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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. (CONTINUED) . thanks. Kaufman waits. you'll bore your audience to tears. okay. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee emerges. Nice to see you. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. 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. carrying his brown leather bag. 191 EXT. then you. MCKEE Oh. my friend. tired Kaufman approaches him. NYC STREET . don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. leaning against the building.pg. A shaky. right.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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