ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(CONTINUED)

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

* * * * *

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

*

LAROCHE I think I'll get one of those.

*

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

We're shooting a Let's go!

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

Let go!

Donald approaches Kaufman. DONALD

Hey, man.

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

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

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

*

pg. 34

53

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

53

54

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

54 *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to admire me. John. She was beautiful. 76 * * * * * 77-86 87 * * * 77-86 OMITTED 87 INT. LAROCHE Are you simulating it's dry season? Because excessive watering will -CUSTOMER #2 But Dave Maxwell said -LAROCHE Why would anyone listen to Maxwell? CUSTOMER #3 Hey.) I got married. 47 76 INT. stare into space. to admire my plants.O. would you come over and look at my Eulophia? It's not doing well and I don't want to move it. what can you tell me about this Dactylorhiza? . did you see the number he brought to the Miami show? Could be his daughter.DAY Laroche and his wife stand amidst lonely-looking plant enthusiasts who ask him questions. CUSTOMER #1 It's a shame. ORLEAN'S STUDY . We opened a nursery. CUSTOMER #1 John. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) CUSTOMER #2 John.pg. Laura was such a class act. then types. we see Orlean's husband at the kitchen table finishing his dinner. LAROCHE (V.O. Say. browse.EVENING Orlean looks at the photo of Laroche. From Peru. to ask me stuff. my wife. LAROCHE (V. One guy pulls Laroche aside. too. NURSERY . sits sadly for a moment.) People started coming out of the woodwork. what is this? It's amazing! LAROCHE Catasetum tenebrosum. Through an open door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEMINOLE NURSERY Laroche and Orlean get out of the van. um. the nursery lot. (CONTINUED) . but seems to be enjoying herself now. LAROCHE No shit I'm a fun character. VALERIE And there'll be more of Laroche? Yeah. So I'll be doing that. we'd really like to option this. Orlean holds on. Random House wants me to expand it into a book. These things mostly never get made. ORLEAN More John. Then someone's gotta do the screenplay. So -LAROCHE I think I should play me. Orlean is charmed. 128 Laroche swerves into a parking space in . ORLEAN I've got to write it first.DAY 127 * * Laroche. a real affection for Laroche in her manner.pg. * 126 VALERIE Y'know. (beat) Who's gonna play me? Orlean laughs. drives crazily thorugh the Hollywood. VAN . what's next? ORLEAN Oh. 62 126 CONTINUED: VALERIE So we were wondering. 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. Florida Seminole reservation. more orchids.DAY 128 * * * EXT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pg." 149 EXT.A. Bergman's Persona.NIGHT 144-147 148 * * * * * * * * * * 143 Kaufman has a bunch of 1960's reference books on the floor in front of him. KAUFMAN (nice) Well. KAUFMAN (V.NIGHT Kaufman types with new resolve. peasant blouse. DONALD Thanks. Like technology versus horses. why am I here? She thinks. Kaufman seems quite pleased with his research. But he opens the book to the wrong page and sees an About the Author paragraph. She thinks. EMPTY BEDROOM . He picks up The Orchid Thief to reward himself with a glance at the Orlean photograph. The notebook page already includes: Tampax Box. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina. STREET . At him? 150 INT. Caroline kisses Donald on the cheek. L. how did this happen? 149 A couple of passing 150 * * * * . Thanks. women snicker. 72 143 CONTINUED: DONALD (cont'd) It's like a battle between motors and horses. distraught. He is looking at one entitled Pop Music of the Sixties.NIGHT Kaufman wanders the street. 144-147 OMITTED 148 INT. it sounds exciting. who is this man? She thinks. CAROLINE Told you he'd like it. that's the big pay-off. KAUFMAN And they're all still one person.) Susan watches her husband across the dinner table. He reads the lyrics to Just Like a Woman andseems pleased. He copies down the names of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. man.O. right? DONALD Hey. The last line jumps off the page: "She now lives in New York City with her husband. NOW button. 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. KAUFMAN Maybe what marriage could be? Her eyes tear up.DAY Kaufman and Orlean move furniture into the room. exactly as Caroline kissed Donald. her mother's disappointment at life. get to merge our thoughts. I love that. EMPTY LIVING ROOM . ORLEAN Not like a marriage. EMPTY BEDROOM .DAY Kaufman paces with his mini-recorder. I'm finding you. Her drunken mother enters. KAUFMAN I'm so thrilled I get to adapt your book. 151 * * * * 152 INT. It's intimate. It now looks warm and inviting. They kiss and fall onto the new couch. The phone rings. Yallo? KAUFMAN (cont'd) (CONTINUED) . KAUFMAN We see the little girl writing in her journal. He smiles at Orlean's photo. Orlean wears a bandana kerchief. 153 * * * * * * * KAUFMAN (cont'd) This is good. like a marriage. KITCHEN . 73 151 INT. She kisses him on the cheek. 152 153 INT. Kaufman is immensely pleased.pg. Off-screen laughing and chattering from Donald and Caroline. We see the loneliness of her childhood. and how it forever scars the little girl.MORNING Kaufman masturbates alone in bed. sits on young Susan's bed and cries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wasted y'know? worrying - you're

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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