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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She alters the rhythm of her brushing." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. who really cares about anything anymore. listening to the dial tone. How exquisite! She cries. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. She giggles.) (CONT'D) I figured. I figured. HOTEL BATHROOM . She sighs.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. what the hell. It's so beautiful. what the fuck. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. 211J INT. sucks it. the colors. rolls it around in her fingers. 211L INT. sniffs it. She's never seen anything more beautiful.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. tries to feel something. HOTEL ROOM . stands again. She tries to sing along with it. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. I figured.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed. She watches her grinning face with love. HOTEL ROOM .O. She snorts a small amount. She feels doesn't. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. on the scrubbing sound. She snorts the rest. 211M INT. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. Ms. HOTEL ROOM . stands. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. She tugs at a strand. She tries to open the window for a better look. 211K INT. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone. discovers it does not open. holding the phone to her ear. dully watches herself in the mirror.

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

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

My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. . Do you like socks. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. too? Yes. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. Okay. I do. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. I think toes should be with their fellows. LAROCHE They will be. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. ORLEAN Huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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