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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah.pg. Margaret raises a glass. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . Kaufman. All I do is tell him how great you are. this guy I'm seeing. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. thrilled. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. 16 INT. He's a naturalist. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. Randy. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it.MORNING As Laroche supervises. of course. clicks glasses. man. I'm just so pleased you liked it. (CONTINUED) * * * . would enjoy it. The book is just amazing. Russell.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. SWAMP . He probably hates you already. KAUFMAN God. (He takes a breath) Hey. too. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. Sure. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. I think David.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

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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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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