ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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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.

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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.

(CONTINUED)

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

*

(CONTINUED)

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 *

(CONTINUED)

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

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

53

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

53

54

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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