Adaptation, November 2000 | Nature

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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