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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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