ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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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.

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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.

(CONTINUED)

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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