ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. We see it again and again at dizzying speed.O. We see old age and birth. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . eating meat. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. We see murder and procreation. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see the history of architecture. He does it fast and unintentionally. A million women walking down the street. an arm slipped through an arm. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society. The entire sequence takes two minutes. We see Alice serving food. 63 INT. The way I like them. smiling at customers.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. religion. commerce. * 63 * * * . We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. Those love them.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. war. I don't need to know them at all. He quickly shifts back to her face. love them madly. a shared look.pg. admiring a view. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. I don't need to know what their jobs is. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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