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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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.




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.



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 *


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

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


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we'd really like to option this. VAN . 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in .DAY 128 * * * EXT. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. what's next? ORLEAN Oh. a real affection for Laroche in her manner. ORLEAN I've got to write it first. ORLEAN More John. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. So I'll be doing that. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. but seems to be enjoying herself now. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. Orlean holds on. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. ORLEAN (laughing) You want to make it into a movie? VALERIE Laroche is such a fun character. wearing a Cleveland Indians * 126 VALERIE Y'know. These things mostly never get made. SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. more orchids. (CONTINUED) . So -LAROCHE I think I should play me.DAY 127 * * Laroche. um. the nursery lot. Orlean is charmed. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. Florida Seminole reservation. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. 127 INT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my 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. right. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. leaning against the building. then you. tired Kaufman approaches him. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. NYC STREET . KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. okay. MCKEE Oh. Kaufman waits. Mr. thanks. McKee emerges. A shaky. you'll bore your audience to tears.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. Nice to see you. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. carrying his brown leather bag. (CONTINUED) . 191 EXT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think toes should be with their fellows. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach LAROCHE They will be. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. too? Yes. 114 211M CONTINUED: (3) ORLEAN Really?! Me too! (beat) I love my toes! I never let them do anything fun! I wish they could do activities. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. I do. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. Okay. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. . Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. (pause) Do you sleep in yours? Socks? LAROCHE No. ORLEAN Huh. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. Do you like socks.

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

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

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

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

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

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)




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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