ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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

1

*

2

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

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaufman.EVENING Kaufman eats with Margaret. man. Randy. 11 14 CONTINUED: MOTHER (cont'd) And spiritually significant.pg. He's a naturalist. SWAMP . I'm just so pleased you liked it. Did you know Native Americans believe the whole world rests on the back of a turtle? Cool! 15 BOY I can't wait to tell the guys! 15 14 * * * * EXT. I can't thank you enough for telling me about it. Russell. and Vinson saw through tree branches supporting lovely flowering orchids. Sure. (CONTINUED) * * * . clicks glasses. All I do is tell him how great you are. KAUFMAN God. thrilled. 16 INT. ROMANTIC RESTAURANT . I think David.MORNING As Laroche supervises. I'm going to an orchid show in Santa Barbara on Sunday? For research? Maybe you'll come? MARGARET Absolutely. 16 MARGARET To a fucking awesome assignment. They unceremoniously stuff the flowers into bulging pillowcases. MARGARET He wants to meet you anyway. Margaret raises a glass. too. (He takes a breath) Hey. would enjoy it. The book is just amazing. this guy I'm seeing. He probably hates you already. Okay if he comes? KAUFMAN (covering heartbreak) Yeah. KAUFMAN Great! Great! We could have breakfast first or whatever? MARGARET That sounds nice. of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

right. Kaufman waits. A shaky. 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. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. MCKEE Oh. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. NYC STREET . then you. okay. carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. my friend. leaning against the building. 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. Nice to see you. tired Kaufman approaches him. Mr.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. 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.pg. thanks. 191 EXT. you'll bore your audience to tears. McKee emerges.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

I

*

*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful