ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I. 180 He 181 * * 181 INT. The audience laughs. I have sold out. First..O. 85 180 EXT. a mic clipped to his lapel. 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.MORNING The lobby of an auditorium. they come to rest on a pile of McKee's book Story next to her. He watches the handsome guy ahead of him flirt with a female registrar. I am fat. I am fat.pg..A BIT LATER Kaufman sits in the packed room. Yes? REGISTRAR * * Kaufman averts his eyes from her cool gaze. last. The guy moves on and the registrar looks without interest at Kaufman. McKee continues to talk but his voice goes under. glowing in the sun. except for Kaufman who looks pained.MORNING Kaufman sees a glass building ahead.) I am pathetic. 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. KAUFMAN (V. walks toward it. * * MCKEE So.. I am panicked. NYC STREET . LOBBY . 182 INT.O. (CONTINUED) * .. KAUFMAN (V. I am a loser. AUDITORIUM . Kaufman watches with disdain as people take notes. and always the imperative is too tell a story.) I have failed. Kaufman waits in line. I am worthless. MCKEE Literary talent is not enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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