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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good for us today. It's about twenty miles long. though! 118 119 OMITTED INT. why isn't it wet? Susan Orlean said when she came she was up to her thighs in horrible. there's usually water. nineteen to twenty. continues typing. three to five miles wide.wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach. She said it was the scariest thing she's ever done.O. ORLEAN (V. 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 -. or nineteen. It's pouring and sheets of rain beat against her window. MIKE OWEN Well. ORLEAN (V. I called Laroche. And I had this thought. She sighs. She glances at her husband. across the room reading a book.) That night after Mike Owen took me into the swamp. ORLEAN'S APARTMENT . It was sweltering. and right here it's about five miles wide.NIGHT 118 119 * * * * 117 * * * * Orlean. HOTEL ROOM . KAUFMAN Um. There were snakes and alligators. holds a phone to her ear. Her caked-with-mud clothes are on the floor. in her underwear and still dirty from the swamp.. 120 . four and a half. 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. She has cute little dirty smudges on her face.NIGHT Orlean types.O. it's twenty miles long.. black water. 120 INT. nineteen. We've been going through a bit of a drought. five. again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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