ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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