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.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 *


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nice to see you. okay. (CONTINUED) . tired Kaufman approaches him. then you. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. McKee emerges. my friend. don't know much about life! And why the fuck are you taking up my precious two hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay. leaning against the building. Mr. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of MCKEE Oh. 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 (trying to recall) I need more. you'll bore your audience to tears. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. A shaky. carrying his brown leather bag. right. thanks. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. NYC STREET .NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 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. Kaufman waits. 191 EXT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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