ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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.

1

*

2

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?

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

*

*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful