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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

okay. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. leaning against the building. Mr. thanks. 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 . carrying his brown leather my friend. 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. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. you'll bore your audience to tears. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. 191 EXT. Nice to see you. A shaky. tired Kaufman approaches him. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. right. (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. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. then you. Kaufman waits. McKee emerges. MCKEE Oh.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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