ADAPTATION

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

Revised - November 21, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

an arm slipped through an arm. war. We finish on sad Kaufman getting into his car and leaving the Santa Barbara Orchid Show. * 63 * * * . We see it again and again at dizzying speed. eating meat.O.) (cont'd) Nothing in science can account for the way some people feel about orchids. Kaufman glances down at his therapist's breasts. I don't need to know what their jobs is. KAUFMAN I could tell a woman I'm a screenwriter and I could get laid. (a terrible sadness) No one will ever love me like that. We see Laroche as a child alone with his turtles. I don't need to know them at all. KAUFMAN But I want them to like me. He does it fast and unintentionally. 63 INT. smiling at customers. 61 62 OMITTED MONTAGE 61 62 * * 60 This sequence shows the entire history of mankind from a world sparsely populated with primitive hunter-gatherers to today's overcrowded technological society.DAY Kaufman talks to the therapist. We see Orlean as a child alone with her diary. The way I like them. The way I'd do anything for some woman walking down the street. commerce. We see man interacting with his environment: farming. We see old age and birth. 41 60 CONTINUED: ORLEAN (V. We see the history of architecture. a shared look. His therapist wraps her shawl around her. admiring a view. He quickly shifts back to her face. The entire sequence takes two minutes. One by one the women turn to the men they're with: a whisper in the ear. A million women walking down the street. Kaufman is alone in this sea of people and flowers. religion.pg. Those love them. We see Alice serving food. THERAPIST'S OFFICE . We see murder and procreation. THERAPIST I'm sure that's true. love them madly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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*

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

ORLEAN We're really sorry!

It's just that...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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