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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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