ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

1

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.

1

*

2

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?

2

*

* * * * * * * *

* * * *

* 3

3

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

(CONTINUED)

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

(CONTINUED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He flinches at his lameness.

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

* * * *

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

*

(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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you'll bore your audience to tears. thanks. Mr. MCKEE Oh. leaning against the building. okay. tired Kaufman approaches him. for Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life. right. then you. McKee emerges. if you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis. 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. 191 EXT. 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. KAUFMAN I was the one who thought things didn't happen in life. my friend. Kaufman waits. MCKEE (trying to recall) I need more. McKee? Yes? KAUFMAN MCKEE 191 190 KAUFMAN I'm the guy you yelled at this morning. carrying his brown leather bag. (CONTINUED) .pg. A shaky. NYC STREET . Nice to see you.NIGHT The last of the students are filing out. 89 190 CONTINUED: MCKEE The real world? The real fucking world? First of all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think toes should be with their fellows. ORLEAN Huh. Isn't it amazing to think that socks were invented at all. Okay. too? Yes. Then I will buy a pair of beautiful ocean blue socks! A souvenir of the day for my toes. Who invented socks? LAROCHE I have a book. LAROCHE 211M * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * (CONTINUED) ORLEAN You're so nice. (starts to cry) I want my toes to be happy. LAROCHE They will be. My guess is they were probably introduced in several cultures simultaneously. I do.pg. 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. ORLEAN They're my friends and I ignore them! That's not right! I will walk on the beach tomorrow. Do you like socks. ORLEAN Did you ever see those ones with separate toes? I feel they are very wrong. let alone several times simultaneously! LAROCHE I'll find out exactly who and when. LAROCHE ORLEAN I like socks. .

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

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

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

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

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

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)

I

*

*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful