ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

He quickly shifts back to her face. eating meat.pg. war. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. commerce. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. admiring a view. The way I like them. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. love them madly. A million women walking down the street. He does it fast and unintentionally. * 63 * * * . We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. an arm slipped through an arm. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. We see it again and again at dizzying speed. We see old age and birth. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. We see Alice serving food. a shared look. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. We see murder and procreation. 63 INT. smiling at customers. I don't need to know them at all.O. The entire sequence takes two minutes. We see the history of architecture. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. I don't need to know what their jobs is.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. Those love them. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. religion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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