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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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