ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MCKEE Oh. right. you'll bore your audience to tears. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. 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. NYC STREET . then you. A shaky. 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. 191 EXT. carrying his brown leather bag. Secondly: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide and war and corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. (CONTINUED) . thanks. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. my friend. McKee emerges. Kaufman waits. tired Kaufman approaches him. Nice to see you. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. okay.pg. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. leaning against the building.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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