ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and hops in the passenger side. Lieutenant. And so we envy each other. Hate each other. 226 * * * * I've never played Margaret smiles. both sweetly anxious on this new adventure." . Like cells in a body.pg. That's what I've come to realize. Hurt each other. 'Cept we can't see the body. that sounds good. The way fish can't see the ocean. runs around the front of the car. They drive off. hooky before. FADE TO BLACK. 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 . 227 WHITE TEXT ON BLACK SCREEN: "We're all one thing. both staring ahead.