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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


pg. 2
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg. 28
42 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I'm right, and I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court. That judge can screw herself. Orlean scribbles on her pad. Laroche twists his head to see that she's writing "Judge can screw herself." LAROCHE (cont'd) That for real would go in? ORLEAN Absolutely. Laroche smiles his toothless smile at Orlean. LAROCHE I'll have to speak to my advisors. 43 EXT. FIELD - MORNING MUSIC: lush, profound orchestral piece. A glorious orange, large-petalled orchid blooms in dramatic time-lapse. We slowly, lovingly circle the flower. SENSUOUS FEMALE NARRATOR The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient family of perennial plants with one fertile stamen and a three petalled flower. In most orchid species, one petal is enlarged into a lip and is the most conspicuous part of the flower. 44 INT. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN - DAY Kaufman, in a booth, reads The Orchid Thief, takes notes. KAUFMAN (V.O.) The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient... He's bored, looks up, watches a waitress with glorious, orange hair, pouty lips, soulful eyes, and a voluptuous form, turning slowly around, scanning her station. She sees Kaufman, approaches, and smiles warmly down at him. Her badge reads: Alice, Arcadia, CA. Kaufman sweats. ALICE So what looks good today? KAUFMAN Um, hi. The key lime pie, please. A small slice. I'm watching my... And a coffee, please. Skim milk. Please. (CONTINUED) * 44 * 43 * * * * * 42

pg. 29
44 CONTINUED: ALICE (sees book) Orchids! I absolutely love orchids. Kaufman goes blank. Cool! KAUFMAN A small awkward pause. * 44

He flinches at his lameness.

ALICE So, I'll be right back with your pie. She smiles warmly again and leaves. 45 EXT. ORCHID SHOW - DAY Alice, in her CPK uniform, and Kaufman walk hand-in-hand, inspecting sexy orchids together. She smiles warmly at him. ALICE I think these flowers are so sexy. Alice stands very close to Kaufman. Her bare arm touches his. Kaufman looks at the touching arms. Alice continues to study the flower but intertwines her fingers in Kaufman's. ALICE (cont'd) Let's see what's around back. She leads Kaufman behind the display to a quiet, wooded area. She unbuttons her uniform. It falls to the ground, leaving her naked, dappled in sunlight, her beautiful red hair glowing. Kaufman drops to his knees in front of her and kisses her thighs, caresses her ass. Alice glides Kaufman's head to her crotch. 46 INT. EMPTY ROOM - NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. 47 INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON, OHIO, FORTY-THREE YEARS EARLIER He lies lonely in the dark. 47 * 46 * * Kaufman is humiliated. 45

* * * *

It's dark. A lonely, little girl in a nightgown lies on her bed, holds a flashlight in one hand and writes in her diary with the other.



pg. 30
47 CONTINUED: LITTLE GIRL (V.O.) Today I played with Mary. We had fun. We played Mommy and Daddy. I got to be the Mommy. It was very fun. Footsteps in the hall. The little girl flicks off the flashlight, closes her eyes. The door opens. A middle-aged woman walks in, bumps tipsily into the dresser, sits on the edge of the bed, looks at her daughter and cries quietly. 48 EXT. HOTEL PARKING LOT - MORNING Orlean leans against a car and smokes. A tiny, lost figure. There's a honk. Orlean snaps out of her reverie to see Laroche screeching to a stop in his banged-up van. ORLEAN (V.O.) A few days after the hearing, Laroche took me to an orchid show in Miami. She opens the passenger door. Hi. ORLEAN (cont'd) Thanks for picking -48 47

* * * * *

LAROCHE I want you to know this van is a piece of shit. When I hit the jackpot, I'll buy myself an awesome car. What are you driving? An Aurora. Awesome. ORLEAN It's my father's. He lives --


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


Orlean nods, climbs in, and tries to rearrange some of the junk on the front seat so she'll have a place to sit. LAROCHE (cont'd) Sit on top of that. You won't hurt it. She situates herself on the edge of the seat, rests her feet on an open bag of potting soil. Laroche lurches off. 49 INT. VAN - DAY Laroche drives manically. Orlean watches the road and holds one hand against the dashboard. 49 *


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

pg. 32
49 CONTINUED: (2) LAROCHE (cont'd) And I stop future poaching by making the flowers readily available in stores. Then I give a big speech at the trial about how the legislature should get rid of loopholes smart people like me can find. I'm a hero. The flowers are saved. Laroche and nature win. Orlean writes: "guy is priceless." LAROCHE (cont'd) Did you get that last part? ORLEAN Yes, of course. 50-52 OMITTED 52A INT. 7 1/2 FLOOR SET - MORNING 50-52 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * They nod * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) 49

The set from Being John Malkovich. Crew people bustle about, bending down as they enter the squat set. No one pays any attention to Kaufman, who stands by himself to the side. Donald is at the craft service table, picking at food. Caroline, a pretty, young make-up woman, stops by the table. Kaufman watches nervously as Donald eyes her. Finally Donald says something to her. She looks over, says something back. It's too far away to hear the conversation. Donald says something else and Caroline laughs. The conversation warms up. Kaufman can't believe his eyes. The assistant director appears in the hall. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Scene 23 up next! All keys to set! Catherine Keener and John Cusack pass Kaufman. perfunctorily. Hey. KAUFMAN

Cusack enters the hallway set. I'm fat. KAUFMAN (V.O.) (CONT'D) I'm old --

Keener sees Caroline, who's still chatting with Donald. KEENER (playfully) Caroline, c'mon, jeez. movie here. Let's go!

We're shooting a Let's go!

pg. 33
52A CONTINUED: Kenner grabs Caroline pulls her down the hall. CAROLINE (laughing) You're insane, Keener! Kaufman watches. 52A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

KAUFMAN Please don't hit on crew members, Donald. DONALD No, Caroline's a really nice girl. KAUFMAN Just don't embarrass me. Okay? to work with these people. I have

DONALD I won't. Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don't worry! For my script! Ha ha! KAUFMAN I really don't write that kind of stuff. DONALD Oh, man, please. You're the genius. Kaufman stares at Donald, rubs his eyes, sighs. KAUFMAN Here you go. The killer's a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks of his victims' bodies until they die. He calls him "The Deconstructionist." DONALD That's kinda good. I like that.

KAUFMAN See, I was kidding, Donald. DONALD Oh, okay. Sorry. You got me! Ha-ha. Do you mind if I use it, though?


pg. 34


INT. BOY'S BEDROOM (1972) - NIGHT There are now many turtles in aquariums. Many turtle books and posters. The boy, in a turtle T-shirt, looks out the window into the darkness. His eyes are troubled. MOTHER (O.S.) (praying softly) For certain is death for the born/And certain is birth for the dead



INT. LIVING ROOM (1972) - CONTINUOUS The boy comes downstairs. His father, in a backbrace, watches TV; his sister lies on the couch, semi-conscious, more pale than before. His mother pats the girl's head with a damp cloth. There's a little Hindu altar with candles. MOTHER Therefore over the inevitable/Thou shouldst not grieve. (beat) Sweet, sweet Diane. The boy surveys the sad scene. His mother looks up, smiles.

54 *

MOTHER (CONT'D) A slice of pie for my turtle expert? The boy beams with pride, then gets solemn. BOY Mom, there's something I feel I have to do. I don't know how to do this, but I feel in my stomach that I have to. MOTHER What do you have to do, honey? BOY Collect one of every turtle in the world. (beat) It's a long list, ma. Cuora galbinifrons, Graptemys versa, Callagur borneoensis, all the Galapagos species, people think there's only one, but that's not true. Cycloderma frenatum, Cuora pani... (sighs) I don't think my life is worth living if I can't do this. The boy and his mother look at each other. (CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUSTOMER #1 It's a to ask me stuff. CUSTOMER #1 John.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT.O. LAROCHE (V. browse. John. to admire my plants. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. She was beautiful. to admire me.O. then types. LAROCHE (V. my wife. Say. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter.) I got married. From Peru. 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. too. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. NURSERY . Laura was such a class act. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. Through an open door. One guy pulls Laroche aside. stare into space.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. 47 76 INT.) People started coming out of the woodwork. We opened a nursery. ORLEAN'S STUDY .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

thanks. Nice to see you. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. A shaky. MCKEE Oh. 191 EXT. 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. okay. (CONTINUED) . you'll bore your audience to tears. leaning against the building. 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. NYC STREET . don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. Mr. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. Kaufman The last of the students are filing out. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. carrying his brown leather bag. tired Kaufman approaches him. then you. right. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. my friend. McKee emerges. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg. 120
218 CONTINUED: (2) KAUFMAN it. I admire you, Donald, I spend my whole life paralyzed what people think of me and you just oblivious. 218

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

DONALD I'm not oblivious. KAUFMAN No, you don't understand. I say that as a compliment. I really do. (beat) There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh. DONALD Oh, God. I was so in love with her. KAUFMAN I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was really sweet to you. DONALD I remember that. KAUFMAN Then when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. It was like they were laughing at me. You didn't know at all. You seemed so happy. I knew. DONALD I heard them. * * *

KAUFMAN How come you looked so happy? DONALD I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. can love whoever I want. KAUFMAN She thought you were pathetic. DONALD That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago. (CONTINUED)




pg. 121
218 CONTINUED: (3) Kaufman and Donald sit there for a long while in silence. Kaufman starts to cry softly. What's up? Thank you. For what? DONALD (cont'd) KAUFMAN DONALD 218

Slogging sounds. Orlean and Laroche are getting close again. Flashlight beams miss Kaufman and Donald by inches. ORLEAN (O.C.) We looked here already. No. LAROCHE (O.C.)


ORLEAN (O.C.) I recognize this tree. LAROCHE (O.C.) Suzy, I know every tree in here. ORLEAN (O.C.) I'm thinking this is a bad idea, John. On Orlean and Laroche. LAROCHE What do you mean? ORLEAN It was the Pash. My head is clearing now and suddenly this whole idea seems completely fucked up. LAROCHE Well, y'know, I said that. I said this was crazy. I tried to reason with -I know. ORLEAN I'm sorry. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED)

LAROCHE Yeah, anyway, what do we do now? ORLEAN Maybe we talk to the guy. killing people. We can't go

pg. 122
218 CONTINUED: (4) LAROCHE If you recall, that's what I said before. ORLEAN I made a mistake. want from me? Jesus. What do you 218 * * * * * * * * * * Donald * * * * *

Laroche shakes his head, mutters, then: LAROCHE (calling) Charlie! We're not going to hurt you. We just want to talk! On Kaufman and Donald. shakes his head "no." They look at each other.

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

The flashlights shine elsewhere and the voices go far away. DISSOLVE TO: 219 EXT. SWAMP - EARLY MORNING 219

The light is gray, pre-dawn, murky. Donald and Kaufman are asleep. Donald awakens, looks around. The rental car is still there, but there's no van. Donald nudges Kaufman. He wakes, looks at Donald, who indicates the missing van. They gone? KAUFMAN

DONALD I don't know. Maybe. They quietly slog toward the road. There's no sign of Laroche or Orlean. Donald looks back and smiles at Kaufman. They're getting out of here. Kaufman feels a new, profound affection for his brother. He pats Donald on the back. It's an awkward tap, something never attempted before. Donald gives a cheerful thumbs-up without looking back. They arrive at the car. Donald is heading around to the passenger side and stops dead in his tracks. Kaufman looks over to see what's caught Donald's eye: there, sitting propped against a tree, sleeps Laroche, his rifle on the ground next to him. Kaufman and Donald are momentarily frozen. Then: ORLEAN (O.S.) (in the distance) John! (CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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