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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant. I'm just so pleased you liked it. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. (CONTINUED) * * * . KAUFMAN God.MORNING As Laroche supervises. I think David. Margaret raises a glass. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. man. He probably hates you already. He's a naturalist. (He takes a breath) Hey. All I do is tell him how great you are. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT .EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. 16 INT. too. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. clicks glasses. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. this guy I'm seeing. The book is just amazing. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. Sure. of course. thrilled. Randy. would enjoy it. Kaufman. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. SWAMP .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. my wife. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. LAROCHE (V. too. to ask me stuff. LAROCHE (V. to admire my plants.O. ORLEAN'S STUDY . browse. Laura was such a class act. to admire me. We opened a nursery. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? .O. She was beautiful. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. 47 76 INT. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. One guy pulls Laroche aside. CUSTOMER #1 John. sits sadly for a moment.) I got married. Through an open door. Say. stare into space. then types. NURSERY .pg.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche.) People started coming out of the woodwork.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. From Peru.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

probably in the world. stands. RENTAL CAR . pasty Kaufman drives down a road surrounded by He heads up the aisle. (MORE) (CONTINUED) . which is completely dry. The stewardess is there talking to another stewardess. Mike Owen leads Kaufman through a cool swamp. adjusts himself. slathered with sun screen and covered head to foot in unnecessary protective clothing.) 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. AIRPLANE . Five to six thousand years old. AIRPLANE BATHROOM . ORLEAN (V.O. Kaufman slides his hand into her open shirt and caresses her breast. then goes back to her conversation..CONTINUOUS 107 106 105 * * Kaufman steps out of the bathroom. Okay. pulls up his pants. I've waited all day to feel you inside me. She regards Kaufman blankly. The two men walk easily on peaty ground.NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. and exits the bathroom. takes his seat. 116 117 OMITTED EXT. tries to be interested in Owen's lecture. 59 105 CONTINUED: STEWARDESS (cont'd) Did you get any writing done? God. He tenses. KAUFMAN * MIKE OWEN Now the Fakahatchee is the largest of all the cyrpess strands.MORNING 108-114 115 * * A pale. 106 INT.. He takes notes. Five or six. unbuttons her blouse. The stewardess slips out of her blazer.MORNING 116 117 * * * * * The sky is overcast. Kaufman. MIKE OWEN So the whole ecosystem is six thousand years old. 108-114 OMITTED 115 INT. 107 INT. SWAMP . One of the stewardesses laughs. She sighs contentedly. About that. nineteen to twenty. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. three to five miles wide. four and a half.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. MIKE OWEN Well. Maybe the ghost orchid only blooms in the minds of people who've walked too long in the swamp. We've been going through a bit of a drought. So..) What I didn't say to him is that life seemed to be filled with things that were just like the ghost orchid -.O. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. holds a phone to her ear. 120 INT. KAUFMAN Um. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. black water. And I had this thought. or nineteen. five. it's twenty miles long. 60 117 CONTINUED: MIKE OWEN (cont'd) I don't know of any cypress strand bigger. Good for us today. She sighs. ORLEAN (V. there's usually water. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. and right here it's about five miles wide. HOTEL ROOM . ORLEAN (V. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp. continues typing. There were snakes and alligators. across the room reading a book. She glances at her husband. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done. again. It's about twenty miles long.O. 120 ..NIGHT Orlean types. I called Laroche. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . It was sweltering.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. ORLEAN (CONT'D) (into phone) I didn't see anything but bare roots. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. McKee emerges. NYC STREET .NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. A shaky. (CONTINUED) . don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. okay. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. then you. carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE Oh. Kaufman 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. thanks. 191 EXT. leaning against the building. you'll bore your audience to tears. tired Kaufman approaches him. right. Nice to see you. 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. Mr. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. 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.DAY Laroche and Orlean slog through the water with purpose. far down the diagonal of the levee.) (cont'd) So we turned to the left. and there. KAUFMAN Mr. McKee hesitates for a moment. I don't meet people well. Orlean and Laroche walk toward the car. Soon there is silence. It's about my choices as a human being. (CONTINUED) Kaufman reads 193 192 * * * * 191 .. BAR . we could see the gleam of a fender. my friend. looking only straight ahead.O. MCKEE I'm sorry. all the way to the road. from his copy of The Orchid Thief. my even standing here is very scary. Kaufman closes the book.. KAUFMAN . ORLEAN (V. ORLEAN (V. There's a pause.. 192 EXT.O. 90 191 CONTINUED: KAUFMAN I need to talk.NIGHT Kaufman and McKee sit at a table with beers. Please. But what you said this morning shook me to the bone.O. then reaches out and puts his arm around MCKEE I could use a drink. As they walk the sounds and colors become subdued. What you said was bigger than my screenwriting choices. I can't talk to writers about material I haven't read. 193 INT.) (cont'd) We followed it like a beacon. SWAMP . ORLEAN (V.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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