ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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