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?



* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful