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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


pg. 2
3 CONTINUED: BRITISH NARRATOR As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. Suddenly, a beat-up white van barrels around a curve. followed closely by an old green Ford. SUBTITLE: STATE ROAD 29, FLORIDA, FIVE YEARS EARLIER 4 INT. WHITE VAN - CONTINUOUS John Laroche, a skinny man with no front teeth, drives. The van is piled with bags of potting soil, gardening junk. A Writings of Charles Darwin audio cassette case is on the seat next to Laroche. BRITISH NARRATOR It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing... Laroche tries to contemplate the plants and birds whizzing by. Almost too late, he spots the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve sign and makes a squealing right onto the dirt road turn-off. The cassette case flies from the seat and halfburies itself in an open bag of peat. 5 INT. GREEN FORD - CONTINUOUS Nirvana blasts. Russell, Vinson, and Randy, three young Indian men, pass a joint and watch the erratic van ahead. RUSSELL Laroche is asleep at the wheel. RANDY Crazy White Man is now Drowsy White Man. They share a stoned laugh. 6 EXT. NEW YORK OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT SUBTITLE: NEW YORKER MAGAZINE, TWO YEARS LATER Late night street. The click-click of typing. We move slowly up the building to the only glowing window. 6 5 4 * It's 3


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stares at the ceiling. She unbuttons her blouse and shows him a breast with a heart tattoo. KAUFMAN It's a little obvious. you wanna hear my pitch. right -Kaufman groans. A sweet heartbeat turns to knocking. there's this serial killer. looks up at the closed door. then in pitch mode:) Okay. DONALD (lost) Y'know. What?! The door opens. See.NIGHT Kaufman. he's being hunted by a cop. 25 40 INT. in bed masturbating. KAUFMAN Donald stands there for a moment in shadows. right? Sending clues who his next victim is. She becomes. KAUFMAN God damn it. or what? Go away.DAY 40 As she rings up his books. wet. He's already holding her hostage in his creepy basement. So the cop gets obsessed with figuring out her identity. Even though he's never even met her. BARNES AND NOBLE . waits. I'm just trying to do something. Kaufman admires the cashier's flower tattoo. lies down. Kaufman squints at his brother. EMPTY BEDROOM . don't you think? * * (CONTINUED) . sits up. like the Holy Grail. and in the process he falls in love with her. She catches him and smiles with red. DONALD (CONT'D) Hey. Cool. thanks a lot. 41 DONALD Look. DONALD (CONT'D) pierced lips. like. And he's taunting the cop. the unattainable. wait. (flicks on light. 41 INT. man.

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A million women walking down the street. admiring a view. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. The entire sequence takes two minutes. We see old age and birth.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . We see murder and procreation. religion.O. love them madly. smiling at customers. eating meat. a shared look. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. war. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. Those love them. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. He does it fast and unintentionally. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. He quickly shifts back to her face. We see Alice serving food. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. I don't need to know them at all. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. * 63 * * * . I don't need to know what their jobs is. commerce. an arm slipped through an arm. 63 INT. We see the history of architecture. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. The way I like them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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