ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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.

1

*

2

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?

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. ejaculates. 89B 89A * * * 89 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REPORTER . 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. LAROCHE I told you I'd be crucified. The judge is a moron. at his car.O. three Seminole men and a Miami orchid grower for trying to steal rare orchids -Seminole lawyer Lerner is on the steps talking to reporters. MARTY Charlie. talks to reporters.DAY A crowd of people. Laroche hides around the corner of the building. After a few moments..DAY Kaufman. Buster..pg. COURTHOUSE . (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN (V. EMPTY BEDROOM . He lies there. 89A INT. 89B EXT.) The Orchidaceae is a large -The empty bedroom seems to get bigger and sadder. at the end of the day. He reads the page. smoking and ranting at Orlean. alone in bed. Reporters talk to video cameras. She didn't know shit about Indian rights and she didn't know shit about shit." KAUFMAN I need you to get me out of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

*

*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful