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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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