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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

okay. leaning against the building. NYC STREET . tired Kaufman approaches him. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. 191 EXT. then you. (CONTINUED) . carrying his brown leather bag. my friend. right. Nice to see you. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. A shaky. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. MCKEE Oh. 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 waits. McKee emerges. thanks.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. you'll bore your audience to tears. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. Mr. if you write a screenplay without conflict or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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