ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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