ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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.

1

*

2

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?

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

I

*

*

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful