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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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