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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. Mr. tired Kaufman approaches him. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. A shaky. okay. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. my friend. Nice to see you.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. MCKEE Oh. leaning against the building. carrying his brown leather bag. you'll bore your audience to tears. McKee emerges. then you. 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.pg. right. (CONTINUED) . Kaufman waits. 191 EXT. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. thanks. NYC STREET . if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you like socks. too? Yes. ORLEAN Huh. 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. LAROCHE They will be. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. Okay. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously.pg. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. . I do. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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