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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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