ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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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.

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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.

(CONTINUED)

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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