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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg.) The pioneer-adventures in Florida had to travel inward. I was mutated as baby. EMPTY BEDROOM . ORLEAN I think you say some pretty smart things. I don't mean to bother you.NIGHT Orlean lies on her bed in her underwear. Orlean is silent for a moment. ORLEAN (V. that's why I'm so smart.that's funny. okay -91 INT. He picks up The Orchid Thief. overabundant place might have hidden in it. Just thought I could get some more info.O. okay we open with Laroche driving into the swamp. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) No problem. Okay we open at the beginning of time. LAROCHE What are you up to? 93A INT. Laroche talks on the phone and half watches TV.) (cont'd) Mutation is fun. papers coffee cups.NIGHT 91 * * * * * * * * 92 93 * * * * 93A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 90 * * * * Kaufman awakes with a start. He peers through the darkness at the books. 52 90 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V.. They had to confront what a dark. How about you? dense. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) Going over some paperwork. (CONTINUED) . LAROCHE'S LIVING ROOM . into a place as dark and dense as steel wool.NIGHT Lit only by the light of the TV Laroche's father watches. opens it.. I'm just hanging out.. reads... he says. Okay. 92 93 OMITTED INT. we show flowers. Enthusiastic off-screen typing. ORLEAN Oh. okay. David's out of town. ORLEAN Ah. We show Laroche..O. John. we have the court case. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VAN . drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. ORLEAN More John. but seems to be enjoying herself now. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in .DAY 128 * * * EXT. um.DAY 127 * * Laroche. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. the nursery lot. 127 INT. we'd really like to option this. more orchids. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. Florida Seminole reservation. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. (CONTINUED) . Orlean holds on. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. These things mostly never get made. Orlean is charmed. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. wearing a Cleveland Indians LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. So I'll be doing that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

look. naked women adorn the walls. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) That sounds good. yeah. ORLEAN (PHONE VOICE) So. And I was hoping. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) * * * * 161A Posters of * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ORLEAN Um. She is shaky and drunk and still dolled-up from her interview with Vinson.O." 157-160 OMITTED 161 INT. Charlie Kaufman. how's it going? 161A INT. And it doesn't matter if they're fat or ugly or what. LAROCHE Great! I'm training myself on the Internet. "I am old. I hate feeling like I'm being a pain to you.CONTINUOUS The room is now filled with computer equipment.) Movie opens. I am fat. John! . HOTEL ROOM . I'll take you in. Really? ORLEAN Thank you so much! Tomorrow.NIGHT Orlean is on the phone. fat. Yeah? LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) 157-160 161 * * 156 * * * ORLEAN It's Susan again. I'm doing pornography. bald. LAROCHE It's great is what it is. maybe you'd -LAROCHE paces. His voice-over carpets the scene. but I still haven't seen a ghost. 76 156 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (V. Oh. It's amazing how much these suckers will pay for photographs of chicks. LITTLE BOY'S BEDROOM . It's fascinating. old. I know. The Three is printed on the cover in some dramatic bold typeface. EMPTY BEDROOM . DONALD (cont'd) Thanks. But. Kaufman stares at his typewriter. Caroline has this great tattoo of a snake swallowing it's tail and -Kaufman puts his head in his hands. KAUFMAN Ourobouros. anyway. I changed it a little. Because at the end when he forces the woman. Kaufman grabs Donald's script and throws it on his bed. (CONTINUED) * * * . ridiculous. I wanted to thank you for your idea. KAUFMAN The snake is called Ourobouros. jerks off to the book jacket photo of Susan Orlean. It's. DONALD I don't think so. repugnant. 162 * KAUFMAN (ON RECORDER) Kaufman. doesn't say anything. Also. DONALD (cont'd) So would you show it to your agent? (proudly) It's called The Three. DONALD I don't know what that means. The cassette player plays. Donald appears in the doorway with a script. What?! KAUFMAN (cont'd) What do you want? I'm done. who's really him. he's also eating himself to death. 77 162 INT. DONALD I finished my script. to eat herself. It was very helpful.NIGHT Kaufman types. it's cool for my killer to have this modus operandi. Now the killer cuts off body pieces and makes the victims eat them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald. tries to read Story.NIGHT 194 * * 193 Kaufman paces. I'm calling to say congratulations on your script. Julius and Philip Epstein. As is a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer ripped from a magazine. 194 INT. 92 193 CONTINUED: (2) MCKEE Twin screenwriters.O. like Darwin before him.) Climax. MCKEE'S OFFICE . how's the trip? Gettin' it on with that lady journalist? You dog you! KAUFMAN Yeah.CONTINUOUS 196A * * * Donald sits on the floor with Caroline and Catherine Keener. KAUFMAN You mentioned that in class. 195 INT. McKee's Ten Commandments is taped to the wall. He rubs his temples. KAUFMAN * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Hey. MCKEE One of the finest screenplays ever written. A revolution in values from positive to negative or negative to positive without irony -.a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. 196 INT. Caroline giggles in the background. sits at his desk and writes.NIGHT Kaufman is lost in McKee's text. HOTEL ROOM . HOTEL ROOM . Listen. dials the phone. 196A INT. EMPTY LIVING ROOM .who wrote Casablanca were They drink wine and are in the middle of a board game.NIGHT McKee. MCKEE (V. He 196 195 DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Great writers residence. (CONTINUED) . please. 196B INT. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) I wasn't any help. KAUFMAN Yeah. KEENER (O. please. maybe you'd be interested in hanging out with me in New York for a few days. DONALD C'mon. We're playing Boggle.. You should hang out with her. Keener says she really wants to play Cassie! KEENER (jokingly. like. DONALD I want to thank you for all your help. Kaufman is silent for a KAUFMAN Catherine Keener is in my house? DONALD (PHONE VOICE) Yeah. please. high-sixes against a mill-five. and Donald laugh. HOTEL ROOM .) (IN BACKGROUND) I couldn't put it down because I had glue on my hands! Keener. She's great. I've been thinking. It's been a wild ride.C. look. you let me stay in your place and your integrity inspired me to even try. Caroline. Donald. KAUFMAN (PHONE VOICE) That's great.. (CONTINUED) . And she picked up the script and couldn't put it down. taking this all in. 93 196A CONTINUED: DONALD Isn't that cool? Marty says he can make me. tipsy) Oh.CONTINUOUS What? KAUFMAN 196B 196A * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * DONALD (PHONE VOICE) She stopped by after work with Caroline. Donald. long moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please. picks up the baggie. you should. hon. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. He needs to hear how you feel. 211G INT. trying to remember her room number. paces. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT 211H Orlean.O. HOTEL BAR . Her name is written on it. let me be. Friday. Maybe I could get laid. 211I INT. Something. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. You too. This must be her room. All right then. HOTEL HALLWAY . RENTAL CAR . a little tipsy. puts it down. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. I didn't know. rolls it up. Okay. pours some onto the glass-topped desk. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? Orlean hangs up. HOTEL ROOM . He's barely listening.NIGHT Kaufman drives.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her bed. 211F INT. ORLEAN (V. The place is empty. picks it up. Yeah. 110 211E INT. if you're not going to let me go. stares at it. talks on the phone. hovers over the green powder.) I went down to the bar. He's pasty white with fear.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. There's a small package outside one door. reviews some notes. 211H INT. sniffs inside.NIGHT So drained. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. ORLEAN I was so sad that night. you should.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

really. but -I don't know. I understand. (deep breath. * She look compassionately into his face. Then it got to be too long and then I couldn't. MARGARET'S OFFICE.DAY Kaufman knocks on the open door. Char-lay! MARGARET * 225 224 She jumps up from her desk and runs to him. He meets her gaze. MARGARET (cont'd) I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. 225 INT. I'm almost done! Great! ready. I'm just stupid. KAUFMAN Thank you. KAUFMAN hugs him. She closes the door and brings him to the couch. I came by for a reason. quickly) (MORE) * (CONTINUED) . Margaret looks up. Thanks. sweetie? KAUFMAN Hey. They sit. MARGARET You able to work at all. KAUFMAN Knock knock. MARGARET I was going to call when I heard. * * * * * * KAUFMAN Listen. Margaret. MARGARET Please let me read it when you're That's all I ask in this life. KAUFMAN That sounds good. 127 224 CONTINUED: MOTHER Then you could entertain.

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

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

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