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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC STREET . 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. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. 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 it. 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.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. then you. A shaky. my friend. 191 EXT. McKee emerges. okay. (CONTINUED) . you'll bore your audience to tears. Kaufman waits. Nice to see you. Mr. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. tired Kaufman approaches him. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. leaning against the building. MCKEE Oh. carrying his brown leather bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at I do. 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. LAROCHE They will be. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. I think toes should be with their fellows. ORLEAN Huh. too? Yes. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. . Okay. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. Do you like socks.

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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