ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. okay. then you. my friend. thanks. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. leaning against the building.pg. you'll bore your audience to tears.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. right. MCKEE Oh. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. tired Kaufman approaches him. Kaufman waits. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. carrying his brown leather bag. Nice to see you. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. (CONTINUED) . NYC STREET . A shaky. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. 191 EXT. McKee emerges. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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