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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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