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

Revised - November 21, 2000


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




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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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



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

* * * * *

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


LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.


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


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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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


pg. 34


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



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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

okay. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all. A shaky. leaning against the building. 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. thanks. 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. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. Nice to see you. my friend. Kaufman waits. then you. MCKEE Oh. Mr. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. carrying his brown leather bag. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. tired Kaufman approaches him. 191 EXT. you'll bore your audience to tears. 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 emerges. NYC STREET .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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




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

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


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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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