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.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg. I'd like you to take me. She dials the phone. She kisses his ear.CONTINUOUS Donald types cheerily on a lap-top computer at an ergonomic desk. sits there. Donald.EVENING David puts his 100 * 99 * Orlean looks at a book called The Native Orchids of Florida. man. She sees a photo of a ghost orchid glowing white on the page. Kaufman watches Margaret and David head off. 102 INT. And you are amazing. NEW YORKER OFFICE . Hey. I'm banned. dangerous. hand on Margaret's ass. if it climbed off a tree and shoved itself up their ass. LAROCHE (PHONE VOICE) I'd love to. Yeah. You're the best. EMPTY BEDROOM ." Orlean closes the book. Hey. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . Kaufman descends the stairs with the suitcase. as dense as steel wool. I'll have something honest to give the world. 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.MORNING 101 * * * A hollow-eyed Kaufman puts mosquito netting in his suitcase. put that in the article! 101 INT. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 102 * * * * * * . 100 INT. 57 99 CONTINUED: (2) MARGARET (pecks Kaufman on cheek) You'll figure it out. I don't know if it'll kill me. they wouldn't be able to locate a ghost. Goddamn crucified me. hey. 'Course. but if it doesn't. Get one of them monkey-suited rangers. but. KAUFMAN The swamp is dark. A line of text catches her eye: "Should one be lucky enough to see a flower all else will seem eclipsed. Hey! KAUFMAN How was Denver? * * STEWARDESS Oh. 105 INT. Like when characters sing pop songs in their pajamas and dance around. 104B INT. I'm so glad to be home. STUDIO APARTMENT . I thought it might be a nice way to break the tension.O. I'm putting a song in. God.NIGHT Kaufman is getting more nervous. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER A surveyor scribbles in a notebook. So. SWAMP ." Donald looks up from his work.) An early surveyor made this entry in his field notes: A pond surrounded by cypress swamp.) You would have to want something very badly to go looking for it in the Fakahatchee Strand. counted fifty and stopped. sweetie. 104A EXT. He closes the book and watches a stewardess tending to another passenger. AIRPLANE . 58 102 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN (cont'd) That's the difference between writing and aping some guy's "principles. Full of monstrous alligators.NIGHT Kaufman reads The Orchid Thief. ORLEAN (V. AIRPLANE . DONALD Charles. The pond is alive with ORLEAN (V. impracticable.DAY 104A * * * * * * * * * * * * 104B * * * 105 103 104 * * * * 102 * SUBTITLE: FAKAHATCHEE. alligators.NIGHT Kaufman fixes a salad in the kitchenette. (kisses him) (MORE) (CONTINUED) . try to think of a song about multiple personality. The door opens and the stewardess enters dragging her luggage on a little cart. where you going? 103 104 OMITTED INT.O.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laroche begins to write his phone number. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. LAROCHE Okay. don't let him leave. Laroche looks at Susan. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. John. ORLEAN Shit. it was nice to meet you. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. Orlean rises. of course not. Orlean tries to focus. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN (CONTINUED) . Well. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment. 'kay? Kaufman does. Did you follow me? I should go. Let me give you my number. Kaufman rises.I don't know that. Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table. dude. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. ORLEAN I'm freaking. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

Okay? ORLEAN Writing's a lie. Kaufman watches. Let me be a baby again. Orlean collapses into a heap. suddenly feeling so much for this person. this concept turned flesh before his eyes. drops her gun. dude. Like if it expresses how it is to be lonely. ORLEAN (screaming) You fat piece of shit! He's dead. Laroche is dead. pathetic drug addict! ORLEAN (suddenly weeping) Oh my God. Orlean screams. It helped me. I want to be new. The sun is rising. Everything is a lie. Kaufman watches. Everything's over. Your book didn't ruin my life at all. KAUFMAN Your writing. desperate.An alligator: it awakens. Orlean looks at his body. old. The alligator pulls Laroche to the ground and tears him apart. shooting crazily until it's dead. sobbing. I want to be new. startled and angry. then looks to Kaufman. I did everything wrong. you hack! You ruined my life! You loser! You're a goddamn fat. 125 221 CONTINUED: LAROCHE I'm sorry I have to do this. I'm not a killer. and reflexively grabs Laroche's leg. stunned. She glows. Orlean turns her gun on the creature. maybe. that helps other people feel not so lonely. KAUFMAN hack! You hear me? What do you want?! What do you want from -KAUFMAN Shut up! Shut up! My brother's dead. I want my life back. you psychotic bitch! Your book ruined my life! You're just a lonely. I want it back before it got all fucked up. But put yourself in our -Laroche steps on something . His rifle fires at nothing. 221 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) . I think it can touch people.

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

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

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

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

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