ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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.

1

*

2

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?

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

*

*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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