ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg. 28
42 CONTINUED: LAROCHE (cont'd) I'm right, and I'll take this all the way to the Supreme Court. That judge can screw herself. Orlean scribbles on her pad. Laroche twists his head to see that she's writing "Judge can screw herself." LAROCHE (cont'd) That for real would go in? ORLEAN Absolutely. Laroche smiles his toothless smile at Orlean. LAROCHE I'll have to speak to my advisors. 43 EXT. FIELD - MORNING MUSIC: lush, profound orchestral piece. A glorious orange, large-petalled orchid blooms in dramatic time-lapse. We slowly, lovingly circle the flower. SENSUOUS FEMALE NARRATOR The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient family of perennial plants with one fertile stamen and a three petalled flower. In most orchid species, one petal is enlarged into a lip and is the most conspicuous part of the flower. 44 INT. CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN - DAY Kaufman, in a booth, reads The Orchid Thief, takes notes. KAUFMAN (V.O.) The Orchidaceae is a large, ancient... He's bored, looks up, watches a waitress with glorious, orange hair, pouty lips, soulful eyes, and a voluptuous form, turning slowly around, scanning her station. She sees Kaufman, approaches, and smiles warmly down at him. Her badge reads: Alice, Arcadia, CA. Kaufman sweats. ALICE So what looks good today? KAUFMAN Um, hi. The key lime pie, please. A small slice. I'm watching my... And a coffee, please. Skim milk. Please. (CONTINUED) * 44 * 43 * * * * * 42

pg. 29
44 CONTINUED: ALICE (sees book) Orchids! I absolutely love orchids. Kaufman goes blank. Cool! KAUFMAN A small awkward pause. * 44

He flinches at his lameness.

ALICE So, I'll be right back with your pie. She smiles warmly again and leaves. 45 EXT. ORCHID SHOW - DAY Alice, in her CPK uniform, and Kaufman walk hand-in-hand, inspecting sexy orchids together. She smiles warmly at him. ALICE I think these flowers are so sexy. Alice stands very close to Kaufman. Her bare arm touches his. Kaufman looks at the touching arms. Alice continues to study the flower but intertwines her fingers in Kaufman's. ALICE (cont'd) Let's see what's around back. She leads Kaufman behind the display to a quiet, wooded area. She unbuttons her uniform. It falls to the ground, leaving her naked, dappled in sunlight, her beautiful red hair glowing. Kaufman drops to his knees in front of her and kisses her thighs, caresses her ass. Alice glides Kaufman's head to her crotch. 46 INT. EMPTY ROOM - NIGHT Kaufman finishes jerking off. 47 INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT SUBTITLE: CANTON, OHIO, FORTY-THREE YEARS EARLIER He lies lonely in the dark. 47 * 46 * * Kaufman is humiliated. 45

* * * *

It's dark. A lonely, little girl in a nightgown lies on her bed, holds a flashlight in one hand and writes in her diary with the other.

*

(CONTINUED)

pg. 30
47 CONTINUED: LITTLE GIRL (V.O.) Today I played with Mary. We had fun. We played Mommy and Daddy. I got to be the Mommy. It was very fun. Footsteps in the hall. The little girl flicks off the flashlight, closes her eyes. The door opens. A middle-aged woman walks in, bumps tipsily into the dresser, sits on the edge of the bed, looks at her daughter and cries quietly. 48 EXT. HOTEL PARKING LOT - MORNING Orlean leans against a car and smokes. A tiny, lost figure. There's a honk. Orlean snaps out of her reverie to see Laroche screeching to a stop in his banged-up van. ORLEAN (V.O.) A few days after the hearing, Laroche took me to an orchid show in Miami. She opens the passenger door. Hi. ORLEAN (cont'd) Thanks for picking -48 47

* * * * *

LAROCHE I want you to know this van is a piece of shit. When I hit the jackpot, I'll buy myself an awesome car. What are you driving? An Aurora. Awesome. ORLEAN It's my father's. He lives --

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

Orlean nods, climbs in, and tries to rearrange some of the junk on the front seat so she'll have a place to sit. LAROCHE (cont'd) Sit on top of that. You won't hurt it. She situates herself on the edge of the seat, rests her feet on an open bag of potting soil. Laroche lurches off. 49 INT. VAN - DAY Laroche drives manically. Orlean watches the road and holds one hand against the dashboard. 49 *

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

INT. BOY'S BEDROOM (1972) - NIGHT There are now many turtles in aquariums. Many turtle books and posters. The boy, in a turtle T-shirt, looks out the window into the darkness. His eyes are troubled. MOTHER (O.S.) (praying softly) For certain is death for the born/And certain is birth for the dead

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. A shaky. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 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. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. right. then you. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. Nice to see you. thanks. MCKEE Oh. leaning against the building. tired Kaufman approaches him. okay. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. you'll bore your audience to tears.pg. 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. NYC STREET . carrying his brown leather bag. my friend. Kaufman waits. (CONTINUED) . 191 EXT. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. McKee emerges.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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