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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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