriousness of what I do. Kaufman storms in. why aren't there any cute guys in emergency rooms. on the floor. She thinks -An attendant enters the room across the hall and wheels the woman out. Charlie. I'm completely selfinvolved. 75 153 CONTINUED: (2) VALERIE (cont'd) Will do. It's still smiling. She thinks. sips coffee and skims a magazine.O.) (CONT'D) I'm an idiot. EMERGENCY ROOM . 153 * * * Kaufman hangs up and looks at the photo of Orlean. like some kind of fucking funhouse mirror version of me! But let me tell you. 155 INT.) She thinks I'm repulsive. (CONTINUED) 156 * * * * * * * * * * . 156 INT. Donald's off-screen typing grows louder. She looks through him.DAY 155 Kaufman is on a gurney and hooked up to an IV. KAUFMAN You can sit here and pretend to be a writer. Kaufman paces frantically. doubles over. you don't know what writing is! Kaufman grabs his stomach. 154 INT. He smiles. EMPTY BEDROOM .

I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you. bald. naked women adorn the walls. "I am old.NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. Charlie Kaufman. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. fat. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. old. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow. John! . I'll take you in.) Movie opens. maybe you'd -LAROCHE Yeah. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. I know. how's it going? 161A INT. It's fascinating.O. but I still haven't seen a ghost. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . His voice-over carpets the scene. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. paces. And I was hoping. look.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson. I am fat. HOTEL ROOM . I'm doing pornography. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. Oh.

The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. he's also eating himself to death. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. doesn't say anything. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. I changed it a little. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. Because at the end when he forces the woman. It' What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. Donald appears in the doorway with a script. Also.NIGHT Kaufman types. But. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. to eat herself. DONALD I don't think so. (CONTINUED) * * * . DONALD I don't know what that means. repugnant. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. DONALD I finished my script. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them. who's really him. I wanted to thank you for your idea. 77 162 INT. anyway. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. The cassette player plays. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. It was very helpful. ridiculous. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. EMPTY BEDROOM . like.

The car veers onto the shoulder. That's what I have to do. he lazily corrects it.A BIT LATER The sun has come up strong. You're an artist. 78 162 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I'm insane. DONALD That's kinda weird. (CONTINUED) 163 164 * * * * . So if you're stuck -Kaufman shoots Donald a look. Because I can't make flowers fascinating. DONALD I'm sure you had good reasons. paying little attention to the road. Laroche speeds along with one finger on the wheel. Orlean is tense. It's solipsistic. DONALD Hey. Charles. am I in the script? KAUFMAN I'm going to New York. I'm pathetic. That's it. It's narcissistic. Oh. CAR . 163 164 OMITTED INT. DONALD Don't get mad at me for saying this. DONALD I don't know what that word means. I'll meet her. KAUFMAN I've written myself into my screenplay. Charles. It's eating itself. Because I suck. I'm eating myself. It looks hot. Because I'm pathetic. I'm fat and I'm Ourobouros. but Bob's got a seminar in New York this weekend at the Hyatt Regency. Because I have no idea how to write. It's pathetic. KAUFMAN The reason is I'm too timid to speak to the woman who wrote the book. huh? 162 KAUFMAN It's self-indulgent.

not an aberration -. through the most intense heat I'd ever felt. And we found ourselves in this charred prairie. They drive in silence for a little while. but I was realizing more and more that Laroche was an extreme. past the absolute certainty that you'll never find it. sun blasted. the hopeful journey through darkness into light. So we walked. snowy Polyrrhiza lindenii.MORNING 165-167 168 She watches him. Encyclia tempensis. 79 164 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I remember one time when I was fifteen. They sink to their knees.DAY Kaufman. sweaty and anxious. Kaufman arrives at the New Yorker building and enters with steely determination. ORLEAN (V. I wanted to turn back. John. Bees. The ground is soft. something to pursue. walks along. I had goddamn bloody blisters on my feet. my mother and I came to the Fakahatchee to look for a ghost. Something big runs by in the distance. And there in the middle of it was this one gorgeous. and dragonflies hover. MIDTOWN NEW YORK CITY STREET . SWAMP . But my mom said.O.most for something exceptional. We couldn't find one. past hopelessness. LAROCHE Here we go. y'know. there it'll be. 164A * * 164 * * * * * * * * * Laroche and Orlean step off the levee into black water. Frogs croak. even at their peril. I never thought many people in the world were like John. (CONTINUED) . Laroche points to a yellow flower. desolate. We walked for hours. it's a struggle to pull their feet up to walk. if you keep searching for something past doubt. rather than abide an ordinary life. 165-167 OMITTED 168 EXT.) He made it sound like a Bible story. Laroche lights a cigarette. Things slither past in the water. Birds screech. 164A EXT. Gnats and mosquitoes

172 Kaufman follows her. But I'm no snob. Orlean is a sweaty mess.DAY 169 170 * * * Kaufman rides up in the crowded elevator. Not just pretty ones. 169 170 OMITTED INT. . NEW YORK CITY STREET . LAROCHE (peppy) They're right nearby. Uh-huh. ORLEAN * 168 * LAROCHE See. Soon the elevator is emptied out with the exception of Kaufman. frizzed hair. and faces front. The doors open. (pointing to another orchid) Rigid Epidendrum. 172 171 * * EXT. presses "lobby". I found you two already. The elevator arrives at the lobby. isn't it? Orlean examines it. This time Orlean gets on. It stops a few times. The elevator continues up. I'm interested in all orchids. Orlean looks at him blankly. The New Yorker logo is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. I'll show you every orchid you want Nobody gets off or on. 171 EXT. Just follow me.LATE MORNING The sun is much higher in the sky. That's an ugly-ass orchid. anxious. Orlean laughs appreciatively. Kaufman sweats. Kaufman hesitates. ELEVATOR . LAROCHE (CONT'D) Clamshell orchid.DAY Orlean walks along. studies the back of her head. scraped. The doors close. Orlean gets out. Kaufman hates himself. dirty. I'll find you a fucking ghost if it kills me. It begins its descent and stops once again at the New Yorker. You know that. people get off and on. 80 168 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) Nice little sucker. He points at a tiny orchid on another tree. Kaufman sweats. Kaufman is panicked. Laroche continues and Orlean attempts to keep pace. SWAMP .

) (cont'd) Likes tuna. hysterical. SWAMP . KAUFMAN (V. KAUFMAN (V. reading Vanity Fair.O. knocking over a bedside lamp and shattering the bulb. He's frustrated.) Orlean turns from the prosecutor to the waitress and says: Could I get some lemon. stop. KAUFMAN (V. The waitress nods and leaves. Use! A waitress brings a tuna sandwich and an iced tea to Orlean.NIGHT Kaufman types from his notes. Funny detail: New Yorker writer reads Vanity Fair.NOON Orlean follows Laroche.DAY 173 Orlean sits by herself. He paces. then go in another direction. drinks iced tea. yanks the sheets from the bed.) Likes lemon in tea and her voice is not at all what I imagined. KAUFMAN (V. please? Kaufman reads what he has written. HOTEL ROOM . swings them wildly. Thanks. She watches him start off in one direction.O. Good stuff! Orlean looks up from her magazine and smiles at the waitress.O.O. Interesting! 174 EXT. tries to tear ORLEAN Could I get some lemon please? Kaufman scribbles. 175 INT. ORLEAN Can I ask you a personal question? Laroche turns and scowls at her. Kaufman sits a few tables away. He scribbles in his notebook. RESTAURANT . 81 173 INT. (CONTINUED) 175 * * * * * * * * 174 * * . LAROCHE We're not lost.) Reads Vanity Fair. Good character details.

Good. KAUFMAN I gotta go. I mean. Hello? KAUFMAN (CONT'D) 175 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Hey. the other reason I'm calling is to tell you The Three is just amazing. heaves. KAUFMAN (hollow) You can't rush inspiration. KAUFMAN I don't know what that is. KAUFMAN Marty. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Donald's script! A smart. Y'know. are you making headway? Valerie's breathing down my neck. Best script I've read this year. I have an appointment. The phone rings. it's Marty. Um. edgy thriller. Two fucking talented guys in one family. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Okay. buddy. He answers it. How's it going? Has it been helpful to talk to the writer? What's her name? KAUFMAN Susan Orlean. It's been okay. still holding the glass. maybe you could bring your brother on to help you finish the orchid thing. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) I'll sell it for a shitload. 82 175 CONTINUED: He stops. don't say that. He's really goddamn amazing at structure. Oh. fair bends to pick up the broken glass. MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Well. I mean -- MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Just a thought.

LAROCHE Well. SWAMP . Laroche sticks the twig into the ground. knocks over the twig. He won't look at her. He pokes around on the ground for something. stares at it. Laroche smiles sheepishly at Orlean. Laroche looks down at it. LAROCHE (cont'd) So do you collect anything? ORLEAN (non-responsive) Not really. Rage and panic sweep across her face. it's about -ORLEAN The sundial isn't working. We want to be heading southeast. comes up with a straight twig.LATER 176 175 * * The sun is high. He looks up at her. he puts the twig back. He stretches his legs. It is so. Finally: LAROCHE I'm just turned around a little. LAROCHE (cont'd) You should eat something. her fists clench into balls. Finish! Finish! 176 EXT. (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE Orlean stares at the twig in the ground. This relaxes Laroche. She looks at Laroche. wait a few minutes. LAROCHE (cont'd) A Without looking at Orlean. She stares at him. Orlean and Laroche sit on dry ground. Orlean takes a cracker. 83 175 CONTINUED: (2) MARTY (TELEPHONE VOICE) Adios. y'know it's not really about collecting the thing. sees her staring at him. but busies himself opening the backpack and pulling out food. and we'll be able to tell which way the sun is moving. I'll just set this up. amigo.

84 176 CONTINUED: Her eyes become wild. They rise. bald man on the street. LAROCHE I've done this a million times. look. we have to get out as long as we walk straight. and go straight ahead. NYC STREETS (MONTAGE) . I am repulsive. I mean. Out of here. Laroche leads Orlean back into the brush.DAY I * * 179 177 178 * * * 176 * * * * * * * * Laroche leads the way. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Okay. LAROCHE (cont'd) What I mean is we'll get somewhere. I am just one more old. Laroche points them in a direction and they walk. fuck the sundial. logically. balding. ORLEAN (panicky) Look. some dark fantasy plays out in her brain.O. Orlean is stony. I need to -LAROCHE The thing about computers. He eyes other sad-looking.) I am fat. I just say to myself. screw it. We'll just go straight and eventually we'll get there. Whenever everything's killing me. KAUFMAN (V. a sense of defeat and humiliation that he tries to conceal. can't write. 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. 179 EXT. . 177 178 OMITTED EXT. I am old. overweight men wandering the streets also. Orlean looks sadly at Laroche. Laroche seems unaware. SWAMP .MORNING Kaufman wanders.

MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. 182 INT. except for Kaufman who looks pained. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. 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. KAUFMAN (V. Kaufman waits in line. I am a loser. I... they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. 85 180 EXT.O. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. NYC STREET .pg. The audience laughs. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough. I am panicked. I have sold out. glowing in the sun. what is the substance of writing? Nothing as trivial as words is at the heart of this great art. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. I am worthless.O.) I have failed. and always the imperative is too tell a story.. * * MCKEE So. a mic clipped to his lapel.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead. LOBBY .. KAUFMAN (V. crowded with enthusiastic people signing up for something. last. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. (CONTINUED) * . I am fat.A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. First. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. walks toward it. I am fat.) I am pathetic. AUDITORIUM .

O.. Kaufman sweats. 183 INT. I'll start over -(starts to rise) I need to face this project head on and -MCKEE ." writes the guy on one side of him." writes the guy on the other side. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action. the result is decadence. (deadpan) Well. The audience members take copious notes. * * * * * * * MCKEE (CONT'D) God help you! It's flaccid. when storytelling goes bad in a society.LATER 183 * * * * * 182 McKee scribbles a diagram onto a transparency in an overhead projector. "Flaccid. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. Rules to short-cut yourself to success. 86 182 CONTINUED: MCKEE Twenty-three hundred years ago. It's some kind of complicated time-line with actbreaks and corresponding page numbers indicated. startled.. And here I am. (CONTINUED) .pg. KAUFMAN (V.. McKee seems to watching him. and God help you if you use voiceover in your work.. "Any idiot. Everyone except Charlie laughs at McKee's joke.. because my jaunt into the abyss brought me nothing. Kaufman looks around at people scribbling in notebooks. sloppy writing. isn't that the risk one takes for attempting something new. Kaufman looks up. my ultimate lack of conviction that brings me here.. and ultimately to reward it with a moving and meaningful experience. Easy answers. I should leave here right now.) It is my weakness. MCKEE (cont'd) Your goal must be a good story well told. just look around you. my friends. Aristotle said. AUDITORIUM . Well.

184 EXT. There's not a person in this world -.who would be interesting enough to take as is and put in a movie as a character. His face is troubled. The audience is tired. but still attentive. say a page long. 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. MCKEE Long speechs are antithetical to the nature of cinema. requires that the camera hold on the actor's face for a minute. The ontology of the screen is that it's always now and it's always action and it's always vivid. (CONTINUED) * * 187 * . energetic as ever. 185 186 OMITTED INT. 87 183 CONTINUED: MCKEE (cont'd) Okay.LATER 185 186 * It's late. And that's an important point. Real people are not interesting. We stay firmly planted on his face as he talks and talks. one hour for lunch. The Greeks called it stykomythia -. Kaufman wanders by himself. Now Kaufman takes serious notes. We are not recreating life on the screen. wears his sweater tied around his shoulders. NYC STREET . holding a cup of coffee. McKee. Have you ever eavesdropped on people talking in a coffee shop? Then you know how dull and tedious real conversation is.and I include myself in this A long speech in a script.LATER STILL McKee faces the audience. Writers are not tape recorders.the rapid exchange of ideas.A FEW MINUTES LATER 184 183 Students exit onto the street in groups. AUDITORIUM . AUDITORIUM . MCKEE The other day someone asked me if Michelle Pfeiffer were beautiful. There is no sound. DISSOLVE TO: 187 INT.

pg. MCKEE Anyone else? Kaufman timidly raises his hand. they don't have any epiphanies. then. Kaufman. with dark circles under his eyes. he smashes Darwin in the back of the head. He turns.DAY Darwin and Aristotle and Kaufman have tea. grabs Aristotle's foot and pulls him down. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. Darwin flies face forward into the card table. there'll be a Q and A tomorrow morning before class starts. DISSOLVE TO: 189 OMITTED 189 189A * * * * * * * * * * 189A INT. giggles a little. A violent fight ensues. Out of nowhere. Aristotle rises to stretch. 188 INT. Remember. deadpan: MCKEE (cont'd) Michelle Pfeiffer is proof for the existence of God. The overtired audience breaks into uproarious laughter. can't seem to move as the two men brutally bludgeon each other.MORNING Kaufman. sits in the back. MCKEE (cont'd) Okay. KAUFMAN'S DINING ROOM . 88 187 CONTINUED: He pauses theatrically.NIGHT 188 187 * * * In bed. 190 INT. HOTEL . There's a photograph of a bust of Aristotle on the book's cover. sips his coffee. smash against walls leaving bloody prints. AUDITORIUM . Kaufman struggles with Aristotle's Poetics. It's silent and tense. where people don't change. Kaufman can't get out of the way. bleary-eyed. That's it for tonight. He walks around the table. 190 KAUFMAN What if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens. collapsing it. Yes? MCKEE (cont'd) McKee paces. More a reflection of the real world -(CONTINUED) * * .

MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. thanks. you'll bore your audience to tears. Mr. tired Kaufman approaches him. MCKEE Oh. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. carrying his brown leather bag. leaning against the building. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. 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 The last of the students are filing out. my friend. 191 EXT. then you. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. right. 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. Nice to see you. A shaky. 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. okay. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. NYC STREET . Kaufman waits. McKee emerges. (CONTINUED) .

MCKEE I'm sorry. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. we could see the gleam of a fender. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone. Soon there is silence. KAUFMAN Mr. my even standing here is very scary. looking only straight ahead. ORLEAN (V. I don't meet people well. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk.O. then reaches out and puts his arm around Kaufman. ORLEAN (V. Please.) We turned to the right and saw only more cypress and palm and sawgrass They turn left and see metal flashing in the sunlight. McKee.. There's a pause. ORLEAN (V. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 . Kaufman closes the (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose.. 193 INT. all the way to the road. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. It's about my choices as a human being.. my friend. 192 EXT.O. and there. BAR . SWAMP . As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. MCKEE I could use a drink. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. KAUFMAN .. far down the diagonal of the levee.O. McKee hesitates for a moment. from his copy of The Orchid Thief.

(beat) That's not a movie. I'm way past my deadline. I wanted to show flowers as God's miracles. He's the one who got me to come. 91 193 CONTINUED: MCKEE Then what happens? KAUFMAN That's the end of the book. and you've got a hit. without big character arcs or sensationalizing the * * * * MCKEE You've taken my course before? KAUFMAN My brother did. But don't cheat! Don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. McKee recognizes his bulk. Find an ending. but wow them at the end. My twin brother Donald. I wanted to show that Orlean never saw the blooming ghost orchid. The last act makes the film. eyes Kaufman. (CONTINUED) . Do that and you'll be fine. tedious movie. You can have an uninvolving. McKee sips his beer. Your characters must change and the change must must come from them. Kaufman hugs him. Tears form in Kaufman's eyes. It's about disappointment. MCKEE (disappointed) I see. acts. 193 Maybe you've got two * * KAUFMAN (pause) I've got pages of false starts and wrong approaches. I can't go back. I wanted to present it simply. KAUFMAN You promise? McKee smiles. MCKEE (cont'd) Tell you a secret.

MCKEE'S OFFICE . KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. tries to read Story. They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game. like Darwin before him. how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written.NIGHT McKee. HOTEL ROOM . HOTEL ROOM . MCKEE (V. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey.O. 196 INT.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. dials the phone. He rubs his temples.who wrote Casablanca were twins. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. Listen.) Climax. Donald. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. 196A INT. Julius and Philip Epstein. sits at his desk and writes. 194 INT.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -. (CONTINUED) . Caroline giggles in the background. 195 INT.

tipsy) Oh. HOTEL ROOM . please. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. high-sixes against a mill-five. 196B INT. Caroline. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. We're playing Boggle. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. long moment. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down.. Donald. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great. and Donald laugh. look. DONALD C'mon. Donald. She's great. Um. please. taking this all in.C.) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. KAUFMAN Yeah. I've been (CONTINUED) . please. It's been a wild ride. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. You should hang out with her. like. KEENER (O. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly..

Donald finishes. The great Donald. what would you do? DONALD Script kind of makes fun of me. It's funny. Maybe you could read it. We're different talents. huh? Sorry. I -- DONALD Hey. KAUFMAN I was trying something. KAUFMAN I know. Y'know. what would you do? * DONALD You and me are so different. is quiet. How would the great Donald end this script? DONALD (giggling) Shut up.MORNING Donald lies on his back on the floor intently reading the script. who is Susan Orlean? (CONTINUED) * * * . if you like. KAUFMAN So. Like what? DONALD I don't know. So. Okay. Charles. HOTEL ROOM . Of course! 197 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) I'm flattered! 197 196B * * * * * * * INT. KAUFMAN Good. man. I'm thinking. Kaufman paces. too. Y'know. yes! KAUFMAN Yeah? I was going to show my script to some subtext. KAUFMAN (stung but covering) All right. like. (serious) I feel like you're missing something. Just for fun. I don't mind. 94 196B CONTINUED: DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Oh my God.

reads) "Sometimes this kind of story turns out to be something more. (picks up Orchid Thief. Someone's got to talk to her. You can't be an asshole. A long silence while Kaufman looks his brother up and down. That's inconsistent. I have a reputation to maintain. KAUFMAN Really. some glimpse of life that expands like those Japanese paper balls you drop in water and they bloom into flowers. I'll go. she said she didn't care about flowers. KAUFMAN I don't know. 95 197 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN She's a journalist writing a story. DONALD Is she? I mean. DONALD Pretend I'm you. To know her. DONALD Maybe.. but. (CONTINUED) .pg. but I think you need to actually talk to this woman.. of course she's that. Charles. it's just a metaphor. look. DONALD (CONT'D) I want to do it. DONALD For what? What turned that paper ball into a flower? It's not in the book. You're reaching. KAUFMAN For God's sake. You can't be a goofball. KAUFMAN But you've got to be exactly me. * * * * * * * * * * * * * 197 * * Kaufman rolls his eyes. 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. yes." (looks up) First of all. I can't.

But the relationship ends when the book ends. dressed as Charlie. It's an honor. He said. DONALD So. No flirting. you could become a pretty good writer. mumbles under his breath. I was very interested in everything he had to say. Care to comment? ORLEAN Our relationship was strictly reportersubject. DONALD (flirty despite himself) I think you're a very good writer now. ORLEAN I had a brief phone conversation with him when the book came out. You spend a lot of time together. ORLEAN * * DONALD The reason I ask. (CONTINUED) * * * * . sits across from her. I get to have people think I'm you. KAUFMAN You know what I mean. "You know. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . Do you keep in touch with Laroche? Orlean responds with what might be a practiced casualness. doing his best serious writer impression. I mean.DAY 198 * * * * 197 Orlean is behind her desk. Don't laugh how you laugh. In the subtext. Thanks. if you write a couple more books. 198 INT." Donald laughs appreciatively as he scribbles on his pad. I guess I'll bring out the big guns now. By definition. 96 197 CONTINUED: (2) DONALD I'm not an asshole. Donald scribbles. DONALD (sort of hurt) I'm not going to laugh. No bad jokes. certainly an intimacy develops in that type of relationship. is that I felt I detected an attraction to him.

I have an idea. stares out the window. Okay. dressed as Charlie. Too right. HOTEL ROOM . And everybody says Jesus and Einstein. Charles. She said all the right things. DONALD She was nervous. KAUFMAN What do you mean "Jesus and Einstein"? DONALD Listen. Einstein or Jesus. 199 Donald * * * INT. living or dead. She's lying. 199 DONALD Interesting answer. (reading from pad) If you could have dinner with one historical personage. 97 198 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (CONT'D) 198 * What? DONALD Nothing..DAY Kaufman paces. just one more question.. Did you embarrass me? DONALD People who answer questions too right are liars. watches TV. who would it be? Orlean is somewhat relieved she's dealing with an idiot. That's a prepackaged You need to buy me a pair of binoculars. Very good. enters. ORLEAN I'd have to say. KAUFMAN Maybe they're too right because they're true. KAUFMAN What do you mean? What happened? DONALD Nothing. KAUFMAN What's Jesus and Einstein? * * * * * * (CONTINUED) .

She closes her office door. A conversation ensues. sing with me! (singing) It's only right to think about the one you love and hold her tight. who just stares at him. (CONTINUED) 201 . DONALD (singing) Imagine me and you. Donald stares out the 200 * * * * * * KAUFMAN I don't want to be caught here. holds it like a microphone. Leave. KAUFMAN Well. and sings and dances around Kaufman. Kaufman can't step out into the hallway by himself. KAUFMAN Let's go. KAUFMAN What the hell do you need binoculars for? 200 INT.) She's upset.CONTINUOUS We watch this in silence through the binoculars. I don't DONALD I'll just stay a little longer. picks up a pen. want to be doing this. (talking) C'mon. Orlean waits as the phone rings. ORLEAN'S OFFICE .NIGHT Kaufman nervously watches the Sadly. I do. Let's go. DONALD She's dialing her phone! 201 INT.S. (singing) I think about you day and night -(talking) C'mon. EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES . DONALD (O. 98 199 CONTINUED: 199 Donald winks. is she doing anything at all? DONALD Still just staring off. window with binoculars. becoming more and more agitated.

DONALD United to Miami.) Stop watching her. She's at her computer. KAUFMAN This is morally reprehensible. (turns to Kaufman) Hmm. DONALD She's crying. KAUFMAN I'm trying to read. who watches through binoculars.CONTINUOUS Kaufman paces behind Donald. Tomorrow morning. I'm gonna look at it. Research. Don't tell my old lady. DONALD Have you checked out Laroche's porn site? No. Leave her alone. Orlean looks out her 99 201 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (O. * 203 * * * * * Donald tapes some computer keys. Through binoculars we see Orlean on her computer at an online airline reservation site. HOTEL ROOM . Donald flips a pencil lazily in the air and reads The Orchid Thief. KAUFMAN Don't say "my friend.NIGHT Kaufman tries to read McKee's Story.S. KAUFMAN You mean mom? (CONTINUED) * * * * . EMPTY SUITE OF OFFICES ." 203 INT. DONALD Anyway. I thought she was done with Laroche. Donald. 202 She starts to cry. KAUFMAN Her parents live in Florida. DONALD That was no parent phone call. 202 * 201 INT. Heh heh. She hung up the phone. my friend.

204 INT. goes over to the computer. KAUFMAN 203 * * * DONALD (studying website) Some of these chicks are okay. posed but awkward. KAUFMAN I said. On the screen is a Kaufman stares 204 * * * Kaufman sighs. (waits for website to come up) I still say we go to Miami the van speeds off. Donald parks up the street. in time to see Orlean and Laroche emerge from the van. Told ya. DONALD * * KAUFMAN It's so weird to see that van in real life. middle-class house.DAY * Kaufman and Donald are parked in the loading area at the Miami Airport. incredulously at it. DONALD I'll get a closer look. nervous. Hey. RENTAL CAR . The beat-up white van pulls up. Orlean gets in.A BIT LATER Donald drives. C'mere. guess what? We're going to Miami. and watches as Laroche lugs Orlean's suitcase into the house. 205 INT. baby. 100 203 CONTINUED: DONALD I don't mean mom. DONALD I said.LATER 206 Donald follows. CAR . Orlean waits on the sidewalk with a suitcase. 205 * * The van pulls into the driveway of a neat. no. which speeds and swerves through traffic. Kaufman is sweaty. Kaufman and Donald drive by. naked photo of Orlean. oh yeah. 206 EXT. (CONTINUED) * . keeping up with the van. gets out. Orlean seems different now: more exotic. SUBURBAN STREET . Forget it. Donald behind the wheel. You wait here. No.

Laroche's new beautiful set of white teeth. kissing. Kaufman gets out of the car. Orlean studies Kaufman. in. 207 INT. drags him into the house. 101 206 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (momentously) No. it's my. Orlean. The chair slides across the floor. continues to rub herself. locks eyes with Kaufman.CONTINUOUS 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche throws Kaufman down into a chair. DONALD Go for it. Kaufman walks past the peer in windows. She drags herself back to him and continues where they left off.. I'm just..S. peruses house. He jumps up and runs naked to the back door. HOUSE . ORLEAN You know what? It's that screenwriter. I dunno what's come over you! Kaufman crawls to the window. ORLEAN Who's that. Kaufman 206 * * * LAROCHE (O. I just -LAROCHE Who the fuck are you? KAUFMAN Um. Kaufman is heartbroken and transfixed. oblivious. it should be me. crawls to the coffee table. He adjusts them.) Darlin'.. Laroche glances at the window. trying to His eyes widen as upon row of ghost the house. How did he find me. Johnny? KAUFMAN I just... Laroche cuts him off. undressing each other. I should go.. snorts some lines of green powder. Donald gets Kaufman's script. have slipped. Laroche waits patiently. Kaufman makes a mad dash around the side of the house. nobody. looks in. You the man. tips over. He slinks around back. right? I mean. Orlean pulls away giggling. he discovers a greenhouse filled with row orchids. There's movement in a window in ducks. Johnny? (CONTINUED) * * * * . Orlean and Laroche are laughing. Wrong house. I mean.

Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. 'kay? Kaufman does. don't let him leave. ORLEAN Shit. Kaufman rises. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. Laroche begins to write his phone number. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN dude. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. Let me give you my number. Well. Did you follow me? I should go. (CONTINUED) . Orlean tries to focus. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. of course not. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. Orlean rises. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is.I don't know that. John. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. ORLEAN I'm freaking. Laroche looks at Susan. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. LAROCHE Okay. it was nice to meet you.

Hold him. She looks up. LAROCHE Oh. I'm almost done. 103 207 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN He's lying! I mean. right? LAROCHE Good ORLEAN * * * * Laroche does. I was just -. Maybe in a week or -ORLEAN That's not why he's here! Why. Why are you here? KAUFMAN I'm not sure. She talks to herself for a while. KAUFMAN I'm pretty much going to stick with the book. (screaming) I don't know! (CONTINUED) . gestures to herself. Well. Suze. LAROCHE I believe him. I don't know. I don't know if I'm available to take you in. Orlean massages her temples. anyway. I'm pretty clear on the structure.I'm just down here to see the swamp. he's researching his script. then? LAROCHE 207 * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I don't know. ORLEAN (cont'd) We have to kill him. What? KAUFMAN AND LAROCHE ORLEAN (mumbling) I don't know. Kaufman rises.

* * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I can't have him writing aobut me. INT. KAUFMAN (trying to keep a friend here) It's okay.S. LAROCHE Yeah. LAROCHE I'm sorry. * (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE (O. you need to calm down. * * * * * * * * 208 * Sorry.CONTINUOUS Kaufman stands in the dark as the door is locked. LAROCHE (cont'd) (quietly) Just for a little while. CLOSET .all those people -watching my -KAUFMAN Can I please speak? ORLEAN Lock him in the 208 Laroche closes the door. I can't have people -. I have to think. Charlie. Kaufman gets in. okay. deliberate) Susie. we can't kill anyone. 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. 104 207 CONTINUED: (3) LAROCHE 207 Susie? ORLEAN What are we supposed to do? You tell me! * LAROCHE (slow. He listens. Thank you. Laroche escorts Kaufman to the closet as Susan paces. I understand.) Susie.

(MORE) (CONTINUED) .pg. My mom! It'll be in a damn movie! I'll be humiliated. LAROCHE (O. 105 208 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O. 208A INT.) There are a couple guns with my dad's stuff in the basement. holes here. 208B INT.S. It will ruin our thing! Us! It will? LAROCHE (O. his face lights up red.S.S. ORLEAN Do you know how to put the bullets in? LAROCHE (O. BASEMENT . ORLEAN (O. his pants fall down. Laroche can be heard ascending the creaky basement stairs. She glances down at his off-screen hand.CONTINUOUS Unnoticed. In these * * * 209 * * * * * * * Orlean nods her head.S.) I think you just stick them in. 209 INT. large. Please. Laroche and Orlean.CONTINUOUS 208A * * * * * * * * * * * * Laroche.) I thought maybe we'd take him to the Fakahatchee. pacing foreground figures. in close-up. turns it on.) Then what? Everyone will find out. He pulls a cord lighting a bare bulb. in close-up. Johnny. He passes behind her. blurry. Kaufman inhales sharply.CONTINUOUS 208B Orlean. LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM .S. a little hysterically. There's a long sweaty silence. He sifts through a cardboard box. in close-up.) 208 * * * * * * * ORLEAN (O.) Protect me. Laroche turns it off. chews her fingernail and cries. occasionally pass between Donald and the camera. LIVING ROOM WINDOW . Donald watches the goings-on. pulls out a stack of ancient TV guides.S. The bartender shakes a drink. descends the basement stairs. finds a batteryoperated bartender doll. He reaches into the box and pulls out a gun.

I don't care what you're doing. RENTAL CAR . KAUFMAN I was just trying to do something.) You have a car. that's sort of creepy. um. suburban Miami neighborhood. I didn't really do it.) Okay.S. That sounds like a real thing that could happen. Orlean reads more of the screenplay. KAUFMAN Look.S. KAUFMAN It's a story. She skims Kaufman's screenplay. here's me again! (mockingly reading from screen) "Isn't it ironic? You adapting my book? My three years in Florida meditating on my inability to experience passion resulted in my finding it with you. ORLEAN Hey. ORLEAN Jerking off to my photograph. I -ORLEAN (O. LAROCHE (O. (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * . no. ORLEAN (O.NIGHT 210 * * 209 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Kaufman drives through a nice.S. like he was doing research.) (cont'd) He could be found drowned. Orlean sits next to him.S.) Of course he does. I'm really just interested in orchids. 210 INT. They drive in silence. We'll drive his car and leave it on the side of the swamp. His headlights shine on Laroche's van ahead. KAUFMAN (O.S.S. holding a gun. there's an image I could do without. screenwriter? KAUFMAN (O." Jesus. like he slipped and hit his head on a rock.) I don't have a car! Donald disappears from the window. 106 209 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (O.) I.

And it wasn't Johnny who made me passion." Orlean laughs derisively. we're on the way out of the swamp -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 210 * * * * . KAUFMAN You can laugh. ORLEAN Yeah. if you don't tell me. KAUFMAN Look. Charlie-boy. We can forget I ever came here. I know. but I didn't make that up. From a weirdo with no teeth. It was orchids. Chill. We can do whatever you want. I'm laughing at who I used to be. It's sad. KAUFMAN You never even cared about orchids. Get a cup of coffee. ORLEAN (cont'd) So. ORLEAN (considers) No. 107 210 CONTINUED: ORLEAN Here's a good one! (mocking) "I wanted to know what it's like to care about something passionately. That's a quote from your book. ORLEAN You can't learn about passion! You can be passion. this isn't easy for me either. I'll sign anything. Can we do that? We can talk this out. KAUFMAN So now you learned about passion. ORLEAN I lied about what happened at the end of the book. I do. KAUFMAN We can turn around. you don't have to kill me. Bully for you. I'll tell you the truth now. Kaufman stares straight ahead at Laroche's van. ORLEAN

. No reaction. Orlean comes around to see a beautiful ghost orchid hanging from the tree. I think this might help you. Laroche pulls a hacksaw from his bag.DAY 211 Laroche leads Orlean through the swamp.O. 211A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211B * * * * * LAROCHE Boy. SEMINOLE NURSERY TRAILER . something I didn't tell you. He spots something on a tree. I want you to know this. I want to tell you. long as I'm here.. 211B EXT. okay? I know you're going through some shit.. VAN . It wasn't my thing.. LAROCHE The jewel of the Fakahatchee. can't. ... stands there awestruck. Orlean stares out the Orlean tries to feel some passion for it. but some of the Indians. circles it. 108 211 EXT. I'd always wanted the ghost for the reasons I told you. my porn site is gonna be big. LAROCHE (V. Then: LAROCHE (cont'd) Look. SWAMP . They drive in silence. I went back one night to pick up something.) I'd just started up the nursery. LAROCHE Might as well grab it. 211A INT.NIGHT Laroche heads up the steps and enters. Orlean doesn't even acknowledge he's talking. LAROCHE (CONT'D) Susan. ORLEAN It's a flower. It's just a flower. About the ghost.DAY Laroche drives.

Susie. . I want to do this. I know how. ORLEAN I'm done with orchids.. That's what I wanted to tell you. fascinated. A bunch of young. Fuck Vinson! LAROCHE I can extract it for you. like I told you. but the young guys. I think you'd like it.NIGHT 211C * * * * * * * Laroche peeks in the room. I'm probably the only white guy who knows. My hair. Oh. but -Vinson. your sadness is fascinating to me. LAROCHE They wanted the ghost just to extract their drug. fuck! ORLEAN Fuck it. too. One of the men is slicing up a ghost orchid and pulverizing it. VAN . stoned Indian men.. Vinson lived on that shit. It had been a ceremonial thing. Some stare off. My sadness. Two of the men make out. I watched. 109 211C INT. they liked to get stoned. It seems to help people be. One sings to himself. As I said. Jesus.) 211D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * LAROCHE Sure. I always wanted to clone it only to sell to collectors. TRAILER BACK ROOM . 211D INT. Y'know. ORLEAN Was he one of the -Till ORLEAN (V.DAY Orlean seems interested now.O. ORLEAN There was this day he was fascinated by me. LAROCHE It does that. they ran out. One of the men looks up and sees Laroche.

you should. let me be. rolls it up.NIGHT 211H Orlean. HOTEL BAR . Okay. 211I INT. reviews some notes. talks on the phone. All right then. you should. HOTEL ROOM . HOTEL HALLWAY . paces. Please. He's pasty white with fear. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. hovers over the green powder.) I went down to the bar. Maybe I could get laid. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. ORLEAN I was so sad that night.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. if you're not going to let me go. He's barely listening.O. sniffs inside. He needs to hear how you feel. HOTEL ROOM . Friday. Yeah. Something. (CONTINUED) . emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. 211G INT.NIGHT Kaufman drives. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. hon. Orlean hangs a little tipsy. Her name is written on it. 211H INT. picks up the baggie. The place is empty. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. There's a small package outside one door. I didn't know. 110 211E INT. This must be her room. RENTAL CAR . 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. trying to remember her room number. ORLEAN (V.NIGHT So drained. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. stares at it. You too. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. 211F INT. puts it down. picks it up. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No.

I figured. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. How exquisite! She HOTEL ROOM . stands. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. She snorts the rest.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. I figured. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. stands again. rolls it around in her fingers.) (CONT'D) I figured.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. 211L INT. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. sniffs it. HOTEL ROOM . discovers it does not open. She tries to open the window for a better look. 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. dully watches herself in the mirror. She tugs at a strand. listening to the dial tone." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. She sighs. She's never seen anything more beautiful. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . 211K INT. She giggles. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. what the fuck. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. sucks it. holding the phone to her ear. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0.O. HOTEL BATHROOM . She snorts a small amount. 211J INT. the colors. what the hell. HOTEL ROOM . Ms. 211M INT. She tries to sing along with it. tries to feel something. doesn't. She feels nothing. who really cares about anything anymore. on the scrubbing sound. She watches her grinning face with love.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. It's so beautiful. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. She makes many forehead prints on the glass.

SECOND OPERATOR The notes in my.? ORLEAN In your dial tone. ORLEAN You have been very helpful! Say. Okay. eight to five-thirty. ORLEAN Well. Operator. Orlean dials again. ORLEAN I'm so embarrassed! Can you tell me. ORLEAN Good night.. to you. But I don't think anyone here is going to know that. ma' ma'am. ORLEAN Hi! I was just wondering if you could help me. too! (hangs up) She was so nice. I am trying to determine the notes in your dial tone. SECOND OPERATOR I don't have any idea. It's so pretty. 112 211M CONTINUED: OPERATOR This is the hotel operator. 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. would you like to come over? After your shift? (CONTINUED) .. ma'am. would it be possible to speak with your supervisor? SECOND OPERATOR You'd have to call during business hours.

forgets to pick up the phone. LAROCHE She studies her feet. There's a pause. I'm very happy now. Finally she remembers. She listens to it. that would be so helpful. . pitch. LAROCHE I'll get right on it. ORLEAN Don't go yet! Okay. There's a pause. Okay! ORLEAN You have a wonderful night! 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean hangs up. The phone rings. Did you get my package? ORLEAN John! John! John John John! Hey. ORLEAN I'm glad. John. She imitates a dial tone. I have perfect ORLEAN Oh. all the time. did you ever wish you could use your toes just like fingers? LAROCHE Sure. 113 211M CONTINUED: (2) SECOND OPERATOR I can't really do that. do you know what notes are in a dial tone? LAROCHE I could figure it out. ORLEAN Johnny. LAROCHE Orlean fingers the phone cord. ORLEAN LAROCHE It's John. stares at the ceiling. Hello? Hi.

ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. 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. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. LAROCHE They will be. I think toes should be with their fellows. Do you like socks. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE too? Yes. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. Okay. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. ORLEAN Huh. I do. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. .

(MORE) (CONTINUED) .pg. on the phone. 212B INT. HOTEL ROOM . KAUFMAN I don't want to die. Kaufman stares straight ahead. 212 OMITTED 212 212A 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212B * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212A INT. But I had this idea if I waited long enough. Nobody liked me. She stares out the window at the early morning light. We're twins. RENTAL CAR . LAROCHE ORLEAN It's beginning to get light here. Johnny.NIGHT ORLEAN Oh. someone would come around and just. Please think about what you're doing. just like you. too. I'm a person. understand me. (beat) Are you lonely sometimes. Here. y'know. Like my mom.MUCH LATER Orlean is on the floor. Johnny? LAROCHE I was a weird kid. except someone else. but not talking. ORLEAN We spoke all night. 115 211M CONTINUED: (4) ORLEAN (excited) Me neither! Me neither! Orlean grins. Finally: ORLEAN (whisper) Johnny? Hi. LAROCHE ORLEAN Really? There you go.

lost in her story. I was just there. I won't go back. She pulls him to her and kisses him.NIGHT Kaufman drives. some lines of the green powder spread on a trowel. Orlean and Laroche make love inside on a sleeping bag. VAN . Everything glows with unearthly beauty: a coke can. Orlean looks with love at these items. It'd send someone.NIGHT The van is parked on the beach. she'd look at then at Laroche's straining face. 212D INT. Back. . Orlean looks hard at Kaufman. Not like that. a bag of soil. Laroche seems clumsy. Orlean is flabbergasted. She remains silent. anyway. Alive. then: 212B * * * * * * * * 212C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 212D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN I once had the very same belief. She sees the moonlight reflecting off the junk in the van. 212C INT. She glances past Laroche at the moon. ORLEAN (in a whisper) Yes. Adapting. just like that. John. ORLEAN Back in New York. ORLEAN I'd never had sex before. The back doors are open. And I wouldn't be alone anymore. The junk is pushed to the sides. Orlean smiles. You will not take this away. "yes". but Orlean is enraptured: every touch sends her further into the experience. back on the book. Or fantasizing about someone else. 116 212B CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I knew the universe wouldn't let me go my whole life alone like that. I couldn't care. KAUFMAN I don't want anything from you. I wasn't guilty about my marriage. and quietly say. Laroche starts to cry. They pass very few cars now. I couldn't focus. pale and sweaty. RENTAL CAR . who stares straight ahead.

There are no other cars. 117 212E INT. but we should introduce this to the general public. She types at the computer standing up. LAROCHE'S BACKYARD .. Make a shitload of change. ORLEAN'S OFFICE . it ain't controlled. hi. if the gov doesn't know the drug exists. Suze. darlin'.NIGHT Orlean paces. I like you. 212E * * * * * * * * ORLEAN (plowing through) Um. 213 OMITTED 213 213A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 213A EXT. Our product is a small hit on the Miami club scene. is why. like a beacon. A Laroche kind of plan. ORLEAN That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. Done. Boy! LAROCHE You're shinier than any ant. all the way to the road. 214 The passing landscape is dark and wooded and swampy.. RENTAL CAR . if I do say. LAROCHE Milking the Seminoles is cool. transfixed by a colony of ants.. The sun is warm on her skin.DAY Laroche is inside a make-shift greenhouse tending to several immature ghost orchids. ORLEAN So.. Orlean lies on the grass outside. ORLEAN I can quit writing! (new thought) I wish I were an ant...NIGHT 214 * * * * * * * Kaufman and Orlean drive. The only thing clearly visible is the lit-up rear of Laroche's van. I need a ticket to Miami. LAROCHE Well.. (back to business) The cool part is. (dials phone) Yeah. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . They're very shiny. and we followed it.

As Orlean goes to meet Kaufman. Laroche is in the rear of his van.A LITTLE WHILE LATER 215 * * * * * * 214 * Laroche's van stops in the middle of the road. 215 EXT. pulls up to a matal barrier and parks. Laroche turns off the road at the Fakahatchee sign. ORLEAN Come around.CONTINUOUS Kaufman gets out of the car. Laroche pokes his head out of the back of his van in time to see Donald grabbing Kaufman and dragging him into the swamp. blocking him in. searching for flashlights. (CONTINUED) 218 * * . getting some equipment. 118 214 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (cont'd) We're going to make a fortune. JANES SCENIC DRIVE . Laroche parks behind. gun on him. His hand out the window indicates that Kaufman should pull off to the right onto a logging As Kaufman comes around the car to join Orlean. LOGGING ROAD . hitting her and sending her flying. he sees Donald. LAROCHE Who was that?! ORLEAN I don't know! I didn't see! Fuck! LAROCHE Help me find the flashlights! Orlean does also. on the floor in the back.CONTINUOUS Kaufman and Donald slog through the black swamp. We see the lovely Coke can. 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. 218 EXT." The kids call it Pash or P or Flower. (giggles) Isn't that sweet? Up ahead. trip over unseen vines. Donald swings open the back right passenger door. Laroche and Orlean banging around in his van can be heard in the distance. We call it "Passion. please. Kaufman does. 216 217 OMITTED EXT. SWAMP . ORLEAN (cont'd) Follow Johnny. wild-eyed.

Orlean and Laroche are very close now.) We need to split up. God. LAROCHE But we've gotta hustle. I couldn't move. * Laroche and Orlean move off.C. ORLEAN (O. ORLEAN I'm not going to be by myself out here. * LAROCHE (O. Their voices get far away. Orlean and Laroche can be seen behind Kaufman and Donald now. KAUFMAN I don't want to die.C. ORLEAN (O. They sit and wait in silence. 119 218 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN For Christ's sake. I've wasted it. DONALD You did not.C. LAROCHE (O. KAUFMAN They're going to find us. * * * 218 * Laroche and Orlean have found the flashlights and entered the swamp.) This really complicates things. All right.C. LAROCHE (O. The beams search the darkness near the brothers. I get that. Orlean and Laroche are heard slogging and talking in the distance. Donald.) I know. Donald pulls Kaufman behind a stand of trees. And you're not gonna die. (CONTINUED) . * * * Thanks. DONALD I don't think so. why didn't you do something while we were in the car? DONALD My back had seized.) That's all I could tell. breathing hard.) It was a guy? Fat. I've wasted my life.

pg. 120
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)




pg. 121
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

pg. 122
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)

Give me some of that shit. the front of his body a bloody mess. Laroche approaches the car. 220 Donald in the midst of an adrenaline rush. He instinctively grabs for the rifle. Yeah! DONALD It's cool! Isn't that Are you okay? I'm shot! * * * KAUFMAN We gotta get you to a hospital.CONTINUOUS Kaufman driving. The vehicles collide and spin violently around. 123 219 CONTINUED: 219 Kaufman and Donald whirl around to see Orlean eyeing them as she emerges from the van parked up the road. from around a curve. Kaufman finds the keys. 220 Then. With a groggy start he sees the identical brothers standing before him. RENTAL CAR . John! ORLEAN (O. doesn't know what to do. Kaufman grabs Donald and shoves him in the driver's side door. Donald flies through the windshield. spaced on pash. Kaufman regains his bearings and sees his brother halfway out the car. (CONTINUED) * * . looks nice. Donald yelps. backs wildly onto Janes Scenic Drive. Donald is hit in the arm.S. a ranger truck comes barreling. They pass Orlean next to the van. Let's party! That Kaufman and Donald both crane their necks to watch her recede as they drive the swamp road. Kaufman gets in behind him. She follows them with eyes DONALD Jesus. To everyone's surprise it fires. The driver's side airbag deploys. * DONALD (laughing) I can't believe I got shot! fucked up? KAUFMAN (laughing too) Shut up! Stop laughing. starts the car. closes the door and searches his pockets for keys.) (CONT'D) Laroche opens his eyes. Jesus! KAUFMAN * * * Laroche is wide-eyed.

You're gonna be okay. it's gonna be okay. at the body of Donald. It's only right.. Her mouth is open. at the same time watching out for Orlean and Laroche. sees the two Kaufmans. Orlean approaches Mike Owen from behind. Is anyone there? Terry? Terry. Orlean and Laroche arrive. MIKE OWEN We need help here. DONALD AND KAUFMAN I think about you day and night. stop. Bad car accident.. Kaufman finds himself up against a lake. The three stare at each other. 221 She can't look down at Owen. she looks horrified. (CONTINUED) . 124 220 CONTINUED: Kaufman hurries around the car to Donald. Kaufman starts to sing. wake the hell up and -Orlean shoots Mike Owen in the back of the head. As Kaufman and Orlean stare at each other. Laroche walks toward Kaufman. but fading fast.B. Logging road twelve. He angles in to cut him off.CONTINUOUS 221 * * * Laroche and Orlean. approaching from down the road. leaving Orlean and Kaufman staring at each other. Kaufman must be next. There's nowhere to go. 220 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) Imagine me and you. He slumps to the ground. Just don't go to sleep. Mike Owen reaches into his truck and grabs the C. A battered-looking. is confused. Donald is dead. Orlean's eyes well with tears. I do. who is conscious. heave. Kaufman tries to keep him awake. Alligators swim in it. dazed Mike Owen emerges from the ranger truck. She follows. Donald's eyes close. it's obvious to both that this has gone beyond the point of no return. fascinated. KAUFMAN Donald. SWAMP . He bolts into the swamp. running from two different directions. sees Kaufman running into the woods. To think about the one you love. Kaufman stares at the body. Johnny! ORLEAN * * * * * * * * Laroche. gain on Kaufman and limit his options.

I want it back before it got all fucked up. Orlean looks at his body. shooting crazily until it's dead. Everything's over. I'm not a killer. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. She glows. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. Everything is a lie. Orlean screams. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. startled and angry. that helps other people feel not so lonely. I want my life back. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . desperate. sobbing.An alligator: it awakens. Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. dude. Let me be a baby drops her gun. It helped me. I want to be new. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. I think it can touch people. then looks to Kaufman. old. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I did everything wrong. KAUFMAN Your writing. hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. KAUFMAN No. suddenly feeling so much for this person. Laroche is dead. stunned. Kaufman watches. maybe. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. I want to be new. His rifle fires at nothing. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. The sun is rising. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. Orlean collapses into a heap. Kaufman watches.

some overstuffed chairs. ORLEAN Orlean picks up Laroche's rifle and shoots herself. I'm going to get a couch. Susan. ORLEAN Thank you for saying that. KAUFMAN I know. They look at each other from across the room. both crying. There's a silence. KAUFMAN You tried to find something better for I think. Charles. 126 221 CONTINUED: (2) ORLEAN I just wanted.DAY Kaufman and his mother are putting Donald's belongings in boxes... a coffee table. That's all. Yeah. That's a good thing. they meet in the middle and hug. Make it really comfortable in here. I just wanted. Then: 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 222-223 224 * KAUFMAN What did you want? ORLEAN I just wanted. You followed your heart and you loved and -Johnny. KAUFMAN I'm going to do that. * * MOTHER I worry about you. I just didn't want to die living the life I was living. 222-223 OMITTED 224 INT. Wordlessly. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . MOTHER You should get some furniture. * (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN You found somebody you loved. I just wanted. mom.

KAUFMAN No. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. 225 INT. MARGARET'S OFFICE. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. MARGARET You able to work at all. (deep breath. I'm almost done! Great! ready. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. I came by for a reason. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. Margaret looks up. They sit. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. hugs him. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. He meets her gaze. KAUFMAN That sounds really. KAUFMAN Knock knock. Margaret. but -I don't know. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. I'm just stupid. KAUFMAN Thank you. I understand. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. * She look compassionately into his face. Thanks.

I'm glad I know you is all. Kaufman smiles. Hey. 128 225 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) I wanted to tell you I think you're lovely and wonderful. CAR . MARGARET (cont'd) You're a great guy. gets up. I'm glad you're in the world. I mean. Kaufman rolls down his window. looking a little pale. nervously kisses him. KAUFMAN (cont'd) But I guess I realize now . thanks for being in the world. Okay then. That's really great. so he plows on. I'm not saying that at all. * 226 * * * * * * * * She approaches. Wow. can't. anyway. Hey. What do you think? (CONTINUED) . embarrassed) So. Charlie. I'm not saying you don't give me anything back. thanks for telling me. MARGARET I kinda thought maybe I could play hooky today. The attendant takes it and Kaufman pulls onto the street. MARGARET Wow. I can love you.A FEW MINUTES LATER Kaufman. waits in line with his validated ticket. (laughing. Kaufman pauses and tries to read Margaret's reaction. I don't have to get anything back. Margaret appears in front of his car. I'll send you the script when it's in the parking garage. I'm just saying. and I've never been able to say it because I was afraid to find out you didn't feel the same. being honest. KAUFMAN What's up? He looks at her. Margaret. I don't know what to He 225 * * * * * * * * * * * KAUFMAN It's okay. Stupid job. 226 INT. y'know. MARGARET That sounds good.

and hops in the passenger side. both staring ahead. Lieutenant. Hate each 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. The way fish can't see the ocean. That's what I've come to realize. Hurt each other." . both sweetly anxious on this new adventure. 'Cept we can't see the body. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell. And so we envy each other. 129 226 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN Um.Cassie from The Three 227 In Loving Memory of Donald Kaufman THE END . Like cells in a body. They drive off. hooky before. runs around the front of the car. that sounds good. FADE TO BLACK. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles.

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