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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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