ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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