Adaptation, November 2000 | Nature


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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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