ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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