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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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