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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

Fossils were the only thing made any sense to me in this fucked-up world. Perhaps you read about us. Oh. They drive in silence. 35 54 CONTINUED: MOTHER Well. 55 INT. How many turtles did you end up collecting? LAROCHE (matter-of-fact) Oh. * * * ORLEAN I guess I'd like to know how you can just detach from something when you've invested so much of your soul -LAROCHE Ditched fossils for resilvering old mirrors. I lost interest right after that. we'd better get started. her sad eyes wet and glistening. The tape recorder is on between them. did you ever miss the turtles? The only thing that made you ten year old life worth living? * * (CONTINUED) . Orlean studies him for a moment. Orlean watches a flying heron. ORLEAN 55 54 LAROCHE I dropped turtles when I fell in love with Ice Age fossils.DAY Laroche drives. Collected the shit out of 'em. baby? The boy nods his head solemnly. She underlines it. My mom and I had the largest collection of 19th Century Dutch mirrors on the planet. solemnly nodding his Mirror World October '88? I have a copy somewhere. Laroche fishes through junk as he drives. ORLEAN So. Orlean writes "What is Passion?" on her pad. ORLEAN Wow. VAN . huh. that's some story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

is so much larger than either of them.) There are orchids that look exactly like a particular insect. MEADOW .proboscis means nose. (MORE) (CONTINUED) * * * * * * * * * 69 . EMPTY BEDROOM . KAUFMAN We start before life. 67 * 68 68 EXT. And this attraction. they found this moth with a twelve inch proboscis -.O. Crowds. Silence. All is silent.) (cont'd) So it's attracted to the The flower insists. But because of it.O. Suddenly. 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.and -ORLEAN I know what proboscis means. LAROCHE See that nectary all the way down there? Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose twelve inches long to pollinate it. sure enough. 43 67 INT. It lands on the flower and begins rapidly jerking its abdomen. It finds an orchid which it resembles. SHOW HALL . 69 EXT. LAROCHE (V. this passion. This isn't a pissing contest. by the way -.DAY Blasting music. Laroche shows the flower to Orlean. like a lover.NIGHT Kaufman looks off into space. Then. he grabs his mini-recorder and paces like a caged animal..DAY We're with an insect as it buzzes along. Everyone thought he was a loon. Think about it. The insect has no choice but to make love to that flower. thinking. LAROCHE Let's not get off the subject. the world lives. LAROCHE (V.

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

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

Yearning. evolved. TAPED KAUFMAN VOICE We start before life begins. hunting.. Kaufman quickly turns off the recorder. The front door bursts open and Donald charges in. farming. and everyone laughs! But he's serious. It breaks every too. we see the whole of human history: tool-making. lust. Charles. DONALD McKee is a genius! And hilarious! He just comes up with these great jokes. we have to realize we all write in a genre. so we must find our originality within that genre. war. Donald waits for a response. heaving with excitement. No response from Kaufman. religion." As he listens. adapted. it turns out there hasn't been a new genre since Fellini invented the mockumentary! Kaufman sits. in the last seconds of the montage. just like you! But he says. He rewinds the recorder. This has never been attempted in a movie before. Kaufman stares despondently out the window. All is silent. into the night. 46 74 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN . He's all for originality. DONALD (cont'd) My genre is thriller! What's yours? KAUFMAN (quietly) You and I share the same DNA. bam! Cut to Susan Orlean writing a book about orchids. presses "play. Then. after the history of life on the planet. We see the first amino acid and show step by step how things mutated. Is there anything more lonely than this? 75 OMITTED 75 * * * * 74 * * * * * * * . he slowly shifts from unbridled enthusiasm to a bottomless pit of depression. then.. And the movie begins. This is amazing! The taped voice continues. See. You'd love him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MCKEE Oh. then you. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. right. okay. McKee emerges. if you write a screenplay without conflict or 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. NYC STREET . MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. carrying his brown leather bag. you'll bore your audience to tears. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. leaning against the building. (CONTINUED) . Nice to see you.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. my friend. 191 EXT. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. tired Kaufman approaches him. Kaufman waits. A shaky. thanks. Mr. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. Laroche looks at Susan. John. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN No. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. ORLEAN I'm freaking. Well. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. dude.I don't know that. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. Did you follow me? I should go. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. (CONTINUED) . it was nice to meet you. ORLEAN Shit. of course not. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. Kaufman rises. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. Orlean tries to Orlean rises. 'kay? Kaufman does. don't let him leave. Let me give you my number. Laroche begins to write his phone number. LAROCHE Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. I do. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. ORLEAN Huh. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. Okay. Do you like too? Yes. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. . 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 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. LAROCHE They will be. I think toes should be with their fellows. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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