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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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