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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McKee emerges. my friend. 191 EXT. tired Kaufman approaches him. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. (CONTINUED) .pg. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. right. leaning against the building. Nice to see you. A shaky. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. carrying his brown leather bag. 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. NYC STREET . then you. you'll bore your audience to tears. Kaufman waits. thanks. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. okay. Mr. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. MCKEE Oh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful