ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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