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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

puts it down. Orlean hangs up. She pulls a dollar bill from her purse. KAUFMAN I can't even really hear you. Please. RENTAL CAR .NIGHT So drained. 211G INT. HOTEL ROOM . ORLEAN (V. picks up the baggie. stares at it.NIGHT Kaufman drives. emerges from the elevator and heads with some uncertainty down the generic hall. ORLEAN (bored) That sounds good. All right then. let me be. 211I INT.O. pours some onto the glass-topped desk.NIGHT 211H Orlean. you should. you should. There's a small package outside one door. reviews some notes. 110 211E INT. sniffs inside. HOTEL HALLWAY . talks on the phone.) I went down to the bar. He's barely listening. You too. Maybe I could get laid. if you're not going to let me go. 211H INT. Orlean stares out the window as they follow Laroche down a strip-malled highway. hovers over the green powder. HOTEL ROOM . Yeah. HOTEL BAR . trying to remember her room number. Friday. Orlean tears her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces.NIGHT Orlean sits blankly on her A female bartender chats and giggles on the phone. hon. Okay. ORLEAN I was so sad that night. rolls it up. (CONTINUED) . and stares at a little plastic baggie with green powder in it. paces. So you think you'll speak to him about it tomorrow? No. I didn't know. 211F INT. He's pasty white with fear.NIGHT 211I Orlean sits on her bed. 211E * * * * * * * * * 211F * * * * * 211G * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Orlean sits at the bar sipping a glass of champagne. This must be her room. a little tipsy. Something. The place is empty. Her name is written on it. picks it up. He needs to hear how you feel. How exquisite! She cries. She giggles. It's so beautiful. She snorts a small amount. I figured. who really cares about anything anymore. I figured. She bends in to the mirror for a better look. She alters the rhythm of her brushing. discovers it does not open. 111 211I CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. holding the phone to her ear. She sighs. Orlean leans her forehead against the window and stares with awe out the window at the star-filled sky. sucks it. Ms. She snorts the rest. the colors. but not like any other crying she's done: now it's at the beauty of the universe. Suddenly she hangs up and dials "0. HOTEL ROOM . what the hell. She tries to open the window for a better look." Hello? ORLEAN Is this the operator? 211M OPERATOR Maybe I help you. Suddenly she becomes fixated on the white suds in her mouth. tries to feel something. doesn't. on the scrubbing sound. She makes many forehead prints on the glass. HOTEL BATHROOM . Orlean? ORLEAN How do you know my name? . HOTEL ROOM . stands. stands again. Her frustration quickly turns to fascination with the glass. 211L INT.) (CONT'D) I figured. She watches her grinning face with love. A smile lights her face and toothpaste dribbles down her chin. listening to the dial tone. tries to determine if it's going to kill her. She feels nothing. She tries to sing along with it.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies sprawled on her back on the bed.A FEW MOMENTS LATER 211J 211I * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 211L * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) Orlean brushes her teeth. on the wonderful sensation of bristles against gum. dully watches herself in the mirror. 211J INT. She notices the oily imprint her forehead left on it. sniffs it. 211K INT. 211M INT.A LITTLE LATER 211K The lights are off. HOTEL ROOM . She's never seen anything more beautiful. rolls it around in her fingers. She makes various shapes with her mouth to change the tone.A LITTLE LATER Orlean lies on the floor studying the carpet weave: the texture. what the fuck. She tugs at a strand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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