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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to admire me. to ask me stuff. LAROCHE (V. From Peru. did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter. Through an open door. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. too.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. CUSTOMER #1 John. 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. She was beautiful. 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. LAROCHE (V. sits sadly for a moment. to admire my plants. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. Laura was such a class act. my wife. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. Say. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. ORLEAN'S STUDY .) People started coming out of the woodwork.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. NURSERY . stare into space. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John. browse. One guy pulls Laroche aside.) I got married. We opened a nursery. then types.O.O.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DONALD How was Florida. She finishes her drink. looks up. he seems bored and impatient. here. do you want to get laid or Gosh.NIGHT Kaufman enters with his bags and heads to the stairs. I just -. I think we can -. He barely looks at her. Donald. I apologize. Native American. I just wanted to get some... to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to -VINSON We should go to your room.. my script's going amazing! Right now I'm working out an Image System. She's shaking. 68 137C CONTINUED: Orlean trails off. Vinson is different than the last time she met him. um.Did I -communicate something? No. Y'know. Orlean just sits there. ORLEAN Oh. we can talk here. no. 138 139 OMITTED INT. I can reveal all sorts of Native American aspects up there.. No. VINSON (stares at her for a moment) Listen. um. You were awfully fucking flirty on the phone. if -Ah. ORLEAN Oh. Orlean is at a loss. No... so I thought it would be helpful. Um. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 138 139 . fuck. look. ORLEAN (cont'd) . EMPTY HOUSE .. 137C * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * He heads out the door without looking back. for me. VINSON I drove an hour to get here.this seems fine.. man? KAUFMAN (climbing the stairs) Okay. typing furiously at his desk. DONALD Hey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John. Well. 'kay? Kaufman does. then kind of stands in Kaufman's way. Let me give you my number. Orlean rises. don't let him leave. ORLEAN I'm freaking. 102 207 CONTINUED: LAROCHE The guy adapting our book? Wild! (to Kaufman) Hey. Orlean tries to focus. Kaufman rises. ORLEAN Did he follow me? KAUFMAN Orlean sees Kaufman glance at the drugs on the coffee table.I don't know that. Laroche begins to write his phone number. LAROCHE Okay. Laroche looks at Susan. it was nice to meet you. of course not. ORLEAN Shit. * * * * * * * * ORLEAN You going to put this in your screenplay? KAUFMAN I really don't know what this is. Did you follow me? I should go. LAROCHE He did see the greenhouse. (CONTINUED) . dude. who's gonna play me? KAUFMAN I'm not -. I should -* * * * 207 * * LAROCHE I thought I should play me. What does he know? Why is he here? * * KAUFMAN I don't know anything about anything. LAROCHE Have a seat for a moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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