ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

We see it again and again at dizzying speed.O. an arm slipped through an arm. The way I like them. We see old age and birth. He quickly shifts back to her face. He does it fast and unintentionally. smiling at customers. A million women walking down the street. 63 INT. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. The entire sequence takes two minutes. His therapist wraps her shawl around her.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. a shared look. We see the history of architecture. love them madly. We see man interacting with his environment: farming.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. admiring a view. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. We see Alice serving food. I don't need to know what their jobs is. religion. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. Those love them. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. We see murder and procreation. eating meat. * 63 * * * . war. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid.pg. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. I don't need to know them at all. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . commerce.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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