ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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